I know now that technically Venice isn’t floating, it’s resting on a bed of petrified wood. But floating sounds much more romantic. And wow. Venice was everything I had hoped it would be.
For a long time now the city of Venice has been a place that completely captured my imagination and I spent a lot of this trip in fear that it would not live up to my expectation. It didn’t. It was beyond what I had hoped for.
I lost myself in the city. On purpose. Everyone says you can’t experience Venice without getting lost in it and I think they’re right. And it’s not like you’re really lost anyway, find yourself a main street and there’ll be a sign pointing to the major landmarks like San Marco Square or Rialto Bridge. I did most of my exploring in the cheaper areas of Venice, across Rialto Bridge away from San Marco Square. The fruit cups were cheaper by a Euro and it was a lot less crowded.
Unlike some cities where the shops and tourist-friendliness ends after a few blocks Venice just rolled on and on. Everywhere I went I found a shop to admire, masks, lace and glass, it was all so beautiful. I could have spent a fortune on masks. Although I was a little disappointed when the man at one of the shops told me I shouldn’t buy one with feathers because it wouldn’t get through Australian customs, but really I did appreciate it. He could have just ripped me off instead and sent me home with a mask that wouldn’t even make it into the country. Another man was kind enough to sell me a souvenir I wanted for 5 Euro instead of 8.
My only disappointment was that our hotel was 20 minutes by train from the lagoon part of Venice and we had to leave early the next morning so it wasn’t feasible to stay and see the city at night. And by the time we got there and had finished our walking tour in the morning I got so distracted wandering aimlessly that I ran out of time and didn’t get to see some of the things I wanted to. When I go back with my family at New Year I want to look inside San Marco Basilica and Doge’s Palace. We did get to go on a gondola ride though, which made me happy. Except for the part where our gondolier pulled out his mobile and started chatting away in Italian. But to his credit he did a fine job of multitasking.
It’s sad to think though, that population of Venice has more than halved in the past ten years or so, due not only to the rising water levels, but also to expensive living costs and the high number of tourists. I can only hope that the people who are lucky enough to visit this amazing city really appreciate it in all its beauty, history and charm, and are not merely ogling at the novelty of a floating city.