When I picture an upcoming holiday destination I always imagine it with bright blue skies, usually balmy clear weather and mild temperatures. I don't picture crowds on the scene or weather extremes or travel delays or anything other than fun. Having said that, we have made a conscious choice sometimes to travel in winter for various reasons, and take our warm woollies so we're prepared. The reality is often quite different from my imaginings. For instance, I keep finding scaffolding on lots of major buildings I want to see. Either they're all crumbling badly at the same time or it's a conspiracy to deprive me of a good view. (All about me, of course!).
Recently I was lucky enough to visit Venice again and this is how I pictured it, a clear(ish)day with a blue sky and great views. And, even though I was there in early February (winter) that's what we got - for part of the time. I have lots of photos of Venice looking gorgeous and captivating and romantic, but our holiday wasn't quite as we expected so I thought I'd share some of the OTHER photos. Here's one:
Who knew it snows in Venice? It's not only on the coast of the Mediterranean but actually on islands off the coast. Ignorant Australian that I am, I imagined rain but not snow. It's not a brilliant photo, I know. I was too busy taking in the astounding views. Sadly the snow didn't settle, but it was an amazing experience.
Now, I mentioned rain. We did have some - at least on one day. But what we had 5 times in our week's visit was the acqua alta - the high water which sees some of Venice underwater - not just the canals but the pedestrian zones as well. Here's a shopkeeper in Piazza San Marco mopping up after one.
The acqua alta affected the local fashions too. I knew to expect well-dressed Venetians, having been there years before. But I hadn't expected this sort of footwear.
We got to see a different side of Venice, one complete with duckboards so people could walk through certain areas without wading.
It may sound perverse, but we were glad to got to experience this other side of Venice. It was an adventure for one thing (especially since we didn't have to deal with the flood damage). Lying in bed listening to the city's acqua alta alarm was a novel experience. We became adept at finding relatively dry ways around the city and were quite proud of our sturdy borrowed boots when some others weren't quite equipped for Venice in the wet. Of course, too, it gave us good reason to stop by inviting cafes that were dry. Here's the famous Cafe Florian in Piazza San Marco. If the weather had been fine and dry every day we'd probably not have visited.
Or time in Venice was wonderful. We had lots of new experiences, discovered great food, friendly people, romantic atmosphere and brilliant carnival costumes, But I'm sure what's going to stick in our memories is the fun we had wading through the high water, admiring the way the Venetians went about their business despite the conditions.
Have you ever had a trip that didn't work out as you expected? Maybe it was better, or worse or just different? I love the unexpected on my holidays (though preferably not bad-unexpected) and would love to hear about yours. Do you go with the flow, or find it hard to enjoy yourself when things don't go as planned?
I'll leave you with a final shot of Venice early in the evening. Sigh. It really was enormously attractive!