Linking up with Travel Tuesday.
I spent considerable time debating whether or not I wanted to share the story of our proposal on this blog. The trend these days towards elaborate, pay-a-professional-photographer-to-capture-the-moment engagements is just not me and E, and not how it happened. Not that there’s anything wrong with those proposals! But, we didn’t have anyone following us waiting for the moment, it didn’t happen in front of a crowd, and in fact, we didn’t really take any pictures until the next day.
Still, it was such a great day–full of so many wonderful, Venetian-and-Italian moments, in addition to the proposal, that I couldn’t resist sharing a little bit of it with you.
It was our third day in Venice, and I was well smitten with the city at this point. I defy you to not be in awe the minute you see Venice from a distance, and if not then, the minute you step out of the train station and hop into a water bus. The day before, we’d traveled to the charming little islands of Murano and Burano, and I was ready for another full day in Venice.
We started the day off with the fantastic breakfast offered at our hotel, the Hotel Bel Sito. While we didn’t have the most comfortable bed (and our room was small, albeit charming) the breakfast at this hotel inspires me to recommend it to you. Endless coffee, served in a silver pot! Panna cotta! Fresh yogurt! At least three varieties of eggs! So much bread! I think my favorite thing about Italy was the food–I can only name one “bad” meal and even that one was just not that terrible.
After our glorious breakfast, we headed out to explore. I purposefully did not do extensive research on Venice, mostly because I didn’t have time. I still found many things for us to do and see, because I’m anal like that, but I knew we also needed the time to relax. While it may seem like I bounce around Europe traveling, my teaching schedule is actually quite grueling! And Venice is the perfect place to explore yet relax.
So, we wandered. We started with a long, leisurely boat trip in a water bus (a great way for a self-guided tour!). We stopped in for a slice of our favorite pizza, had some gelato, wandered by endless charming alleys, visited the famous Bridge of Sighs…then went home and took a nap. It was our vacation, after all.
After our nap, per Margo’s recommendation, we wandered over to the Rialto Bridge for sunset and the photographer’s dream, blue hour. The actual Rialto Bridge was a little more crowded than I would have liked, but we found some steps right on the Grand Canal which were a perfect viewing platform.
After the sunset, we went to Da Mamo (which Margo also recommends–that woman is a star!) and had an incredible, incredible meal. We snuck in just at opening, around 7PM, because we hadn’t made reservations. We grabbed a table and about three minutes later, the place was packed and there was a line–being grandparents who need to eat by 7PM pays off sometimes ;).
The meal was honestly one of the best of my life, and we had so much fun sampling everything we could think of. We ended with the most glorious tiramisu I have ever had (those ITALIANS! THEY KNOW FOOD!).
After this, we wandered around the empty, moon-soaked streets for awhile before ending up at a pier right by our hotel, marveling in the jewel-bright lights along the Grand Canal. There, E popped the question! It was so fun and romantic, under the moon and the stars, right by the Grand Canal, that I kind of went blank and can hardly remember the actual moment. Go figure. I will say I wasn’t completely surprised–we’ve been together for quite some time and have discussed marriage at length, plus Mr. E was acting all nervous (so cute)–but somehow, I still was completely shocked.
Afterwards, giddy, we decided we needed to celebrate. We were in Italy, in Venice, and we were engaged! Obvious.
So celebrate we did, with a glass of prosecco at the first bar we could find–one that weirdly looked like the inside of a yacht.
And that’s how we got engaged in Venice!
And now, we have a wedding date, too!
Linking up with Travel Tuesday.
On our way back towards Venice after visiting Burano, we made a stop on the island of Murano. Murano is known for its world famous glass-making facilities–most of the time, when you hear “Venetian glass” they really mean “Murano glass.” Walking around Venice and Burano so far that day had left us pretty tired, but since the water boat made a stop on Murano anyway, we decided to stop and get a quick peek.
As is often the way of these stories, I’m so happy I did, because I loved Murano. While I enjoyed exploring Burano, Murano felt much livelier to me, perhaps because evidence of their famous industry was everywhere. We popped into a glass-making factory and watched a few demonstrations and wandered the picturesque canals. They didn’t have the colors of Burano, but they were so pretty! Murano is proud of its heritage, and you can see glass-blown artwork everywhere: from a giant sculpture in the square, to the water glasses in the little restaurants, to the stained glass doors visible all over the town.
I’ll be honest with you–after all my talk of being happy with less and not wanting/needing more, sometimes I just love to shop. Shopping for souvenirs is probably the most fun kind of shopping in my mind, especially as I’m choosy with the types of souvenirs I usually buy. Since my budget is so strict, I usually only buy postcards, but I do occasionally splurge on a local and/or special item. This was my long-winded way of saying I just had to buy some Murano glass!
You have to be careful in Murano, as there is an issue with knock-off, not-original blown glass, so I focused only on the shops that had the coveted “certified Murano glass” paperwork.
You can buy Murano glass all over Venice, not to mention Italy and the world, but sometimes buying it straight from the source is the most special thing (and now I have several pairs of earrings–because they were on sale! yay for off-season prices!–that I can say I bought in Italy).
Even if you don’t buy Murano glass, I found Murano a charming addition to the Venetian lagoon. It’s even closer to Venice than Burano is–only about fifteen minutes, depending on the weather–and it is so fascinating to watch the glass-blowing demonstrations. Murano felt like a smaller, more manageable, more arty Venice…a must-see!
Linking up with Travel Tuesday.