Saturday, January 22, 2005

Liz's Birthday!

Yay, Happy Birthday to Liz! Actually, I guess technically, it's not anymore, but it was, so that still sorta counts! :) Well, today was great and to quote Mrs. B, it was "dreamy". I started off the day by waking up at 7am. Showered quick, then got outside to catch the sunrise. It was absolutely beautiful. I walked around by myself for about an hour and took a ton of pictures while nobody was around. It was really neat. At one point, I was the only person standing in San Marcos square, in Venice. Just think about that for a second. It was incredible. :P So, then I went to go back to meet Liz for breakfast at the hotel at 8:30, but got horribly lost on the back streets. I was able to get back there about 8:40 and had breakfast with her then. Then, we went and walked around a little bit, then met up with a group of people and we went over to tour the Basillica di San Marco. This is St. Mark's Church and it was just ridiculous. I cannot even start to explain it in words, its just something that has to be seen. The outside is incredible in architecture and beauty and the inside is just enourmous and almost everything is lined in gold on the walls. The ceilings are incredibly high and it's just really something to see. We also got to see their old alter-piece which was really incredible as well. It was gold with all sorts of characters and stories from the Bible on it and all these precious stones and jewels everywhere. It was pretty cool. :) So, we spent some time there, then Liz and I were with the Taylors for awhile and we ended up talking with some other couple in San Marcos Square. They were from London, but the guy was from Cincinatti originally, so it was cool to talk with other people in my language. :) After that, Liz and I went to take a tour of Doge's Palace. This was just unexplainable as well. It was just incredible inside of it. Everything was laced with marble or beautiful wood or gold, etc. And there was just tons and tons and tons of beautiful paintings and sculptures everwhere. It's just amazing how much time was put into this palace. I wish I could've taken pictures!! So, we went through that, and also got to go down below it into the jail cells and dungeons which were really depressive and cramped. :-/ But, we got to walk through the Bridge of Sighs, which is famous because it's where the prisoners would walk through to get to the jail and they could walk through the small windows on the bridge and sigh as they got their last glimpse of Venice before they probably would die. Kinda sad. :( Oh well, after that we ran back and met the Taylors and a couple other guys at 2 to head over to the island of Murano. Murano is world-famous for their glass making. The first thing we did was to go and see a glass-making exhibition. It was really stinkin' cool. The guys would mold and blow on the glass and make these beautiful glass creations in like less than 5 minutes. They were good! :) After that, Liz, I and the Taylors were hungary so we tried to find a restraunt on the island. We got terribly lost and ended up walking all around the island. It was just beautiful though. I really loved it a lot; almost more so than Venice. Venice is so crowded and commercialized, so nobody ever goes to Murano it seems. I think we were like the only Americans around. It was really neat and peaceful and beautiful too. :) We finally found the town center, but couldn't find a pizzeria. So we finally gave up and went back to Venice, by which time it was like 4:30 or so and we had dinner in like 3 hours, so we decided not to go out. We stopped at a small window-Italian place though and got some good "snacks". I got a good calzone for like 2 euros. :D Then, the Taylors and Liz and I went to find a gondola. I wanted so badly to take Liz on a gondola for her birthday. We found a gondolier and after some negotiation, we were able to take a ride. We started at like 5:20 and went for almost an hour, which was just the perfect time. You could still see the remnants of sunset in the sky-color, but the moon was also out, and it was just dark enough that all the city lights were on too and it was just really beautiful. Very peaceful and very romantic. :):) At 6, church bells all over the city started ringing and that was really cool. There's like over 100 churches in Venice I've heard, and the sound of all those bells was just craziness. :P So, that was a lot of fun and after that, we warmed up, then went off to dinner with the whole group at 7:30. Dinner was pretty decent. After which, they all went back to Bar Orange. So, Liz and I hiked the distance again with them and chilled out there for like 30 minutes or so. Left around 10:45 and came back to the hotel. Chilled together and chatted for a couple hours and had a really nice time. It was a lot of fun. :) So, today was grand and I hope Liz had a great birthday!

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