In Park City, UT, there is a gallery of fine art photography called "Windows to the World" that Paul and I love to visit. For years now, we always stared at one photo in particular of a cobblestone street, talking about how we would love to find the place because it seemed so magical and enchanted. After some research, we learned that the place was located in Bellagio, on Lake Como in Italy. So we made our plans and showed up with high hopes. Bellagio was quaint and lovely and quiet, nestled on a wooded peninsula of an ancient lake, but ultimately, the three days we spent there was a little too quiet for our tastes. But it was still beautiful, nonetheless.
There were extensive gardens stretching along the water's edge and extravagant villas with sycamore trees pruned to resemble candelabras. We rode water ferries between towns and hiked over to Villa Balbianello where Casino Royale and the second Star Wars movie were filmed. We climbed up to a medieval castle and clandestinely tried on the rusted armor on display when no one was looking. And we even cooked dinner for ourselves one night in the tiny kitchen in the apartment we had rented. Who knew that the Barrilla pasta I have been buying in the grocery store turns out to be the real deal?
Venezia is one of our favorite places. We love getting lost in the narrows streets and alleyways and discovering forgotten bridges and shops and cafes. Paul loves the dilapidation you see everywhere - the crumbling plaster and exposed bricks, the weathered wood and worn stones. And the lighting is ever-changing, which makes it a photographer's dream. I even got a little over-tired of taking photos and opted to spend the morning going through the Doge's Palace or St. Mark's Cathedral while Paul wandered around on his own looking for new angles and perfect lighting.
Paul took a ferry over to the island of Burano one morning and took these photos of the colorful houses he found there.
In the evenings, after the crowds from the cruise ships had gone, we would go back to St. Mark's Square to eat gelato and listen to the small orchestras play or watch the brides and grooms who would come to have their photos taken in the evening lighting of the square. Some people danced, but Paul nixed that idea.
We only had about 5 hours in Rome before we had to catch our plane to Greece, but we made the most of them by revisiting our favorite spots from our previous trip there. After grabbing a Nutella gelato at the Blue Ice shop (Paul's favorite), we sat and licked our fingers at the Trevi Fountain. We also went over to the Spanish Steps but were again thwarted by the heat and sun in any desire to climb them.
That night we slept in the Athens airport on the cold hard floor. It was miserable. But Greece was worth it. More to come...