Our last day in Venice we woke up "early" and went for a walk. It was just after 7 when we left. There was a misty fog over Venice this morning. I had read online that the morning time is one of the best times to see the city because things are quieter. We experienced just that. There were not the hustle and bussel of tourists or vendors trying to lure the tourists to their stands. We just walked and walked. We saw kids going to school and adults going to work. At one point we were walking along a VERY narrow street, I would not have been able to put both arms straight out from my sides, and then we emerged on the waters edge. It gave me the feeling of freedom when I never realize I had felt trapped. Eventually we reentered the narrow streets of the city and ended up finding our way to the piazza. This is where Ryan posted a picture of the water from high tide covering the ground and we all walked on risers. After taking pictures we turned back around and decided to find a restaurant that had been recommended to us that we did not make it to. When we found it we decided our next trip to Venice would definitely include this place because it was so cute right off of a small canal at the bottom of a bridge. Just past this restaurant we came upon a busy cafe and decided to stop in. It was evident the other patrons were all locals. They would stand at the counter order their espresso, drink it, and continue on to work. It was fabulous to be a part of that. I ordered an espresso and chocolate croissant and Ryan ordered a hot chocolate and a mini cheese tart. We took our drinks and pastries to a table outside the cafe to sit and people watch.
Then we decided it was the perfect time to pull out the Bible. I asked Ryan if he felt like reading anything specific and he immediately said Psalm 34:8. This verse is on Ryan's Dad's gravestone, so it is especially meaningful. So I flipped to Psalm 34 and started reading...
I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
My soul will boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answer me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.
I have read this psalm before, but not for awhile. This time it spoke to me very powerfully in a whole new way. For quite some time I have been on a plateau, stuck in a rut, and not entirely happy. I had happy times, don't get me wrong, but overall I think I have been lost for some time. Part of it may have been from fear of failure, part of it from just not knowing where my life was headed or in what direction I should even look for my path. I desperately was searching for SOMETHING to be presented to me that would direct my life, at least for now. I believe that this opportunity in Germany is exactly that. I now am able to see (hindsight is always 20/20 as they say) why things have gone the way they have over the past year. I am so thankful that God has delivered me from my rut. I am so genuinely happy here. I miss my friends and family at home, but I honestly know with 100% certainty that THIS is where I am supposed to be right now. Just as when we emerged to the waters edge from the narrow street we walked down early this morning I realized that I in my life had felt more trapped than I had even realized back at home. Coming to Germany was my emergence to the waters edge and it feels so good to have found my way to where I am.
This morning in Venice was my favorite part of our trip. Being able to be more still and quiet, to watch to locals go about their days. And to sit with Ryan and read from the scripture and be spoken to so directly was really such an amazing feeling. I couldn't have asked for anything more.
We did go back and have the same breakfast we had the day before. Then we headed out to the Academia area of Venice where we had not yet been. We accidentally walked in on the end of a funeral in a church. We felt their sorrow as we watched them say good bye to their loved one. We saw a statue of a boy holding a frog. Apparently their is no significance, but it seems to be a popular site. We found super cheap pizza and gelato, which I wrote about on our food post, on our way to get our bags. Then to the train station we went. It was sad to say goodbye, but we have every intention of heading back to Venice while we are here. I had heard it was a dirty city and that is did not live up to the expectations associated with it. I would say it exceeded my expectations. I loved every second of our time there.
Ryan mentioned that our way home took twice as long as our way to Venice. My roommate had said that when she was there a few weeks before she and her friend had gotten gas at the Aviano airforce base. Aviano is about 1 1/2 hours from Venice, but takes us away from the main autostrada (freeway) that we needed to take. So once discovering we could not get gas on the base we struggled to follow our directions back to Garmisch, which ended up leading us right over the alps. It would have been a stunning drive in the day light and possibly it would have made it worth the extra time (maybe), but since it was completely dark as we tried to find our way from tiny town to tiny town we were not thrilled with the 5 hour detour we encountered. Anyway we made it back safe and sound. I hope you have enjoyed reading of this adventure. I now need to catch you up on our weekend before Venice when we went snowboarding and traveled to Innsbruck, Austria. But I'll save it for a little later.