Dated – September, 2011
All I have for Venice are photographs. Beautiful ones. Surreal ones. It is not a place where you go with friends. It is a place where you go with your loved one. Hold hands. Walk on cobbled roads by the canals. Sit in Gondolas with champagne and music. And then you float into an unbelievably beautiful sunset and think maybe this is what life is all about.
Don’t judge me for writing this. But we thought Venice was ordinary. Too many people. Nothing much to do. It definitely is pretty. But we had seen prettier (Lauterbrunnen, Rhine Valley for starters!). And well, we stay in a city with the sea at the doorstep. Water just about everywhere does not excite us all that much! We had booked a 3 bed mixed dorm at the PlusCamping Jolly. Still can’t decide whether it was a good idea. On the upside, it was extremely cheap (16 Euros per head per night), it had a swimming pool and a pretty relaxed ambiance. On the downside, it was far from the main town. The bus stop was a good 15-20 minutes walk and the bus took another 30 minutes to get there. Not a great idea when you are lugging a lot of luggage. Like we were! It was also not even remotely as good as the other hostels we had stayed in. At the end of the day, it served our purposes well. There was no big agenda for Venice. Only Italian food was on the cards. Which we obsessively did justice to. 🙂 But if you are going to this city, plan your stay in one of the hostels near the city. The camping sites are not that great.
As you travel through Europe, you will end up hearing so much about Italian food! We had heard so much that we just couldn’t wait to order a pizza! I think even before we made it to Venice, we started eating. 😀 We were walking towards the bus stop on the first day, when we saw a very orange coloured deserted place. Hunger won over patience to endure the bus ride to Venice and we ate lunch there. A big pizza and ofcourse, a cup of latte. When in Italy, coffee menu is a must! You’ll find a cuppa in every nook and corner, every bar and restaurant. Italy was like Disneyland for me. I think I was born with a coffee fetish. Ma used to put a sprinkling of coffee in milk, to convince me to drink it. That still was just milk. But well, my IQ was as high as my age. I was convinced easy. 😛
Now to talk about the high point of Italy. Only for the eyes of women and gay men. What hot men! From Chennai to Italy, I can’t even call it a cultural shock. Our jaws literally hit the floor! And I am not talking about men in posh restaurants and bars. I am talking about everyone. The bus driver. The water taxi driver. The gondola rowers. The policemen. The good places are obviously replete with hotness. You wouldn’t know which way to look! 😀 Perfectly dressed. Easy smiles. I think there were quite a few times when S and I couldn’t have a conversation with Robin for more than a minute. We would just falter off and make googly eyes at strangers. I make us sound very bad I think. We are generally very well behaved. But Italy, sigh!
Apart from all the leching and eating, we did see a couple of places in Venice. The first day was strictly spent eating and drinking. I remember nothing else from that day. The second day was spent in and around St. Mark’s Square. There are way too many people and pigeons there! St. Mark’s Basilica was beautiful. European churches have such an old world charm to them. Stepping into the church from the bustling square was like stepping into another world altogether. A warm hue, so many candles, ornate walls and a peaceful all consuming aura. Exposing legs and hands here is not a very good idea. I had to drape a very big orange piece of cloth to look more appropriate. 😛 We spent a lot of time just sitting by the sea quietly. The past two weeks had drained us, but they had also been the best two weeks we have ever spent! We also went to this museum where huge pictures were made out of eggs. Just can’t remember the name of the place. And ofcourse, the sunset from Rialto bridge. I had to struggle to get a shot from there, it was that crowded!
I went to Venice with friends. Very dear ones. We didn’t go on Gondolas because they were expensive. We missed the toga party (a party where people wore white bed sheets and thought they looked like ancient Greeks! Imagine that!) because we were so tired, we preferred sleep over a party! We mostly frowned in pics. Friends are like that. We can choose to be at our worst, and still know that they will be around sharing the space and the frowns. 🙂 That sunset at Rialto bridge in Venice is probably the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. We were not drinking champagne in gondolas, but maybe this still is what life is all about. 🙂
Next was Rome. Our last stop for the Euro Trip.