by Melinda Gallo

Our second day in paradise

Today we woke up to grey skies. As enamored as I was with Venice, I completely overlooked the weather. We went outside and visited more of the city to take as much of it in as possible. I tried to imprint pictures in my mind so that I could take pieces of Venice with me forever.

We decided to take a gondola ride through the small canals. My friends asked me to bargain the gondola ride, but all I did was ask how much it was and where our friends could put their stroller. It cost us 80 Euros and lasted about 40 minutes. We were guided by Riccardo, a Venetian gondoliere who told us a little bit about the buildings that we rode past.

He explained that Venice is made up of 120 islands, each one with its own church, and they're all connected by the ponti (bridges). He also pointed out the buildings in which Goethe and Mozart lived for a time. At the beginning of the trip, he explained that if the water rises, it will rain. And he was right. About one minute from our arrival, it began to sprinkle.

It was a perfect time to go eat lunch, while the rain passes by. But even after lunch, the rain persisted a little bit. Our friends left to go back to Florence while Dave and I relaxed for a few hours in the apartment.

The rain seemed to pass, so we went back to piazza San Marco where people were buying seeds to feed the pigeons and take pictures of them climbing on top of them. Live music was being played in one or more of the bar/restaurants for its customers and all those who were visiting the piazza. The classical music makes you feel as if you're in another world completely.

After dinner, Dave and I walked along the Canal Grande and entered the Hotel Daniele, which is a 5-star hotel on the waterfront. We had drinks in their magnificently decorated bar in the lobby with its hand-blown glass chandeliers and gold leaf columns.

Life is grand, we both thought. We started the day by strolling through one of the most beautiful cities in the world and ended it by sitting in a beautiful 14th century palace along the Canal Grande. Can life get better than this?

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