Venice is a woman, make no mistake. She is a lovely, regal monarch who has presided over the affairs of Venetians for centuries. many of those years she ruled with an iron fist and was the most powerful of any kingdom, poised as she still is between east and west. She’s dressed in the finest of clothes and they leave a lasting impression. Thirty years ago that impression was that some of her wardrobe was showing it’s wear. The stylish shoes were run down at the heels, her cuffs were frayed. The edges of her petticoats were worn and a little gray.

I’m happy to report that there has been a makeover. This makeover is accomplished solely by boats and hand carts. No cars are allowed. What a pleasure to wander without looking over your shoulder or waiting for a WALK sign. But it boggles the mind. The garbage is hauled off in hand carts, construction equipment is brought by boats

When we rolled off the train and headed for the vaporetto – a water taxi – I waited to see the reactions of my traveling partners to Venice. I hadn’t planned to go to Venice originally five years ago. But my sweetie had not been. Venice is a place that must be seen, and be seen to believed.

She’s breathtaking. Blue green waters against ochre and burnt sienna buildings. I have a dim memory of many of the water level floors of buildings flooded with water. In fact one of the biggest threats to our visit is the acqua alta or high water. The travel goddess smiles on us once again and Venice is dry as a bone. The portable walkways sit stacked and dry. These walkways are a part of winter life in Venice as are big rubber Wellington boots. Lucky us! There isn’t a need.

The Pensione where I go to pick up our keys to the apartment says Pensione (Hotel) Guerrato Founded 1288 Remodeled 1955. It boggles the mind. The apartment is wonderful. Tucked away between St Mark’s and the Rialto bridge it’s cozy warm and quiet. It gives us a perfect base to explore both. We wander the streets till long after dark and the most remarkable thing of a trip filled with superlatives transports me. A gondolier glides past in his VSB (very sexy boat). On board he has a lucky couple and …. a guitar player, and he’s making like Pavarotti. He makes like Pavarotti until well out of sight, but I can still hear him, echoing off the walls and bridges.

There are precious few things I am a sucker for. My kids, my man, yarn stores and their contents and tenors of any nationality. It’s the sweetest sound you could ever hear with few exceptions.

I’m very sorry to leave Venice. The rest of the trip will have the fast forward button firmly pressed down.