Saturday, October 18, 2008

What a happy birthday!!! :D

WOW!!! If I could sum up my birthday trip to Venice in one word, that would be it. WOW!!! I couldn't stop saying that over and over when we got to St. Marco's (St. Mark's) Square. I literally got tears in my eyes when I walked into that piazza! And if I teared up over that, I imagine I'll be in hysterics when I actually get to go to

We didn't actually get to spend literally all day in Venice, since we had to make a necessary run to base in the morning first, but we caught the 1pm train out. I got to actually ride on a train. Since I don't count the time I took A on the "A Day out with Thomas" train ride (it was a very short ride), nor do I count the little amusement park trains, this was my first train ride!!!

Me with my adorable traveling companion, Collin

Everything on the trip went amazingly well! After we got our train tickets and a were waiting for our train, another one going to Venice came in that was half an hour late, so we went on that one instead. It was awesome because we didn't have to worry about being stuck with standing room only space, like we probably would have on the train we were going for.

When we got into Venice a little more than an hour later, which included being on train tracks over a body of water that's larger than Lake Erie (which, until yesterday was the largest body of water I've ever seen), we stopped to use the bathroom at the train station so we didn't have to deal with the "squatter" toilets. (And wouldn't you know I forgot to take a picture of one...) Just outside the train station, there were pigeons everywhere! It made me think of Bert from Sesame Street and his "Walk Like a Pigeon" song I grew up listening to. LOL And those birds have no fear of humans! Well, okay, there's some fear, since they fly away if you charge at them screaming, but they are the boldest birds I have ever seen! It actually reminded me of the movie Just Married with Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy in the scene where he's going nuts over the pigeons while she ooo's and ahh's over the art and architecture. Brave, brave birds.

One of the brave pigeons

We walked around and saw all kinds of things on our way to St. Marco's (St. Mark's) Square. I took over 200 pictures yesterday!!! A lot of them, though, are of the same or similar taken of buildings from different angles. pictures of waterways and bridges, pictures of the different colored building faces...The waterways are basically their roads there. You can't drive on those roads, so there's a lot of walking involved! And the bridges aren't sloped. They've got stairs. So Kristin and I got a great work out! LOL

One of the water roadways

It was just so amazing to see all that I did! To be in those streets that have been there longer than America has been a blows my mind! And when I walked into St. Marco's Square.....WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was almost overwhelming! To see in real life what I've only before seen in pictures and movies....I can't even put it into words! It was all so beautiful! The Basilica, Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, the gondolas...all of it! It was just one of those moments where it really hit home that I am living in Europe!!! So many people look at places like Venice and just see an old, dirty city that has little to offer, but I just don't understand how they can think that way! There's such a trove of history and art and culture and!!!

Me taking one of many pictures

We didn't get to actually go into the museums or anything because I was just too wrapped up in seeing everything and taking pictures and drinking it in. So that just means we'll have to take another trip when we can see even more! ;) Kristin thinks (and I agree!) that she and I should go near Carnivale. Oh, that would be an experience!!! And we're planning to go see an opera in Venice sometime, probably next summer. I mentioned that to The Husband and he said we couldn't go to the opera without him...LOL

Sorry if my thoughts seem a bit random and choppy today. Yesterday's trip put me in the mindset of watching Casanova with Heath Ledger, and I keep seeing places pop up on the screen that I saw in person just yesterday!!!

I got some gelato yesterday, and I felt so proud of myself, or as I said to Kristin yesterday, I felt like "such a big girl" to order my own gelato in Italian! Kristin had had to tell me what to say, and I'm fairly certain the person in the gelaterie knew English enough that I could have ordered it in my native tongue, especially as she was smiling at me as means of encouraging my attempts at Italian, but it was just so cool to do it in Italian! :D I got two scoops so I could have my strawberry and try a new flavor. I went for vanilla. It was sooooooooooooo good!

Trash can outside one of the gelateries

I also spent my birthday money from my in-laws on something I have wanted for years....I bought a quill! :) It looks so awesome! And I was blown away by the shop owner that I bought it from! There were two other couples in the shop when I went in. The first of them was Italian, and they were, of course, chatting away in their own language. The next couple was French. I recognized a few words here and there. The shop owner went from Italian to fluent French without seemingly a second thought, and then turned around and spoke English to me!!! I was floored! I wonder how many languages he does know! He was an older gentlemen...not quite as old as my grandparents, but definitely older than my parents.

My quill!!!

The detail on my quill. Isn't it gorgeous?!

Then, of course, I only took a bunch of pictures in St. Marco's Piazza. How could I not?! I wish I had room to post all of the pictures I took, but I don't want to overwhelm everyone! LOL Facebook has a limit of 60 pictures per album, so I did a pick and choose of the best pictures. Here's the link to the album so that you can all see it at your leisure. :)

On the way back to the train station, a little while after my "big girl" moment, Kristin and I stopped in at McDonald's and ordered Happy Meals! LOL

McDonald's in Venice! :)

It was a long afternoon full of walking and window shopping. I also did some actual shopping, but I don't want to post all the pictures of what I bought yet, since some of the things I bought are gifts for others! :) We got back to the train station about 10 minutes before the next train we needed departed, and we got seats on that train, too!

As soon as I got home (after 11 pm!), I went to go have some of my birthday pumpkin pie that The Husband bought for me...unfortunately, it was not a pie that, like he thought it was when he bought it, a frozen pie that just needed to be thawed and eaten. It was a pie that was supposed to remain frozen until you bake it. I tried to make sure it was thawed for my eating it, so it had been sitting in the fridge. I was more than a bit surprised when I opened the box and gooey stuff went everywhere! LOL I did bake it, though, and while the crust is burnt and the filling isn't 100% cooked, it's still got that pumpkin taste that I love so much. ;) I may just have to buy another one. ;) LOL All in all, it was one of my best birthdays ever. :) A day without my boys to see Venice and have some adult time and end it with some pumpkin pie! On top of that, The Husband has had nearly a full week off from work and he's taking me out to dinner tomorrow night! :)

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