It’s interesting what different people find attractive as far as tourism destinations go. What one person finds remarkable, another might merely shrug at. Sometimes the place isn’t the remarkable fact at all; rather it’s the people you shared it with. Such is the case with my experience in Venice.
To be quite honest, by this time in my trip I was exhausted from having hiked the Cinque Terre and also from hopping on and off trains all of the following day. I saw Venice as a spot to casually explore, rest and regroup before flying off to Germany, and that’s exactly what it was. I was over the touristy bits, sick of the big cities and tired of fighting crowds, so via recommendation from a friend I made in Rome, I booked a two-night stay in a tent at a camp ground outside of Venice. I paid $10 per night while everything near the city central orbited around $100 per night.
I had studied Venice and concluded that there was just one art gallery I starred as a must-see; the rest would be left to casual wandering, which was often the best plan.
When I arrived in the city center, I noticed that rather than leather and jasmine, this city smelt like motor oil and the sea. It was hot and humid and the narrow streets weren’t quite large enough to hold all the visitors pleasantly. The city was beautiful, and I would have loved to just sit and stare at it like a piece of artwork — had it been ten degrees cooler and a third as crowded. Still, I walked the entire length of the Grand Canal. I took lots of pictures and even bought a few souvenirs.
Venice is known for its excellent shopping. Where Florence was high-end designer brands, Venice seemed to be unique boutiques of every kind. I definitely enjoyed the storefronts of Venice much more. Unfortunately, being a backpacker means you run very short on space and even shorter on cash, so I looked and looked and looked but soon decided Venice would be much more enjoyable should I have loved ones with me and money to spend with them on delicious eats, drinks and gifts.
Another fact about Venice is that it is incredibly easy to get lost in. The streets are all wound up around rivers and canals and just when you find a good path going north, you have to walk west, south and east a few blocks before you can continue going north because the road will just stop and turn into wall without warning.
After an hour of walking, I found my art gallery. As it turns out it was closed on Tuesdays and that particular day was a Tuesday. I was a bit disappointed because other than the gallery, every other form of site-seeing or entertainment cost money. I was covered in sweat and my skin was burning from the harsh Venetian sun. My water bottle was running low, and I didn’t know what else to do besides continue to wander and wonder at the things I couldn’t afford. Around this time I decided to walk an hour back to the bus stop so I could return to camp and rest up, out of the sun.
Reach Haley Hoover at firstname.lastname@example.org or view photos with her blog at www.thesparklinghippie.com.