Venezia, Italia (Venice, Italy)
Last night, just before going to bed here at the Venice Hostel, a new roommate showed up. Susan, from Vancouver Island is traveling with her son Miles. We got to talking about home for a bit, quietly in consideration of those trying to sleep, then in walked Bella, a skinny blond 26 year old from San Diego, who dresses like a slut and carries two extra bags for her jewelry and makeup, and who thinks she’s hotter than she is. This chick was the most annoying, self centered and irresponsible person I’ve met. We were all in bed and she came in speaking loudly and all she could do was talk about her jewelry she bought today and complain how she has no money, and brag about how she stayed out all night the three nights before…. Oh my gosh.
Susan, a very reasonable person and I got on just fine, and of course, we made fun of Bella. We had breakfast together with Miles and unfortunately, with Bella as well. It was just so embarrassing. Anyway, we all split up and I got a water bus 24 hour pass and headed for the Piazza San Marco to get started on the day. And a beautiful day it was, but I could tell it was going to be a hot one. I just walked around for a while and then sat for a while and repeated this process. I found that I had more picture opportunities if I just sat still and looked around.
Sometime after noon, I decided I’d like to have a plate of spaghetti. I turned around and sat down at the restaurant I was in front of and had a nice meal and watched people for a while. I then got on my feet and headed off again just wandering the streets. It didn’t matter where, I couldn’t get too lost seeing as I was on an island.
Then, I remembered I had a 24 hour pass for the water buses. Could I just get on a boat and stay on for the grand tour? Let’s find out. I got on the number 2 boat at the Accademia stop and after a couple of stops was able to snag the seat in front on the bow that I had my eye on. It was a comfortable seat with the best view and I put my feet up and leaned back and enjoyed the ride. Just spectacular. It was a blue sky sunny day which was lighting the buildings of Venezia perfectly.
Once we got all the way through the Grand Canal, we made our way to the Tronchetto parking garage and then started the route all over again, so I just stayed put where I was, on the best seat in the house. Occasionally, I’d get a little splash of water in the face and a whiff of diesel in the air. The seas were five feet with some whitecaps so the boat was rocking sideways and up and down, and the skipper gave us an exhilarating ride, only bumping into other boats and things a few times; it was a tough boat. It was a grand tour through the Grand Canal in a grand fashion.
To be totally honest, I wasn’t that excited about coming to Venezia, I wasn’t dreading it either but… you get the idea. I just couldn’t come all this way though and not see Venezia and most of you probably would not have let me live that down. Well, I am truly glad that I came to this amazing city. Beautiful colored buildings in various states of disrepair, and repaired concrete and brick patchwork, the Piazza with the clock tower, the Doge’s palace and Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the canals and gondolas and other boats, the proud locals strutting their stuff, and it goes on and on.
Apparently, Venezia is losing about 1000 residents each year because it’s too expensive to continue living here; that’s a shame. If you ever get a chance to visit, please do, you’ll thank yourself. It’s the kind of place where every corner you walk around is a whole new world of postcard scenes.
I have been really good at putting on sun block every day and well, today I just plain forgot. I got back to the hostel late in the afternoon and laid down to have a little nap because I planned to go back to the Piazza later in the evening to have a drink and listen to the bands. Even in the dark, I was red and I was feeling it. It’s not pleasant.
After my nap, I got up and had some lasagna downstairs. It really wasn’t that great. So far, in Italy, I’m not impressed with the food. The pizza at home is way better and I make better spaghetti than any I’ve had here. I sure hope this trend changes.
Susan and Miles and I hopped the ferry to San Marco; we managed to ditch Bella. Most of the cruise ship tourists and day-trippers had left and we walked around the Piazza for a bit admiring the architecture. It takes on a whole other look at night and in some places we could see more detail than we did in the daylight.
At various places around the Piazza, bands consisting of a piano, clarinet, accordion, string bass and a violin or two are playing. Chairs and tables are set up outside for us to rest our feet and order very expensive drinks and listen to the bands. Have you ever had a $12 glass of coka cola? Well I have. The music was cheesy, the drinks were expensive, the atmosphere was great. It was fun. We headed back across the canal around midnight and then had a leisurely walk back to the hostel.
We settled in and were all tucked in as was our new roommate and then….. BELLA WALKED IN! “I can’t believe I’ve just broken a third pair of shoes” she says loudly as she throws her stuff around. I looked at her and shushed her and she got the strangest look on her face. I don’t know if she’s ever been shushed before. But she did shush and I went to sleep thinking of how we had the best vantage point right on the biggest canal and we could see cruise ships go by and tall ships and car and passenger ferries and the little water buses and all sorts of other watercraft and we had a great view of Venezia.