After a couple days in Venice (my second time here), I once again have to say that any guidebook or person who tells you Venice isn’t worth visiting is nuts. Yes, it’s overcrowded with tourists. Yes, sometimes it smells bad. But it’s such a unique city with so much character and history – how could you not love it?
We lucked out again with our hotel, staying at the Locanda Orseolo, where the staff may be literally the nicest people on earth. My mom and I immediately developed a shared crush on Francesco, the sexy and charming front desk guy. Sadly, I was so dizzy with lust every time I was around him, I neglected to get a photo of him. But trust me, he’ll live on in my and my mother’s memories.
We did some obligatory sightseeing, wandering down narrow allies and across winding canals. We saw San Marco’s cathedral and square, where tourists and pigeons flock in seemingly equal numbers. We also saw the bridge of sighs, which was once used to transport prisoners between the courthouse and the jail. And of course, no trip to Venice is complete without a trip to the Rialto bridge.
But in truth, sightseeing took a back seat to the shopping bug we both caught as we saw shop after shop of gorgeous Venetian glass products. We spent hours visiting different shops to find the perfect purchases, though of course most of what we saw was way out of our budget.
Before we arrived, my mom had been reading up about La Fenice, Venice’s gorgeous opera house. We lucked out and managed to get tickets to see La Traviata. The inside of the opera house was beautiful, and the show was fantastic. The only down side was that it was in Italian, so our understanding of the story line was limited, as evidenced by the fact that we accidentally left early. Yes, you read that right. Apparently La Traviata has two intermissions, but at the end of the second there was so much applause, we thought it was the end, so we left. We felt a bit foolish when we realized it later, but enjoyed what we saw, and were glad to have beat the rush for dinner at the restaurant in front of the theater.
As always, I had my eyes peeled in Venice for the unusual and unexpected. It turns out the incident in Florence of the man in the lavender pants has become a trend, with sightings in Venice of men in lime green and coral pants (note that I didn’t realize until later that I’d captured the latter in a semi-compromising position).
Another more shocking sight was when we spotted a 20-something guy dive into the grand canal for a swim. Given the amount of garbage and raw sewage in the canal, I’d be amazed if he made it out without contracting something unpleasant. Blech!
More photos at http://babas.typepad.com/photos/my_gap_year_4/index.html.