Thursday, December 31, 2009

Venice for Christmas

Unlike many European cities, Venice does not have a notable reputation for Christmas spirit. And though we were disappointed by the mysterious disappearance of the Christmas market that was supposed to be in St. Stefan Square, not to mention the lack of Christmas concerts we were anticipating, we definitely knew it was the wintery season. First, because our initial flight to Venice was canceled due to weather, forcing us to fly into Milan a day later, and then take a train to Venice, also canceled (Did you know that trains can be delayed by snow? Neither did I. The Italian public transit system continues to amaze.). When we finally arrived in Venice late on the night of Dec. 21, we were greeted by record low temperatures, lower than anyone remembered in their lifetime, well below freezing. Oh well, we were missing Duluth anyway.

Nonetheless, Venice slowly managed to reveal its wiles to us, especially when the temperature warmed up a couple days later and we were treated to some sun. Before that, however, we got to see the colder side of Venice. The side with gondoliers bundled up in winter coats rather than their black striped shirts. Snow on the piazzas and lingering on rooftops. Early morning fog, and yes, even Christmas decorations.

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