We got to Venice at around 8pm in the evening, glanced at our tiny map print out and the city map and decided to find our B&B ourselves. Not a good decision!
Getting lost in Venice is not just some whimsical expression, it is an ever present reality! Tired, hungry and hopelessly lost within about five minutes, Greg and I had a ‘suitcase down’ moment that night. (Suitcases down moments are something that can only be discussed with a glass of alcohol in one hand, so ask me about that some other time!) When we eventually found our B&B (through no fault of our own!) the owners informed us we were actually staying in a room across town, very easy to find and about a twenty minute walk away. Greg was off finding food at this point and the woman saw my face contort as I wrestled with the idea of finding anything but a way to throw her into the nearest canal. Her partner intervened at this point (he must have had some xp with tired, cranky women before) and said they would walk us there… thank goodness! Greg reappeared with a box of pizza and then we were all off into the night, trudging along dragging our bags over least 50% of the canal staircases in Venice . This may be exaggerated, but whatever; it is an exotic travel story, so deal with it :PÂ We eventually got to the B&B, inhaled a pizza between the two of us and went to bed. That night, I quite hated Venice.
The next morning…
Venice hits you with a crazed ant impression as soon as you get there. The place is crawling with tourists, they swarm in every direction you could possibly want to place your feet! Underneath all the bustle is a beautiful city though, the canals and mystery of the place – (as soon as you embrace not being sure where you are most of the time) captures you straight away. It was basically something out of the movie Labyrinth to me, complete with masks of dazzling variety in nearly every shop front you walked past. I half expected David Bowie to show up perched on a balcony singing to me….if only dreams were reality.
That morning, we found the cafe offering the B&B’s included breakfast – after only around twenty minutes, which was a new record as far as navigating in Venice was concerned.Â There we enjoyed a simple expresso, juice and croissant for breakfast. We started by finding our way to the main plaza, San Marco. It was swarming, droves of tourist were tottering about and enjoying the view of the main attractions in the square – the “Bascilia de San Marco” an amazing cathedral and the thing to do. Apparently filled with some jaw dropping mosaics, the cathedral has been described to have an “otherworldly glow” at certain times of the day when the sunlight filters in. It’s very nice on the outside too, but we didn’t go in. It seemed so crowded and we decided to get back to it and never quite made it.
That day, with a deliberate intention of getting lost, we wandered Venice for hours, often dodging the people plagued areas to walk around some of the quieter places. We had a little dip into some art culture to a Dali exhibition, a lot of sculptures and earlier sketchings were on display. Dali was quite an interesting artist, but he did seem quite into himself. I like some, but not all of the symbolism he used.
This is not a Dali sculpture…it is a door buzzer 🙂
Even without stepping into an art gallery, Venice is pretty enough on it’s own. The walkways and colours of the buildings make it a lovely city. There is a bit of rubbih in places, but Venice is packed to the brim with tourists, so I can’t be surprsed.
The little city has many charms, I am sure I could go on and on. It’s very refreshing to not have to dodge cars and wait at lights. Although, I am finding chain smoking Europeans are not my thing. One lady seemed affronted when she caught me wrinkling my nose (she had been chain smoking in her shop – I walked right into it) . ..”hey lady, we smoke, ok, we don’t do drugs.. or alcohol…we smoke!” she berated me as I looked at her, a little shocked. I personally don’t care if you smoke or not, but it’s not my fault the smell annoys me! It’s such a contrast to Peru, where is seemed hardly any of the locals smoked.
The second day, we had slightly more of a plan. With a disgustingly early departure time sceduled for our train to Paris on our third day, we didn’t really have a lot of time in Venice. The morning we spent on the little island of Murano, watching a glass blowing demonstration and checking out the artisan shops.We didn’t purchase any murano merchandise, it won’t travel well I imagine.Â Greg picked up a stray bead off the ground – so we have one glass memento.
Other then a gondolor, water bus is the local transport , it’s quite a funny experience as your departure platform is a floating pontoon type thing! Bizarre, but maybe they need all the space they can get on the walkways to sell more crazy Venetian masks… it’s not clear! We had coffee in a cute little cafe, that looked like it would do a great lunch as well. But, we had plans, thanks to the pocket guide Lonely Planet, which was initially purchased just for a slightly better map! Hitting up a sequence of recomendations, Greg and I had some serious food pleasure that day. I have plans to fill you up with details on that separately, as talking about food can take up half my posts.
Wandering around, I really liked finding the antique stores – I got a pair of pink earrings that I quite like 🙂 There was a crazy bookstore filled to the brim, it had a lot of vintage prints and posters for sale. The black cat series featured heavily and is one of my favourites, but I was more interested in the actual cats of Venice. Animals are everywhere so far in Europe, dogs mainly – which is great, they are mostly well behaved and allowed to sit with their owners at resturants and take the train or ferry as well. Venice, was all about the cats for me, they would watch you lazily from the windowsills and from underneath chairs. There seemed to be a little cat orphanage sleeping section in one courtyard area we visited.
Pictured above is some of the shop window glory! I saw a necklace with beads so large, the only person I know who could pull it off would be Lucy C…that shop was pretty, but so expensive! Wandering through all the little shops was great fun, they had some serious bakeries along the way, with giant pistachio cookies and huge bits of chocolate sitting in the windows! The higher end mask stores were my favourite though, in all shapes and sizes. The shops were most often sorted by colour and totally satisfied my magpie tendencies!
The final morning in Venice, we experienced a small earth tremor! As we woke up at around 4am local time, I accused Greg of shaking his feet and disrupting the five minutes of extra sleep I was going to get…but it was whole bed rocking! The light fittings shook and a small rumble accompanied the shakng. It only lasted a minute or two. After it was established the sky was not falling, we trudged through Venice in the pre-dawn, wheeling our suitcases along the cobblestones. It was time to take the train to Paris.
In the paper today they reported a quake in Italy.
crazy! that would have scared me a bit if i woke up to that! but its funny that you accused greg! poor greg, gets blamed for everything 😛