Three Days in Venice…

I have moved most of my travel journals to Daveno Travels. This is an excerpt from my first international trip – to Carnival in Venice in 2009. You never forget your first time…

I have by some miracle of fate, survived my first international flight, and have arrived in Venice. A bus takes me across the bridge to the fabled city, and a trajetto takes me to where my brother Payne, in his historical garb, is waiting at the San Angelo stop, a short walk through aged alleys to the apartment they have rented on Calle Dei Avvocati (Street of Lawyers) for the next two weeks. He unlocks a massive, wooden door. I walk in to the grand foyer of what appears to be 15th century manor house.

After a couple of glasses of water and a brief sit down, I change into my Venetian coat, and we set out, walking through alleyways and onto San Marco Square, Carnival’s Grand Central. We turn the corner, and the scene in front of us fills with the domes of the Basilica. It takes my breath away. We stop every 10 steps when tourists stop Payne and pose for photos. We find a square with a bronze statue of the Lion of Venice, which results in one of my favorite photos from the trip.

Payne and Marie hit the stage for one of the many Carnival fashion shows.

We duck into the Caffe Florian, a baroque salon in operation since 1720, and the oldest coffee house in Venice. It was a favorite haunt of Goethe, Casanova (possibly because it was the only coffee house to admit women), and later, Lord Byron, Proust and Dickens. Tonight it is filled with revelers costumed as 17th-18th century lords and courtesans. We are shown to a small table in one of the ornate and crowded salons, and order hot chocolate, which arrives as rich as though it were a Hershey Bar melted into a delicate, porcelain cup. The windows looking out are filled with people looking in, and it is hard to tell which side of the glass is the more active fish bowl. A man in a white harlequin suit, accompanied by a man in black, dressed like Mozart’s father in Amadeus, start an obscene pantomime through the glass with a man sitting near us, and flirting with the man’s wife at the same time. I nearly choked on my hot chocolate…

Continued at Daveno Travels.

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