Venice – The City of Love

Florence.

You are cool.

It was nice visiting you and hanging out after getting to know Rome a bit.

I mean, Rome… She is a lot of fun too, and we sure had a good time hanging out and seeing all the epic-ness that she has to offer, but at the same time, we really enjoyed just kicking back and relaxing with you.

I think we will keep in touch, and I’ll send you a postcard every now and then.

But…

As they say, all good things must come to an end, or at least be put on hold.

Today, we have to go meet a mutual friend of ours, Venice.

From what I hear, she is very cute and pretty romantic, so I am just going to warn you, that the affection we have between each other might be taken by her.

I hope we can still be friends, though.

You’re still welcome to have us stay with you if you like?

ILY Florence, talk l8r.

With our sentiments to Florence out of the way, we got our day underway.

We gathered our gear, said goodbye to the very un-talkative Russian room mate (who we were slowly chipping away at), and made our way to the bus station. Being that we weren’t leaving for a while, we decided that we would head to a nearby park and read our books, and none other than more cheese and wine.

To Venice-1

This is what it is about.

We laid on the grass, read and chatted and read more, and ate more, then drank wine, cos Bec is a thinking girl, and went and got wine to drink with our foods, cos a not-piece-of-crap wine is only like 3 euro. In (my standards for) record time, I finish my book on negotiation, and because Bec has been rambling on about how good this novel, “Caught in the Light” is, I decide that I will pick that up.

If I finish the book, this will be the first novel that I would have ever read from start to finish.

I chow through the first chapter, and it is pretty saucy. The guy has a fling with this girl in Vienna and ends up leaving his mrs and everything. This is an odd book for Bec to read, even more for her to get hooked on, so I ask her “Is it like this the whole way through?”
Having finished the book, she just looks at me with a cheeky look of hindsight, “Nah. You’ll like it. Just read.” So that is what I did. The first chapter was nothing amazing, and as most big reads, the first chapter is more to  set the rest of the book up than anything else.

But, this accompanied with my lovely lady, wine, cheese chilling on the grass under the shade of the trees, this, truly is the ideal way to spend an early afternoon.

Soon enough, the time to board the bus arrives, and we make our way to the station.

To Venice-2

We pile onto the bus, and I get stuck into blogging. Flixbus, is now our bus of choice. We know that the seats are comfy, there is pretty good wifi, and we know we are going to get a pretty decent trip. Plus, it is green so Bec is happy about that. If this is your first time reading, you’ll understand soon that Bec loves pretty much anything green. She says that its a happy colour, and I kinda have to agree.

It is a fairly decent drive, and half way through, we pull into this little highway stop, and the drive makes us all get off so that he can have a rest. We’ve caught a few busses now, and this is the first time that we have seen it, but it gives me a reason to stop blogging for a bit and get back to reading, so that is what I do. I pick up the book, and in half an hour, I chow through another chapter. I am surprised with myself to be honest. I’m not a crazy big reader, but I have been getting more and more accustomed to reading on this trip, so this is a welcome change for me.

To Venice-3

We pile back on, and I get back to blogging. A few hours later, we arrive at none other than the lovely Venice.

I pack away the computer and take in what I can of the surrounds. The part of Venice that is actually on the water isn’t all of Venice. In fact, it is only a very small portion. The rest of the area that falls under “Venice” is on the mainland, and this is where the bus arrived.

We collect our gear, and with the sun lighting the sky with a gorgeously faint pink glow over the horizon, we make our way over the bridge from the mainland, into the internationally famous city on the water. This place really is as captivating as you imagine it to be. We followed a few of the fellow passengers, and tried to keep up with this Asian couple, but despite them having packs that nearly looked heavier than ours, we had no hope of keeping up with them. They just gave us a quality spanking.

We hit a few of the turns, and then to our left, we spy an opening, leading down to one of the canals. “Becka! Look!”, pointing at the boats passing, pushing the water to kiss the edge of the boardwalk. Her eyes widen, smile broadens, and we head down to see with our own eyes what we have until this point, just seen on the internet and postcards. We walk along the bank, and it’s our first glimpse of what is to be our temporary home for the next few days.

To Venice-4

We continue over the bridge, and then we get our first real view of the city on the water. The boats drifting along the rippling surface, the houses, with their doors opening straight onto the canal’s edge. Not a car, motorbike, or pushbike in sight, just the chatter of the people passing and the putter of the outboards below us.

It hasn’t sunk in yet, and I don’t know if it will for a while.

We are finally here, and already you feel that much more relaxed.

We head to the main bridge, and cross over to the side that our accommodation is on. This bridge is one of the really tall and spans one of the biggest canals in Venice, so allow the water traffic to pass below. But, the perk of this, is that it gives us a stunning view down the canal. The boats docked at people’s houses like you would park a car. The ferry putters along, and the big timber poles protrude the water, dressed almost in the same fashion of the revolving red and white barber columns.

To Venice-5

We follow what we hope is the right way to our accommodation for our time in Venice, which leads us down this narrow walk way between two buildings. The walkway every so slowly creeps tighter and tighter until you reach the end of the path. Once on the other side, you have no option, but to turn left, which opens into a more used, and much broader “street” (for lack of a better term).

We reach the reception, and we are about half an hour past their closing time. Being that our phone doesn’t have any credit, I take a photo of the number with my camera, and run around to a few restaurants to see if anyone is kind enough to allow us to use their phone to call the bloke to check in. None of the locals wanted a bar of it. Fortunately, however, a asian lady was kind enough to dial the number on her personal mobile.

To Venice-6

10 minutes later, this bloke rocks up, dressed as suave as any man could.

Italian men’s fashion really is as good as it gets.

We get our keys, check in, and walk a block or two to where we actually are staying. The room is pretty tiny, and we share a bathroom with 4 other rooms, most of which aren’t occupied. But, the cool thing is that we have windows that open out onto a stunning view of the canal below us. The only issue is to be mindful of misquotes. Plus, the fact that it was stupidly cheap, this place is where it is at.

We ask the guy where we should go for dinner, and tells us that we should pretty much just head past the place where we checked in, and there is a really nice, but cheap restaurant just over the canal.

We drop our stuff and head straight there.

To Venice-8

It is well and truly dusk by the time we arrive, and the lack of water traffic is giving the surface of the water a beautiful glass-like reflection. I set up my tripod and get clicking. The evening blue glow of the sun having just passed the horizon seeps over the rooftops, while the streetlights burst into a star-like effect with the long exposure. It is as calming, as it is stunning. I don’t want to be the guy who says “You HAVE to go to this place”, but I would strongly recommend that you make your best effort to reach Venice at some point in your life.

To Venice-9

We sit at the restaurant, and our waiter seems to be pretty new at this whole hospitality game, so we try to be as liberal as we can with our expectations. We did the maths and worked out that it was more expensive to buy a bottle of wine, than to go by the glass, so that is what we did. We figured that since we haven’t been making a habit of dining out, that we will actually enjoy this one. We can’t come to Venice, and not try some of the Venetian food. So starters is a variety of the local foods. Mains, we choose two different pastas, as you can’t come to Italy and not eat pasta, and have haven’t been eating our fair share of traditional Italian pasta.

To Venice-11

We spend the next hour or more doing what we love to do most, which is just relax, chat, laugh and ponder the things of life. We don’t rush it, and we try to make the most of our night out. We ended up ordering entrees, 4 glasses of wine, a sparkling wine each and mains. The total?

To Venice-12

39 Euro.

Everyone told us that Venice was crazy stupid expensive. So far, it hasn’t been too bad. Our accommodation was 35 euro a night, and the food doesn’t seem too mental just yet. The young bloke brings the bill out, and I give him my card. He chuck the card in, and asks me “How much?”
Assuming that he has forgotten what the bill came to, say “Oh. 39 euro.”
“Ok”, he replies.
The card declines. It was an AMEX, so its a bit hit and miss with which places accept it anyway.
“Lets try this one”, and hand him the Visa.
“How much?”, he asks me again.
I am thinking that this kid is a goldfish, so I just say to him “Ahh, just 39 euro…”
He hands me the machine, and as I am punching in the numbers, I realise that he wasn’t wondering how much the bill was. He wanted to know how much of a tip we wanted to leave. By this point, it was too late, and I was hovering my thumb over the green button. I looked to Bec, and I could tell that the penny only just dropped for her too.

To Venice-10

Being that we have both worked in hospitality (Bec, much, much more than I have), we feel the need to tip when tipping is due. There were a few times throughout the evening when we had ordered drinks and the guy just seemed to forget about the order only moments after the request. So, we didn’t feel bad about it, just a little awkward.

We thank the guys, and make our way out.

To Venice-13

We head out for a night wander and grab a kinder surprise flavoured gelato. Actually 10/10, and make our way home for the nights rest.

Venice has stolen our hearts, and it is as gorgeous as you think it should be.

Come back for the next story,

Billy

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