Blake's (30th!) birthday started early. A 5:00 a.m. wake-up called followed by a 7:00 a.m. flight from Orly to Marco Polo. (How cool is it that he had his 30th birthday in Paris AND Venice...be jealous!) I would have been tired on the best of days.
But it was not the best of days. And after pressurizing and de-pressurizing in the plane, my head felt like a boulder that I was trying to balance on my shoulders. I say this not to complain, but merely to give you a good reason why I'm not sharing photos of myself from that day. Boy howdy! They are not pretty.
But my Blake, the Birthday Boy, was looking pretty (pretty handsome) as usual.
I've had mixed feelings about Venice ever since I went there on Spring Break during my study abroad. It's a beautiful city, no doubt, but it feels a bit like an adult version of Disney World. Nothing is real. It's no longer a functioning city. No one actually lives or works in Venice (outside of selling tschotskes and expensive gelato). It's just a tourist trap. Albeit a beautiful tourist trap.
It's a perfect place to go for a day trip. You can see everything you need to see in one day and then move on to another Italian city where you won't be so badly ripped off.
So, it worked out perfectly that we were only there for the day. We got in early, took the vaporetto into town, spent several hours sight-seeing (or in my case, a couple hours trudging around followed by a couple hours sitting in St. Mark's square trying to get my ears to pop), and then took the vaporetto again to get to the cruise ship.
Blake took some fabulous shots around the city. I particularly like this one:
The week before the cruise, I had promised my niece, Ella (4), that we would be "cruise buddies." Much to her chagrin, I wasn't much of a cruise buddy because I didn't want to get too close and get her sick.
We made do by playing a game of giant chess onboard the ship that afternoon. And by playing chess, I mean that she ran around knocking down the huge pieces, laughing hysterically while I up-righted them again. (Now that I think about it, I guess I was just leaving my germs strewn about for the next unsuspecting giant chess victims. Oh well.)
Notice my arm bands in the photo. No, they are not a fashion statement. Yes, they are acupuncture point wrist bands that aid with preventing sea sickness. I failed to mention above that about 10 minutes after getting on the ship, I was curled up in a ball on the bed, unable to move, absolutely green at the gills with sea sickness. Perfect. Seasickness, sinus pressure, un-popped ears and a cough. A great way to start a cruise.
Blake's brother, Kirk, came to my rescue when he pulled out an extra pair of the wrist bands. I was skeptical at first, but they really helped. I still felt dizzy for most of the time I was on the boat, but I was able to --you know-- keep things under control. Thank goodness for Kirk. He really saved the day.
Did I mention that the cruise ship was brand new? We were on the maiden voyage and took a certain pleasure knowing that we were the "first ones to sit in this chair," "first one to go down the water slides," (I just watched) and most importantly, "first person to use this ultra-clean and sparkly bathroom."
Here's the view while we were docked in Venice:
And here's the view of Venice as we sailed away:
It's almost heartbreakingly beautiful, isn't it?