Well, here we are. The final installment of the Europe 2012 trip. After our tumultuous time in Tuscany, we were quite ready to ditch any form of vehicular transportation for a relaxing last few days in Venice. I was excited, albeit a bit terrified, about staying in a floating city, but I was looking forward to a slight change in cuisine. It was time to get serious about seafood.
Venice is a beautiful city. It is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. The town has absolutely no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal – which are lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The buildings are soft pastels, and with the absence of cars, it’s blissfully quiet.
We arrived late in the day, so we spent that first evening wander the canals and trying not to get lost. Thankfully, we only got slightly lost weaving in and out of the walkways, but Venice is such a beautiful city I really didn’t mind.
Since this was the very end of our trip, and because we were still poor college students, Sean and I missed out on the most quintessential Venetian experience: a gondola ride. My practical self understands why we would opt out at the time, but I also CAN’T BELIEVE we didn’t spring for it. Apparently, we have to go back.
Because Venice is literally surrounded by water, they are known for their seafood. They don’t exactly have their own particular cuisine from what I understand, but we will always remember Venice for the black ink pasta sauce that Sean ordered at every chance he could. Without fail it stained his teeth black for a few hours after. I scoured my photos from the trip and couldn’t find evidence of this, so you’ll have to take my word for it.
Our last night in Venice was also the last night of our trip, and the last night we would see each other for who knows how long. (It ended up only being four months but we didn’t know that at the time.) We decided to enjoy our last meal at a tiny restaurant right on the Grand Canal as the sun went down.
Because this is Europe, all the tables are always close together, we were uncomfortably close to another couple enjoying dinner. They were probably in their early 60’s and based on their conversation they did not have any children. I don’t remember exactly what we ordered – maybe because of the Italian wine, maybe because this was seven years ago now – but I know our first was spaghetti (perfectly al dente of course) with shrimp. The shrimp still had the shells, and each bowl was served with an empty bowl and wet wipe. To me, the only logical way to go about this was to hand peel the shrimp, use the bowl for the discarded shells, and the wet wipe for your dirty hands. We proceeded to do just this, and the couple next to us was utterly scandalized.
It’s Italy, guys. Everything is done with your hands there.
Funny thing is, we watched them sheepishly do the exact same thing when their first course came out.
Our European trip in 2012 was quick and crazy, but an excellent one. We managed to travel for an extended period without murdering each other, and we had some pretty unique and memorable experiences along the way. It’s been fun remembering these stories for this blog. And I hope we manage to revisit some of these cities in the future.