Last month I flew away to Europe for a life-changing Mediterranean Cruise. There's nothing quite like traveling, taking in the sights, sounds, fashion, foods...oh the food! My first stop was Venice, a truly magical city. It really was like something out of a fairytale, I gazed up at the green shutters and flower boxes on the old houses from my seat in a gondola and couldn't believe my eyes. Each place that I went, I wrote little notes so that I could remember as much as possible. I arrived in Venice with my mom, got into a water taxi and soon stepped onto our hotel's entrance with my luggage which I promptly knocked over into the canal. It happened as if in slow motion as the water taxi driver(?) exclaimed in Italian and onlookers watched. I couldn't be anything but amused, I knew this was going to be an unforgettable trip.

My mom and I explored the streets, taking in the buildings and gazing longingly at boutique windows. We stopped for lunch and I had the best spaghetti of my entire life at an unassuming cafe'. It was actually my mom's order but she offered me a taste...I finished it. We stopped by an enchanting Venetian mask shop and the old Italian man behind the counter told us about the Carnival while choosing masks for us to try on and taking photographs. I seriously love Venetian masks, you all know I'm a sucker for accessories. 

We headed to Piazza San Marco where we walked among the pigeons and had a glass of wine while the church bells rang. While I was taking photos, these random guys just stood, posed within my aim and walked on by. Men in Italy are crazy. They stare, yell compliments and make sounds as you walk by. Don't walk around with a gelato unless you want to pass guys opening their mouths, gesturing to lick it. It sounds creepy but it's so cartoonish and stereotypical that it's just hilarious. A completely different world. People dress so well and bring their dogs everywhere. I saw a local put his wallet in his golden retriever's mouth and continue walking as the cute pup trailed behind him sans leash. 

I had heard not to be disappointed if the gondoliers don't sing so I didn't expect anything. What I got were archetypal gondoliers serenading in striped shirts and straw hats. I didn't expect Venice to be so...Venicey! Like a movie brought to life with candles on the streets. I saw couples kiss in gondolas to the sounds of "'O Sole Mio". Venice was unbelievable and beyond my expectations.  

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