My first day in Venice I left my dwelling with nothing more than my camera and a promise to myself not to look at a map until I was ready to return home. This is my favorite thing to do - simply get lost in a place I did not know and fall in love with each step amongst the cobblestone. The winding canals and labyrinth of alleyways transported me to a realm I was convinced could not be real - Venice, was in fact, magic. Halfway through my journey I stumbled upon the Accademia Bridge offering up its breathtaking views of the Grand Canal for a proper introduction to this floating city.
There are few times in life where reality supersedes expectation, and my week in Venice was one of them. I ate fresh mozzarella (only 1.50 Euro each!), lasagna, bruschetta, pizza and pasta every day. I found a cafe to go to each morning where I could get a fabled Italian coffee and watch the owner chase an intrepid pigeon out the door whose food motivation was high enough to risk entrance. Friends gave me recommendations for places to eat and pastries to try - I don't even know what half of what I ate was called, but it tasted as I imagine biting into a cloud would. I got to hear a string quartet play Vivaldi in a church and wrote postcards to loved ones at a bar Hemingway used to frequent. It was a perfect escape from reality and a much needed week alone with my own wonder. My mind continues to wander back to those jade water trails and scrumptious dishes quite often, for I'm fairly certain part of my soul is now Italian.