Friday, March 31, 2023


The beauty, the art, the architecture, the water, the lagoons, the bridges, the gondolas, and the popolo - The ancient city of Venice, built March 25, 0421, shows all Vagabonds the passion, romance, and joy of life and love.

"To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius." - Alexander Herzen

Take everything you have ever heard or read about Venice and multiply it by your telephone number and you'll be close to the amazing, insanely gorgeous, ancient city of Venice Italy. It will mesmerize you. It will make you laugh and cry. The vibe of this place is unfiltered. The colors are never beige. They are red, yellow, purple, green, and on and on. You will see magnificent buildings that appear to have been scrubbed by wind, rain, and sunshine - old but always new. Here are some thoughts on our trip to this place of beauty and romance:

After spending two nights in the boutique Hotel Eremo Gaudio in Varenna, we found out that a train strike was coming, so we cut our stay one night. We checked out and went to the train station. As we were sitting on a bench waiting for our train to arrive, I heard this group of young girls talking with distinctly American accents. I walked over to them and asked where they were from. Small world indeed - They were all students from Florida State University, the school from which I graduated in my hometown on summer vacation. We had a short little chat as they told us where all they were going.  I have said many times, young people should travel to Europe. It changes your thinking about the world. And it changes your mind about yourself. 

As we boarded and settled into our first-class seats for a few dollars more, we were excited about seeing the grand city of Venice. Train travel in Italy, in my humble opinion, is simply the best in Europe. It's not very expensive, the trains are immaculate and the seats are very comfortable. Plus, they provide service for snacks you can purchase on the train. A little over three hours later we arrived at Saint Lucia Station just outside of Venice. We took a vaparetto (a waterbus) and were dropped close to our small boutique Hotel Flora and walked a few minutes to check-in. One side note - Currently, prices for high-quality hotels in Venice have gone up. However, they are worth every penny. In addition, Venice has many hotels for lower prices.

Our first night in the very hip Hotel Flora was interesting. We joke all the time about that first night. We slept in the smallest hotel room we've ever slept in with each of us in a single bed on opposite ends of the room. LOL! However, the next morning, as we were enjoying our breakfast in the lush courtyard, the concierge informed us that he had moved our luggage to a much better room. All was good, as we enjoyed this small hotel and the sites, sounds, and cibo in this amazing 1,600-year-old magical place. 

Cibo Indeed

As the world knows, Italian food is simply the best food to enjoy with family and friends. The Italians are the original purveyors of the romantic and passionate enjoyment of great victuals. Here are a few quotes from well-informed diners:

" Life is a combination of magic and pasta." Federico Fellini - Italian Film Maker

"The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again." George Miller - Australian Film Maker

"There's nothing more romantic than Italian food." Elisha Cuthbert - Canadian Actress

"In Italy, they add work and life onto their food and wine." Robin Leach - Entertainment Reporter 

All of the food we had in Italy was simply delicioso, particularly in Venice. At the top of your dining bucket list in this grand city must be one of the most famous restaurants in all of Venice, Italy, and the world - Harry's Bar. To give you some insight into this famous culinary palace, her is a quote from the Travel Web Site Trip Advisor:

This landmark bar in Venice has been around since the 1930s
and has seen the likes of celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway
and Charlie Chaplin. It's known as the birthplace of the Bellini cocktail, so don't miss the chance to try it out, along with their famous carpaccio. The dry martini is also a favorite. With its storied history, it's a good idea to have a chat with the friendly bartenders to learn more.

For dinner, try some delicious Venetian specialties like creamed cod. This spot can get pretty crowded, so it’s best to get there early. – Tripadvisor

And before dinner, it is imperative that you have a Bellini. You will not forget it. You will also enjoy the exceptional service. We were served by two smiling, English-speaking waiters who took care of us in a professional, yet friendly manner. You will enjoy a culinary experience like no other.

Another experience that must be on your bucket list is Opera. Since the Italians basically invented the music of love, romance, death, and intrigue, any opera in Italy will be exemplary. We attended an opera in Venice and it was amazing - The singing, the orchestra, the set, and the story. Unfortunately, I cannot locate my journal for that event, so all I can say is - Find an opera and go! It is mesmerizing.

That is just a short summary of some of the things we enjoyed in this grand city of history, art, architecture, and love. I will be posting more adventures we enjoyed in and around Venice. 

A Presto


To get you in the mood for Italy - Enjoy the power and passion of one of the greatest operatic tenors in history - Luciano Pavarotti performing "Nessun dorma" from Turandot.

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