Pitiful as it is, I hardly knew the defining characteristics of specific Italian cities before coming here. Venice in particular was an enigma. Mama brought masks and glass earrings home from her trip a few years ago, and they meant no more than cool wall art and beautiful jewelry. I finally Googled some pictures and was shocked to find grand palaces which seemed to be floating on water, a whole city connected by hidden alleys and bridges, divided by water. The likelihood of getting lost is much greater than finding your destination. You know you’re headed the right way, and then, boom, there’s the Grand Canal, your destination across the water, and another dead end. This past weekend, I finally got to see this a-mazing (pun intended) city for myself.
To be honest, I don’t have the energy to tell you everything about my travels this weekend, which also included a day trip to Verona. In fact, I haven’t even shared the stories of the best trip I’ve taken thus far – the Dolomites. I don’t know where my initiative is right now; I’m still going in and out of ruts of feeling like I have a lot to do, and yet simultaneously feeling lost, without purpose. It’s very bizarre, and I’d appreciate some prayer. My situation is mainly teaching me that as awesome as life may seem, or even is, the deepest part of us will never be satisfied – not by travel, or money, or the best of circumstances. We will always long for a Rescuer, and I need Him desperately. It’s been an interesting discovery.
But I want to tell you this: If you ever get the chance, Venice and its surrounding lagoons are worth it. The 80 euro gondola is not (college student that I am, I did not partake), but walking through that city an experience. There is a reason you have to battle thousands of other tourists. It’s a city worth seeing, but it’s a time bomb. Experts say it will be underwater in 70 years, and I believe it. In the fall, Venice battles serious flooding problems. At St. Mark’s, there weren’t as many tourists as the high season, but it was still hard to navigate because on must walk on raised platforms to avoid two foot puddles. Venice has its own mask, and at night, everything slows down. It removes it for a while, relinquishing part of its mysterious identity. You feel the presence of hundreds of past years in each stacked building or regal Ca’ – masquerades, high life, prostitutes, Jews. Peace, strife, and power struggles. Go, before it’s too late.