Venice was a whirlwind and one of the best weekends I have ever had, the only thing that would have made it better was if Pocky could have been there.
In October, I had the opportunity to meet up with friends from around the globe, meet people that I have heard about for years, as well as meet many new fabulous individuals. Why would a starving student head off on her own for a few days in Venice during a school week/weekend, you say? Because my friend Diana and her now husband Ian had a fabulous destination wedding.
Sharonda and I were on the same flight from Philly to Venice together and then took a private water taxi to our hotel, very Sinatra or Bond-esk. It is not the economical way to arrive in Venice, if you are on your own, but scrounge up a few people and it is more than worth it. First, it is exceptionally glamorous. Second, if you have never been to Venice you could end up in tears trying to find your way through the winding alleys over bridges to your hotel with your luggage. In fact, at one point Helene and I only found the final alley to our hotel because I spotted some trash that we had kicked on our way out of the maze, but I digress.
As Sharonda and I arrived in the early morning it felt like we were floating through a movie set, very surreal. We stayed at the glamorous, modern Palazzo Barbarigo on the Grand Canal –- absolutely amazing. As I arrived at the private dock I was greeted by hotel staff and quickly led to my room. I dropped my bags and went to the dining room to have a spectacular breakfast with Diana and Ian.
The time really did fly by and I did not have too much time to venture out to all of the tourist sights, that will have to be the next trip…I did however, figure out how to get around by foot and the Vaporetto bus system, which is highly efficient if you hop on going the correct direction.
Helene and I spent a lot of time shopping, eating, laughing and drinking together — it was fabulous, and we managed to meet up with other friends for outings and large group dinners as well. I now have several favorite Venetian stores. One sells wonderful olive oils and spices, another sell beautiful glass jewelry and amazing glass balloons. But my absolute favorite is glove maker Fanny; they make the most exquisite leather gloves in an array of colors with buttons, bows, even polka dots.
For the bachelorette party, Sara from Venice Veneto Gourmet met us and guided our group to a bar in the Rialto area on the San Marco side of Venice. She had two wonderful red wines and a fabulous prosecco; it was really more wine drinking than tasting.
Our hotel set up a tour of one of the oldest glass blowing factories on Murano Island, who sent a private water taxi for a small group of us. The journey alone to the island was fabulous. But first, I must admit that I have a thing for glass — Depression era, American, Polish, Czech crystal glass, reproductions from ancient periods in Europe, and I love, love, love Murano glass. The owner and head of the family met us for the Compagnia Venezia-Murano on the dock and he escorted us to general glassblowing area. Next, he took us to the other area where the designers make the more high-end pieces. We shopped, walked around the island, shopped some more, and took the company boat to our hotel. It was an amazing outing.
I am only going to briefly describe Diana & Ian’s wedding because it was a private event…The wedding ceremony took place at Palazzo Barbarigo and after the ceremony everyone boarded private boats for a sunset trip along the Grand Canal and out to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore for photos. The reception was held at The Caffè Centrale Venezia and the lovely bride had the restaurant make a separate four-course menu just for me, even though I told her a salad would be great. Who knew I had to go to Venice to have the best tofu and seitan dishes of my life…Let’s just say I was up late, and then three others and myself shared a boat to the airport in the morning to catch flights to America and Paris, France. It still seems a bit like a dream.