Thursday, December 31, 2015
Venice, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Prague and Budapest, or Venice and the Veneto – join us!

I groaned when we decided to set our alarm at 3:45 am…ugh! But we knew our destination would be worth it! First leg of the journey – a flight from Budapest to Milan, then a train to the Central Station, then a leg to Bologna (only thing available was a connection because we couldn’t purchase ahead of time since we weren’t sure when we’d get to the Milan station), 12311501 business car to ourselvesthen FINALLY to Venice…good news was we had business class cars to ourselves!
Enchanting as ever, Venice greets us with a sunny welcome. 12311501 bus vaporetto to aptAlthough we’ve been here many times, this will be the first time we’ve stayed in an apartment rather than a hotel – we’re looking forward to LIVING here for a few days!
Giovanna, owner of Loft Casa Aurora, meets us with a smile at the Madonna del’Orto vaporetto (water bus) stop and walks us to the canal-side apartment. We’re off the beaten track, in a quiet Cannaregio (one of Venice’s 6 districts) neighborhood, and can easily walk to all we want to see. We’re just in time for a late lunch, and Giovanna’s husband has found a nearby place that’s open for us, so we sit down with an “aaaah” and order some delicious pasta and fish.  A few errands, then we unpack and plan our New Years Eve. My wish is some beautiful fireworks, and Giovanna let us know the best place to be to watch them at midnight.
We take the back lanes,12311501 dusk later than in budapest avoiding the crowds heading towards Piazza San Marco, then plunge right in to the revelry.12311501 marks masksLots of people are wearing masks tonight – all part of the fun,12311501 st marks lingering around the Piazza until the midnight show.12311501 st marks loggias We’ve read that the Piazza is the site of a  Bacio di Mezzanote – communal midnight kiss! But we’ll be out by the water, looking up at splendor in the sky. And the crowd gasps as the first explosions light up the water and San Giorgio Maggiore in the background. 12311501 terrific firewords riva schiavoniYes, this is a perfect spot – not far from Vivaldi’s church, along the wide Riva degli Schiavoni. Shimmers of gold fall like raindrops,12311502 gold shimmers then San Giorgio takes on a red hue at the next blast. 12311502 san giorgio changing colorsWe’re pleasantly surprised, after spending several New Years Eves in a rowdier Florence, at the reserved yet delighted crowds. No empty Prosecco bottles tossed in the air, no booming firecrackers in the lanes, just appreciation of the beauty and a seeming spirit of thankfulness for what we all hope will be a better new year. Auguri! Happy 2016!