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New Year’s Eve in Venezia

It’s been a while, but we are now starting to post again (ahh yes, New Year’s resolutions). Kristin and I have been in Italy since late August with a 6-week trip back to the US in between. We are living in the small town of Barga, Tuscany. Many stories, but we’ll begin with our New Year’s Eve trip to Venice, a four hour train ride from Barga.

Venice, New Year’s Eve was a bathtub. The rain began in the morning and as the canals rose up, the streets started to trickle with rubber-booted tourists wading through the waterlogged streets. We couldn’t wait to join them.

Our morning mission: Obtain our own boots for the midnight party in Piazza San Marco, which was supposed to be well under water at high tide. Most boots in the tourist shops were on ‘sale’ for 20-25 Euros. Kristin liked a spotted leopard pair, but had to settle for shiny black. I went with a matte black, soldier of fortune special. Tourists spoke English alongside Italian, holding their maps at arms length. I lost our own map after putting it down (we think) to try on some boots.

As we joined the midday crowds, Kristin hopped up on one of the temporary raised catwalks, and did a supermodel strut. She stood out among the many others schlepping above the current. One Italian sat outside his glass shop with a romantic sneer, eyeing the duck lines of tourists waddling above, ready to take one out with his charm.

Walking the planks

Walking the planks

Flooded Piazza San Marco

Flooded Piazza San Marco

Hanging out by a canal

Hanging out by a canal

In the afternoon, we made reservations at ‘Il Ridotto’, a restaurant five minutes from San Marco, and put on our snazzy attire (Kristin glimmering in a beautiful black dress and silk heels - which she later switched to rubber boots - I in the traditional shirt/tie/fisherman waders ensemble. The meal began with an impeccably fresh tartare of Venice’s best Pesce, complete with lavender flowers and crunchy bits of smoky kelp, and ended three hours later with chocolate truffles that I dropped like balls into my mouth. “Piu vino?”, the waitress asked for the tenth time. “Si!”, we raised our glasses, and were met with a downpour of prosecco.

Leaving the restaurant behind, San Marco flashed with spotlights as we waded in at the fashionable time of 11:50, the water up to our knees. Some timid partiers created a traffic jam on the walking planks by refusing to step off into the water, while others dove off, using the walkways as diving boards. We chose the latter.

Midnight hit, champagne spurted. Kisses were exchanged. Sparklers were lit and bottles passed around. A boy towed his friend in an inflatable raft, waving an Italian flag. A lone boot floated by amidst a sea of corks, its owner nowhere to be seen.

The square at midnight

The square at midnight

Pimp

Pimp

Having a seat

Having a seat

The gigantic sound system thundered, in competition with the fireworks above and San Marco Square became the more informal St. Mark’s Outdoor Water Dance Party. Revelers splashed, and bobbed like buoys. Kristin and I danced to such international hits as The Black Eyed Pea’s ‘I Got A Feeling’ and the infamous Uno, Due, Tre, Quattro song, while the new New Year ticked away. We paid a 1 am visit to the Hard Rock Café, the furthest thing from a café in Italy, followed by a needless 2:30 am visit to a local bar and ordered beers that would sit un-drunk in our room. We waded back to our hotel, tired, sopping and happy. My tie took up residence on the bedside lamp, and stayed there, unmoving, while 6 flights below, the invading water was finally pulled back out to sea.

A lone cork on New Year's Day

A lone cork on New Year's Day

More to come from Italia, including New Year’s Day in Venice, our neighbors, and how we got to this darn country in the first place

226 comments to New Year’s Eve in Venezia

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