Having studied Greek and Roman Ancient History in University, you’d think that I would have made it a point to visit some of the places I’ve studied. As it’s happened, though, I have not yet had the opportunity to accomplish this. I HAVE, however, had the absolute pleasure of visiting one of Europe’s most unique cities: Venice. Rich in history in it’s own right, Venice is as untouched by modernity as is imaginable in today’s Europe.
Venice has long dominated the top of my “Where To Go” list, and for me, it did not disappoint. I have heard accounts of other travellers’ disappointment with Venice: it’s too hot, it stinks, it floods, it’s too busy, too expensive.
Through a wondrous coincidence of timing and good weather, however, I had none of these negative experiences. It was April – warm but not so hot that it was inescapable nor the cause of the famous canal stink. Also, it was late enough in the Spring, that any residual winter flooding had dried up.
As for being too expensive, well that IS inescapable. My travel partner and I remedied that my buying cheese and crackers from a grocery store as often as we could stand, and we stayed away from the Grand Canal as much as possible (that’s the really touristy area – not that any part of Venice isn’t touristy!).
The best part about Venice was getting lost. On purpose.
Getting lost, you see the people who actually live there, and it’s an odd lifestyle that doesn’t fit into our westernized, modern idea of everyday life. Laundry lines stretch across canals three stories up, front doors with no doorstep – just boat access, and you can be in a completely deserted, silent alley and turn the corner only to be bowled over by a huge crowd. Surreal.
The population of Venice is predominantly Roman Catholic, and as a result, my travel partner and I kept getting asked by locals we spoke with, “How long have you two been married?” Awkward “umm”s and “ahh”s followed each time. Apparently a young man and woman travelling together MUST be married – or at least engaged. Super old school!
Our only unpleasant experience was getting kicked out of a restaurant because we didn’t order drinks with our dinner… but I’m sure that was unique to that one restaurant!
I was truly entranced with the whole place and I would go back there in a heartbeat! Also, gelato!