How Not To Let A Trip To Venice Turn To Disaster
What do we all do when planning a vacation? (Let us skip the tickets, hotel and packing part). Imagine these all are set and a day or two are left until the flight. Of course, we need a plan on what to see and where to go. Depending on the tastes, we add restaurants, shopping destinations and attractions to your itinerary.
That was exactly how I was planning my trip to Venice last summer. In the mood for magic and romance, I watched a million of videos of carnival and loving couples sailing in gondolas. I had made a nice plan (as I thought), packed all my fancy dresses and a few pairs of peeps. I thought I would fit the place perfectly. If I only knew how wrong I was!
We arrived in the mainland part of the city late at night. In the morning I woke up in the awesome Quid hotel all happy and feeling a real princess. I picked out my best dress, matching shoes, added some makeup and went down for breakfast prepping for a craft trip to the real Venice. To my disappointment, the weather was dull: windy, no sun, only depressing grey clouds. I tried to cheer myself up about the distance between this part of Venice and the one of my dreams.
Despite the cool weather, I kept smiling and climbed aboard a ferry and took my seat. But when we had just rolled into the Adriatic – it started raining. It was real gulley washer! And when we were half way there, it all turned into a thunderstorm. I had all I needed in my handbag, except for a raincoat and an umbrella. Who would think I would need these in Venice?! Standing on the upper deck all wet, with makeup flowing down my face and wearing the most uncomfortable shoes ever, I noticed my favorite outfit had turned transparent! Everyone was trying to keep their balance and this is why my shame was not noticed. The wind was blowing so hard that the boat almost keeled over. I saw the lightning 20 cm close to the deck. Alas, in half an hour it was all over. The captain was smiling and behaving like nothing happened. As I stepped ashore, I ran into a guy selling plastic macs and got two to keep them in my purse.
The canal part of Venice met us with stuffy air, puddles and thousands of tourists in colorful raincoats. Hawkers made a fortune that day taking 3 euros for each one.
While the rain stopped, I did not want to miss a chance to try gondolas in action. We paid 18 euros each for a seat in a boat for six. As it was Saturday, crowds of tourists were almost fighting for the seats. With one place left in the gondola, a couple was willing to pay extra to take it. Bribing a gondolier is an expensive thing. There are moments when cash will not help. I saw it with my own eyes when a brutal barcarole kicked out a man who was trying to smoke while sailing. His ride ended up on some tiny bridge crossing a canal.
My gondola trip took 20 minutes and then I went wondering along the intricate streets of Venice. There were spots so narrow that I could hardly get through them. The locals laugh at the tourists who get stuck there. They even made special signs “No people over 85 Kg”!
What I adored most was the architecture. The Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, tiny churches and amazing houses. All the buildings were over 500 years old, especially the Casino di Venezia – one of the oldest casinos in the world. I swear I stood there for half an hour trying to scan every detail of molding in my mind. I am not sure if it is one of the 10 Most Expensive Casino Buildings Ever, but it definitely should top the list.
I went shopping for sure. Buying a few masks was on my list, and I got a few at 35 euros each at a pier. Can you imagine how I felt when I found the same masks three blocks away for 5 euros each? If you want good shopping, go deeper, away from the tourist streets. The further you go from the pier – the cheaper all items are. Same story with the restaurants.
My biggest mistake was walking around till after dark. All those statues I liked in the daytime looked too creepy at night. I heard my heart beating faster and faster. People suddenly disappeared, and I felt like a hero of an apocalypse movie. It felt like forever before I could get to San Marco square where everyone gathered to see the ancient clock stricking nine. But as I stepped out of the arch – I heard giggles above my head. I was sure, that it was humans laughing – a disgusting and offensive laughter. One man noticed me being puzzled, and came over to tell me that it was the pigeons. Venetian pigeons can laugh! I checked to be sure the next day, and he was right.
Although I had some stressful moments, I can assure you this place is worth visiting. But do not forget to bring a raincoat, put on sneakers instead of peeps and do not wander too far on your own. Have a safe trip and never stop travelling.
About the author: Alyssa Lightman (29), a writer, a designer, a blogger and a mom of a 3-year old daughter. Together they are discovering the world country by country.