Venice, Italy – Need I say more?
Many places have been compared to Venice. Amsterdam has been called Venice of the North, Udaipur – Venice of the East. Yet, nothing really can compare to Venice itself.
We came by train, S and I. A nice short break from our time in Paris. We had gone through Rome, Florence, Pisa and were finally arriving in Venice. I was looking outside, watching the landscape change. I hardly noticed when the mountains we were going through eventually turned to sky, and sky eventually to water. The next thing I know we are crossing between the sea somehow. Out train suspended over the waters. The train pulled into Venezia Santa Lucia, the central train station. S and I grabbed our backpacks and stepped out.
The first sight of Venice blows your mind. It is like walking into a movie set. Colors and spirals abound. Poles staked deep in the canals. Gondola’s floating by with their gondoliers in their striped shirt. It is almost a cliche, except it can’t be. Because you’re here. In Venice.
The alleyways and streets are small and winding. To be lost here is part of the appeal as S and I found out time and time again. Yet that is the beauty of this place. We walked and walked and ended up in small squares or cute canals. We bought gelatos and sat by the water watching the gondoliers go by. They are regulated, these gondoliers, and the price they had set of 80 Euro’s for an hour’s ride was a little too much for S and I to bear on our college savings. We saved up by buying one Euro pizza slice and eating one for lunch. Perhaps another one for dinner. Sometimes we splurged a little, and I couldn’t help myself to the one Euro delights of true Italian gelato.
Venice is a tourist city. Unfortunately. The city is absolutely stunning, but lacking in its authentic feel. Perhaps most of the locals have left for Murano, the little island close to Venice; famous for its glassmaking. Perhaps they only came in to ply the tourist trade. Everywhere we went, it was tourists, after tourists, after tourists. Getting lost sometimes wasn’t that amazing anymore because you have a few others right down the path squealing in delight at the thought of being lost.
I went to piazza San Marco, hoping to sit in a cafe and watch the world go by. But by then, coffee’s were 14 Euro’s a pop, and my wallet was beginning to sigh at its increasing emptiness.
People may tell you, Venice is sinking. And this is also true. Heavy rains causing floods on Piazza San Marco. So go now, go! before it’s too late.I can tell you of places to go, or things to do in Venice. But the truth is, so can other guide books. What I can tell you for sure, if I went back to Venice now, I would have done exactly the same thing. Bought my cone of gelato and walked around the city getting lost. No guidebooks, no maps. Just keep on walking, and maybe at the end of it, I can now afford the gondolier and his singing for a ride back.