3 AM, bad cramps. Why? Why is this happening on this beautiful trip? My cramps were like clock work the ENTIRE trip. 3 AM until 9 AM they would hit full force. Then from mid morning until later afternoon, they would wreak havoc. The pain would shoot through my pelvis, hips, legs and it felt like my uterus was being stabbed. But you know what, it didn't stop me. I ate, I explored, I laughed and I smiled.
When morning rolled around, I was nervous to get up and feel the wrath of day 1's wine, cheese and pasta. Since being gluten and dairy free, I wasn't sure how I was going to survive being in Italy. But to my surprise, I didn't feel sick. Some people say Italy's food is fresher than in the states and their dairy is from goats + bulls, not cows. How true that is, I don't know. But for someone with major stomach issues, I can honestly say, I woke up feeling ok. (Minus those damn cramps).
The only thing that killed were my feet. Blisters upon blisters from day 1; getting lost and trying to keep up with my husbands 6'3 legs. Let me tell you right now, keeping up was a struggle the ENTIRE trip. His one step takes me about 10!
It was a little rainy again, but was going to clear up by late morning. So we decided to grab breakfast in our hotel. I mean it was included, why not? Ugh, I will tell you why not. It was icky. I had read Italians don't pride themselves in breakfast. They are more all about lunch/dinner! And I can definitely vouge for that. Of course hubby enjoyed it, I think he would enjoy just about anything that is edible! After breakfast, we headed out for day 2 adventures. This time I felt ready to get lost in the streets.
Our morning was filled with beautiful canals, side streets and churches. Then we came across a fresh fish market. I don't think I ever saw half of a shark for sale in a seafood place before! There was even an octopus and other silly looking fish. It smelt horrible but was still cool to see.
We decided to venture to The Rialto Bridge. This is one of the oldest bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Italy. It was old for sure and so beautiful. The amount of people shoving and squeezing in to take pictures of the beautiful view of the canal was insane. I don't do too well in crowds but I was in such awe of the canal, it didn't even phase me. However, I did keep a Kung Fu grip on my purse the entire time.
We stood there for a bit watching the gondola's and boats pass under the bridge and decided we wanted to keep moving. That was one thing about us, we couldn't sit still for long. We craved whatever was next. And boy, we were not prepared for what was next.
Piazza San Marco, also known as St. Mark's Square, was something my husband kept saying we needed to see. So as we followed the signs towards it, I wasn't all that sure what to expect. When I think of squares, I think of some shops and maybe a fountain of some sort. So I couldn't grasp why this was such an important square to visit. Until we came around the corner, and there it was.
Have you ever got the wind knocked out of you? That was the feeling I got when we stepped out onto this square. The Cathedral, the Bell Tower, the views, the amounts of people, the shops; words cannot even describe the beauty. And pictures could never do it justice. This is one (of many throughout this trip) thing you have to experience in person, yourself.
I don't know how we did it, but we managed to get there right at 12:00PM. And the sound of those bells dinging, made the experience that much more amazing. As I fumbled to get my phone out and video on, I only caught a few seconds before I realized I was the only one standing there and Policia was saying to me, "Madam, please out". I stumbled back and tried to figure out what was going on. Everyone seemed confused and when I looked back up, the same lady who told me to back up was now pointing to her ears, as if to say listen or something loud may be happening. I knew something was going on so turned my video back on. And as soon as I did, a bomb went off. Literally, the video I have starts off with the very ending of the bomb. I had just caught it. It was one of the loudest, most insane noises I have heard up close.
As soon as the bomb went off, you hear "holy shit" and "wtf was that" throughout the crowd. The pigeons also start going crazy and flying around. We stood there not too sure what had just happened, but knew it was planned whatever it was. We watched bomb squad scope out the area and make sure it was safe before we were all allowed back on the actual square. We couldn't believe the odds of showing up at just the right time the bells and the bomb were taking place. It was a neat experience and definitely such a way to welcome us to the square.
As we started to make our way into the square, I couldn't help but still stand there in awe looking at St. Mark's Basilica. For those of you who don't know what it is, it is a multi-domed church and one of Italy's most beautiful cathedrals. The line was already too long to try and get inside, so we decided we would get an early start the next day and visit it then. For now we were just trying to take in the outside of it. I don't think I could find the perfect word to describe it's beauty. You could do an entire 360 in the square and be looking at something breathtaking the entire time.
Where we were, we were also able to get a good view of the Bridge of Sighs. This is one of the most famous bridges in the world. Legend has it, the bridge was used to lead prisoners from the examining room to their cells or execution chambers. And those tiny windows, was their last chance to view Venice. They say, as the prisoners crossed, they would sigh. Giving it the name, Bridge of Sighs.
As we ventured on we scoped out all the little shops that did surround the square. And then decided to make a game time decision and get in line to go up the Campanile, the tall brick bell tower for the Basilica. I hadn't realized but in 1902, it crumbled to the ground and by 1912, was rebuilt to its original state. It had many uses in the middle ages and now is used to whisk tourists up to the top to see beautiful views of the city.
When we got to the top, my jaw dropped. That same 'wind knocked out of me' feeling hit again. The views of the entire city were spectacular. Poor hubby is afraid of heights, so he shivered majority of the time up there. Love him for being brave and going up with me though and trying to take selfies of us and the view. Even if they came out blurry from him shaking! We took in the view for a while longer and then decided it was wine thirty. We made our way back towards our hotel and stopped at a wine bar/café for a quick, yet delicious glass of wine. There was something magical about sitting outside at a small table, sipping on wine and watching people pass by. For a few minutes I pictured that being my everyday life. A girl can dream, can't she?
We finished our wine, spotted our sign that helped us always find our way back to the hotel (something I wish we thought of the first day while we were lost!), and went on our way. Of course, we made a few pit stops for pictures. Because let's be real, every single thing I saw, I needed a picture of. When we got back to the hotel we were already exhausted. We had said the first day was going to be the only time we would take a nap, but it didn't play out that way. Before I knew it hubby was snoozing and my eyes were getting heavy. I enjoyed these few hours of coming back and relaxing. We jammed so much just in those first few hours of the day, we needed this rest. I enjoyed using it to catch up with my parents, see how they were doing at our house with our fur babies. The only time I was able to use my phone was in the hotel when we had WIFI. Honestly, it was lovely. But I made sure to get everything done that I wanted to while hubby napped. Ok, and I may have napped too.
We felt well rested again and got ourselves ready to venture out for dinner. Honestly, now that I think about it, I don't even remember when or where we had lunch this day. I remember we did have it because I had a delicious sandwich. I told myself before we arrived in Italy I would remember every resteraunt so I could leave reviews for others traveling. But 99% of the time I was so hungry I would forget to take pictures of the food and names of each place!
Anyways, what was I talking about? Oh ya, dinner! We still had a free glass of wine at our hotel bar, that was a welcome gift from when we got there. So we went and grabbed our drink before we headed out. We drank it pretty fast and were on our way. I loved stepping out into the Venice streets at night. It was typically quiet near our hotel in the evenings. I wouldn't say there was too much of a night life in that specific area. We ventured down by the canal and decided to try a place there called, Ristorante Roma. There was a beautiful view of the canal. I loved looking at it as it sparkled in the dark. The reviews weren't the greatest for the resteraunt, and I am not all that sure why. The service was lovely and the food, goodness the food was delicious. Hubby had lasagna. And I had spaghetti and clams. Something I usually do not order out because it never tastes as good as my dads. And dad, if you are reading this, don't worry, it still wasn't as good as yours BUT it was the best I have had in a resteraunt ever! Definitely a close second to yours!
There were two ladies sitting next to us who we started conversing with. Before I knew it, I think hubby had ordered another 2 bottles of wine. I truly enjoyed meeting people and chatting with them. Learning where they were from and all about their trip! We finished our chat, paid our bill, (hubby found it so weird that tips were not needed) and went and got some ice-cream. Originally I had wanted gelato but maybe it was the wine making us misread what the sign said! Haha. Either way, it was still yummy! We made a few more pit stops by the canal- because I don't think I can stress enough how much I loved it, haha! And finally made our way back to our hotel.
As I crawled into bed, I couldn't help but smile. The last two days exploring Venice had been the most amazing experience, and we still had another day.