The above image is a proud expression of my extreme dorkiness. It is taken from my favorite videogame of all time: The Elder Scrolls III, Morrowind (Tribunal expansion pack). I’m not ashamed. In a nutshell, the image is an edited quote from the game, in which a city guard describes his city (Mournhold) using the above phrase. This meme is simply an awkward and unsuccessful stab at humor to start off my blog post, but as I sat reflecting in Venice (which I did a lot of), I realized that “City of Light, City of Magic” actually encompasses my thoughts perfectly.
Our first night in the city began with us taking the waterbus to our hostel, which was located on the island of Giudecca, located just a stone’s throw south of the main island of the city. This first night was actually perhaps my favorite. Our band of six just wandered around Giudecca for a couple hours; we didn’t actually make it to the main island until the day after. One of the first things we found was a dock on the back of the island that overlooked the lagoon and other islands in the distance. We would return to our dock every night we were in Venice, and it came to be my favorite part of the city. Each night as we looked out over the gently lapping water and distant islands, I found a profound sense of peace unlike anything I’ve experienced on this trip. As we walked back from the dock to the side of Giudecca that faced the heart of Venice, we experienced a second incredible view. Shawn “Cat Daddy” Halvorson and I quickly became enamored with the perfectly spaced string of lights emanating from the Venetian waterfront across the lagoon. These views were a surreal experience for me; almost magical in a way. I had already experienced the magic of Venice, before having even seen it in the daylight.
We spent the days after this first night exploring and wandering the streets and canals of Venice. It was great to be amongst the thousands of people who were all in a festive mood for Carnivale. I was fascinated by the mix of Western and Eastern architecture around San Marco. But the thing that I will remember most about Venice was retreating to Giudecca every night and truly experiencing the magic and charm of the city from across the lagoon.