Traveling with Stanley, pt 4

venice38

Vicariously in Venice (day 5)

Imagine walking around a city that was built on water — you almost feel magical. And that is exactly how Venice made us feel. 

I knew that I was supposed to meet a girl named Rebecca to obtain our apartment keys at certain points within the city, but I had no clue what she looked like and we couldn’t connect via phone. Within moments, I see a girl running towards me with her arms extended saying, “Ciao, Devin!”

Upon meeting Rebecca, an instant connection was made and I felt as though I had known her for years. After many twists and turns through the narrow Venetian streets, we finally arrived to our apartment.

We were greeted with cookies and candies. We exchanged stories, and Stanley drew Rebecca a lineage of our family history and explained that our family came from Atessa (which is nowhere near Venice.) Stanley then called my Noni and more stories were shared, including all of my Noni’s recipes.

Rebecca laughed and shared her family stories, and at one moment, Stanley started singing her karaoke. I thought to myself, “An actual Saint is standing in front of us.”

Rebecca then walked us to a local restaurant and her beautiful Italian words got a table near the window. I’m not sure if I was famished or tired of German food, but that was the BEST. LASAGNA. I. HAD. EVER. TASTED.

venice39

Waking Up in Venice (day 6)

The next day happened to be my 25th birthday and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. We decided that a visit to the Rialto Bridge would be appropriate, and along the way we stumbled upon a restaurant that overlooked the Grand Canal. Yes, this was absolutely touristy and a bit overpriced, but the pasta was actually delicious and the view was to die for.

If you ask me what my favorite part of the trip was, I would tell you that I enjoyed the challenge of getting from one city to the next. I loved meeting people from different cultures and getting to know them.

If you ask Stanley what his favorite part of the trip was, he will more than likely tell you that he enjoyed singing Dean Martin in a gondola.

As soon as we stumbled upon the gondolas in Venice, I knew our afternoon was over. With the gondolier dressed in the traditional striped t-shirt, this was a scene out of a movie. What made this experience even better was that Stanley taught the gondolier every Dean Martin song that he knew. Spectators could hear us coming, and most of them would stop to watch wondering what in the heck was going on. To paint the picture an even more elaborate color, Stanley would scream in his best Italian accent, “GIVE ME A THUMBS UP!” and would then snap a photo of each person we passed.

This went on for two hours.

A Day with Rebecca (day 7)

Our new friend, Rebecca, had blocked off her entire day to take us sightseeing and show us the more local side of Venice. She met us and brought her mother, Bonita, along.

venice22

Words cannot describe the day we had, but at the end of the day we had new, true friends. We walked over 10 miles and ate like locals, learned the dialect, and taught each other about our cultures.

I have tried to write a post about our time in Venice, but didn’t feel as though I could adequately describe the amount of love that we felt from this city, which is all due to Rebecca.

So Rebecca, thank YOU for extending your love of life and vibrant attitude to us for this day. You helped us fall in love with Venice and all it has to offer. We cannot wait to come visit you and your family again.

Pictures from this day (and the rest of the trip!):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Fleeing to Florence (day 8)

 After an incredible adventure in Venice, it was time to travel to our last city: Florence. We went to the train station and settled for a relaxing journey through Tuscany.

We were finally accustomed to the nomadic lifestyle and couldn’t wait to meet the people of Firenze!

venice14