The second part of my vacation, I took a quick trip to Venice where I met Kelly, a friend from when I studied abroad. Yes, this trip was perhaps not practical in light of my budget. In my defense, it was planned under the assumption that I would be paid on time, instead of still waiting for that ever-illusive paycheck. Some trips, like my time in Oxford, are blessed through perfection: perfect weather, food, company, etc. Other trips, like my trip to Venice, remain in memory for having been wonderful in spite of a multitude of imperfections.
“Reasons I should have hated Venice: ”
– They say that Venice is sinking into the ocean. This is probably true, but it is also being reclaimed by water from the other direction. I think all the rain that usually is in England went to Italy just for my time there. Day one it drizzled all day (not too bad, just enough to slowly sink in and leave a chill in your bones) but then that night, it POURED. Furthermore, the rainfall coincided with my losing the umbrella, and getting lost, thus Kelly and I spent a good 45 minutes wandering in dark, wet, cold, streets that all seemed to dead end in canals with no bridges. Day two, cold again. Kelly and I both wore every single shirt we had packed, as our coats were drying out from the previous night’s dash through the rain.
– Venetian food is not very good, contrary to my cherished American belief that when you stop off the plane into Italy, everything you eat is perfect.
– Everything in Venice is expensive, and for me to state that coming from Paris is a big thing. In Paris, at least gardens and churches are free. For those of us not greatly endowed with funds at the moment, this should make being a tourist frustrating.
But I didn’t hate Venice, couldn’t hate Venice. Even though I logically knew that I was freezing, developing a cold, not getting the expected cuisine, and not being able to afford lots of things to do, my heart just kept on exploding with joy at being in this perfectly and ethereally beautiful city. Kelly and I adapted to each situation with laughs. There were about 30 minutes of pure agony with the cold and wet, but after that it became funny as we were wearing more (and slightly odd) layers, and blow drying all of our clothes in the mornings and before dinner each night to dry them out. After aptly assessing it wasn’t worth much to eat at over priced Venetian restaurants, we developed an intense affection for a little bakery near our hostel and. We also ate pizza for almost all of our meals. The final night we split a family size pizza that was pretty cheap, and about the size of a tire. No person in a fancy restaurant could have enjoyed a dinner more than we enjoyed our pizza in our hostel, eaten in our pjs and newly acquired Venetian masks. Venice may be expensive, but with only two days, Kelly and I just milked all the free stuff, which meant wandering about gaping at the beauty and taking a million pictures. You don’t have to pay a penny to feast your eyes on the delicate bridges, sleek gondolas, and colorful boats. The best part of our trip was going to the little island of Burano where we wandered fascinated by the colorful houses. Instead of a gondola, we used the water shuttle passes we had bought to treat ourselves to a late night boat ride. By this I mean we hoped aboard stop one and rode to the end of the line, the entire length of the Grand Canal, sitting on the back open section in the freezing night air. We followed cats in alleys, ran through pigeons in front of San Marco, watched glass being blown, crossed a million lovely bridges, stumbled on perfect abandoned streets and forgotten churches, and ate gelato strolling down a deserted canal.
Paris is magical, Oxford was lovely and serene. Venice is like an exquisite dream world of bridges rising from green waters, brightly painted houses reached by sleek boats, crisp gondolas gliding silently down narrow corridors, and a atmosphere that makes you forget that anything else exists, even cold wet feet and soggy shoes.