March 15, 2006

get lost

Venice isn't for solo travelers. Yes its beautiful - every building, every stone, everything about it is old and part of the experience. Its almost overwhelming. Yet it's also a lot like Disneyland. For the most part Venice seems to be a living museum like Colonial Williamsburg, rather than a living and working city with people living normal daily lives here. You can't go more than 10 feet without running into someone with a guidemap trying to figure out where they are or with their nose in a guidebook. And I heard more American accents here than I did Italian. Not that I'm not one of them, too - but this is definitely a town of tourists.

Nonetheless, it is a beautiful place. I took a Vaporetto (the equivalent of a bus or metro, but since all roads here are filled with water, its a boat!) from my hotel down the Grand Canal to St Mark's Square, and from there just wandered without any plan. Everything I had read said there's no way to be in Venice without getting lost, and that's pretty much true. Away from the canals, Venice is a maze of small alleys that your mother told you never to walk down alone. But there I went, wandering and figuring I'd stop in cafes hopefully having "cicchetti" - basically an Italian version of happy hour - with small dishes of various foods. With my love of Tapas, that sounded perfect to me. Unfortunately most of the bars I wandered into had cicchetti of potato chips or snack mixes. I eventually stopped in a restaurant for a pizze of brie and speck (somewhere between ham and bacon). I wandered on home, alternately enjoying being lost and being annoyed by it, especially when I found myself next to the penitentiary. hmmm. (and are you lost if you intend to be lost?)

I think its an experience and a town that's much better shared with others than as time alone. Maybe I'm just plain wearing myself out lately, but after only my two nights here, I'm perfectly happy to move on to Rome.

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