The next portion of Venice is now something of a blur, but in the very best way.
In some kind of sorcery, the sun came out that afternoon after having bucketed down for hours earlier. Blake and I set out for the evening to have dinner and a wander around just the two of us, in the newly gleaming sun. There seemed to be a peace in Venice that afternoon, not everyone had emerged yet after the torrential rain earlier in the day and it seemed quiet, like there was a secret being kept. We stopped for drinks at a little wine bar sitting against the Grand Canal, watching the token Gondolieri taking couples, tour groups and families out for gondola rides whilst sipping on a Spritz (me!) and a beer (not me!) and shoo-ing away pigeons which seemed more plentiful than people. We chatted and laughed, enjoyed the view before selecting a Gondolieri and Gondolier for a tour of the smaller canals, the back-alleys of Venice.
It felt like a dream slowly paddling through the water. We passed some incredible sights, aptly pointed out by our guide, as Marco Polo’s home, Cassanova’s home, the oldest building in Venice, and more. The water was still and you could hear faint chatter and laughter every now and then when passing an open window, but other than that there was a sense of still and quiet.
Blake started to say some lovely things to me, which was not exactly out of character but it seemed like a slightly odd moment to be launching into professing his love when there was so much history around us. Feeling a little awkward, I tried to change the subject and pointed out a nice building I could see (…it was nice okay!!! #spoiledthemoment), but Blake was not having any of it and dismissed my observation with a firm nod, before continuing with his lilting prose. Suddenly it hit me… Is he… Where is this going…….… so I sat back and listened and took in every word he said. Before I knew it he pulled out a beautiful ring and asked me to marry him. Many happy tears ensued! After sharing a few words back and forth and putting on the most beautiful ring I have ever seen, I sunk into his arms and we embraced for the rest of the gondola ride… which seemed to go way too quickly. We disembarked, thanked our gondolieri (who I don’t think had realised what had happened as he looked mighty confused), and stumbled off hand in hand, not sure what to do next.
<< Engaged! Weeeeeee!>>
Of course within a minute of wandering we came across this glorious shirt, perhaps a forewarning?
<< HILARIOUS joke, Universe. >>
Unsure what to do next in our roles as fiancees, we kind of just wandered for a little while smiling and being excited about stuff. I stopped for gelato, because what else does one do when one promises one’s self to another for all eternity, and the gelato was delicious so it worked out nicely.
We had a drink in an adorable little alleyway, took more pictures and spent a lot of time smiling and googly-eye-ing each other like gigantic dweebs.
All google-d out, we took it upon ourselves to find a restaurant that a friend had recommended, but decided to do so with minimal help from a map so it really involved about two hours of aimless wandering and chatting, and was really good fun, and we found ourselves at St Mark’s square which was a bit of a bonus.
<< Blake did this really nice thing when we were standing looking at the square, I turned facing away from it and hugged him, his eyes suddenly lit up, he covered my eyes with his hands and spun me around and revealed St Mark’s lit up…. Like he had just done it for me…! Such good timing, whoever times the lighting of the square – it was craaaaaazy romantic>>
In our excited/happy stupor we eventually made it to La Mascareta where we shared an incredible carpaccio plate, and two mains (one of which was delicious, one of which was not) as well as a bottle of wine and lots more smiling.
In yet another twist of fate as we walked back towards the water bus at St Mark’s, we happened upon a beautiful hotel from which we could hear jazz playing and an Italian voice crooning into the night. Having had one of our first and most memorable dates at a jazz club (and many more since), we couldn’t turn it down. What we wandered into was honestly one of the most ridiculous and incredible hours of my life. The hotel was stunning – ornate, embellished, everything seemed to be dripping in class, and as we walked into the cocktail bar and sat near the piano, our new fave Italian jazz singer Tiziano Zanella of course started singing ‘I Love You Just the Way You Are’. Two sidecars and many jazz standards later we walked away with his albums and even huger smiles on our faces than before.
With one final taxi trip back in the crisp, 1am Venetian air, we journeyed back to the apartment to get ready to share our news with our families. It was one of the best nights of my life.