We may have seen this truck on our second day in Rome, but it could not more appropriately explain Wednesday, March 10, the day we went from Florence to Paris, stopping only to wander around Venice in the middle of a blizzard. Oh yes, stupid has the stories.
We woke up at 3 a.m. in Florence. Colleen was far too perky for that hour, but it did help us wake up a bit. We caught our cab to the Florence train station for our 4:41 a.m. departure, but arrived with a little less than an hour to spare. So for the next hour, we froze. Not even the layer of fat we had put on at this point in the trip from the gelato and pasta could help us keep warm. Then, we got giddy. This was our first sign that the day was going to be a long one. We were overtired and we still had more than 20 hours ahead of us. Oh boy.
We hopped on the train, which had no heat. This would be uncomfortable in any situation, but the fact that we had not anticipated this cold weather (someone should really make a website that tells you weather forecasts and such...) and were therefore bundled up in layers of cardigans, raincoats and newly purchased scarves. Molly, Colleen and I even took to sitting on one another's feet to keep them warm.
We arrived in Venice in the middle of a snow storm. Nay, a blizzard. This bad boy could have held its own against a Boston storm any day. We stored our luggage at the train station and headed out into the maze of wind tunnels and wet streets of slush. Within a matter of minutes, our feet were soaking wet and freezing. There are no snow plows in Venice. There are maybe four shovels in Venice. It is not supposed to snow here.
But the snow made it that much more beautiful. Especially since pictures can't record temperature.
We were all a bit cranky and uncomfortable, so we stopped at a cafe to get some hot tea and a game plan. Our flight to Paris left that night, so we could either rough it here or sit at the airport all day. With Jay Z's "Young Forever" (yes, a remake of "Forever Young") playing in the background, we decided to stick it out and strategically go from shop to cafe to shop to restaurant to make sure that we enjoyed ourselves and stayed relatively warm and dry. When in Venice, right?
As we walked around, evidence of the storm and strong winds was everywhere. I kept myself from thinking about my feet turning blue by taking pictures of all the discarded umbrellas. Umbrellas in a snow storm? Amateurs.
So we ate and shopped for the rest of the day. We snagged some meringue from a bakery and enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing lunch at a practically deserted restaurant. It must have been the weather because it sure wasn't the food that was keeping the customers away. Tortellini....mmmm...
Venice is known for its Merona glass, which is gorgeous and relatively cheap. Glass shops are everywhere! I got some gold and black earrings along with a few knick knacks.
Venice also has streets upon streets of mask shops for its Carnivale, which we missed by a week or two. Unfortunately, the shop owners don't allow pictures and were already on edge with a group of dripping wet American tourists walking through their tiny shops, touching their expensive and elaborate masks. Here are a few that were on display in a window, but trust me, these are among the tamer and more standard masks that we saw:
Once we lost all feeling in our extremities, we had a lot of fun playing around in the snow. Colleen had heard that the best thing to do in Venice was get lost among the streets. We did that without even trying, but everything is so picturesque that there really is no wrong way to go.
On the train ride to Venice, we were trying to figure out what the men giving gondola rides would wear in the cold. A cape? A jacket? Are they always in short sleeves? Oh, silly Americans... You know what they wear? Their pajamas! They don't go out in this weather! They sit on their couches and keep warm like normal people. We were disappointed we couldn't get onto the water, but now we all just have a reason to return!
After a day of being overtired, giddy beyond all reason and on the verge of frostbite since we were in wet socks for well over six hours, we decided to head to the airport around 3 p.m., a few hours ahead of schedule. We bought some dry socks to change into at the airport and got one last Italian gelato. Mine was Kit Kat and dark chocolate. It may have even been warmer than we were at that point.
We arrived at the airport and, nervous that I wouldn't be able to fit my bag in the RyanAir checker once again, I bundled up. Walking through the check in point, I had on four tank tops, one t-shirt, four cardigans, a leather jacket, a sweatshirt, a raincoat and three scarves. You can thank Colleen for capturing the moment:
Then, they didn't even make us shove our bags in the stupid cage, but I had already put everything on, so I kept it on until we arrived at our hostel after midnight. A quick flight and one rough landing later and we had arrived in Paris. Caroline met a friend at the bus station and Tara, Molly, Colleen and I caught a cab to take us on a drive through the city of lights to our much awaited beds. Whew, what a day.