What do you say at the end of a perfect day?
Late last night, I made an impromptu purchase of a round-trip train ticket from Milan to Venice. It's 2.5 hours each way, so I knew it would make for a long day trip. But I've never been before, and something told me that the one time I'd played blackjack at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas probably wasn't quite the same. (I still love you, Vegas. Never change.)
I was up early on this beautiful Saturday, cruising through Milano Centrale station like a pro, taking my window seat (tip for the future: sit on the left side of the train for better views) and watching the scenery go by, excited for the day ahead.
Upon arrival at Venezia Santa Lucia station, I rather showed myself up by being so amazed at the watery scene before me that I missed a step and fell down the stairs of the station. I wish I were kidding. I'd been in Venice all of two minutes. Since I'm also still limping from last week's hamstring tomfoolery, I'm beginning to think I shouldn't be allowed to, you know, stand on my own.
Anyway, after I dusted myself off and haughtily ignored the open-mouthed stare of the nearest selfie-stick vendor, I grabbed a €3 map, glanced confusedly at it to figure out which water bus would take me to the Piazza San Marco (fast tip: it's the #2!), bought an all-day ticket for easy access, and I was off!
The Piazza was one of those places where I felt like I should have been there before, just because it's so familiar. I was incredibly lucky: not only was it a gorgeous, sunny day, but it's also low-season for tourism right now, so while I didn't exactly have the Piazza to myself, it wasn't that bad. I was also able to stroll right in to St. Mark's Basilica, also known as the Church of Gold for its amazing ceiling mosaics (no pictures allowed inside, though).
Since I only had about nine hours to work with in Venice, I had to be selective. I'm fully aware that there are outstanding art museums and galleries and the Doge Palace, and sadly I didn't set foot inside a single one of them, preferring to enjoy the weather and the seemingly millions of walkways, alleys, and bridges (Venice apparently has 409 footbridges, and I feel like I crossed a few dozen myself).
In my spur-of-the-moment research on Venice last night, I had come across pictures of an island I'd never heard of before: Burano. It's known for its brightly-coloured houses, which are painted like vibrant rainbows, where residents actually have to get permission from the government to approve the colours they want their homes to have. I had to see it for myself.
So from Piazza San Marco, I water bus-ed and hobbled my way to Fondamente Nove (and never has there been a better city to use GPS in--it would be SO easy to get lost in Venice!), caught the 40-minute #12 ferry to Burano, and...words fail me. I absolutely flipped out at how surreally beautiful this place was. If Venice made my jaw drop, Burano took my breath away. I actually thought to myself, "from now on, all of my memories will be divided into 'pre-Burano' and 'post-Burano' moments." Just simply amazing. I'll never forget it.
I was lucky enough to catch the ferry back to Venice at sunset (the witching hour!), and still had a few hours to grab some cicchetti, which are Venetian-style tapas. Tiny sandwiches, potatoes with onions, baked zucchini, peppers breaded with cheese...mmmm.
Then for more wandering, catching strains of singing gondoliers here and there, and marveling at the amazing place I'm so glad I dragged myself out of bed at 6am on a Saturday for.
So I think the only thing I can say at the end of a perfect day is: Thank You.