A day in Venice

Trip Start Jul 25, 2007
Trip End Sep 01, 2007

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Flag of Italy  ,
Friday, August 24, 2007

After a nights sleep in our cozy cabin, we returned across the Lagoon to spend the day in Venice. Much of the day we spent lost and confused - this being the main pastime for tourists in this maze of a city. You rarely walk more than a few paces without coming to a junction or bridge - thankfully helpful venetians appear to have put up marker pen signs or directions spray painted on the wall to help the bewildered. We follewed some of these to San Marco, Venice's famous square, which is beautiful and thronged with tourists and pigeons alike. A few quick photos were all we could cope with before we retreated to the quieter streets for lunch, ice-cream and Sprizze, the bright orange drink that is Tess's new favourite. Venice is a great city for wandering randomly - as that's what you'll end up doing whether you intend to or not. Eventually we found a nice-seeming restaurant for dinner and settled in for some classy pasta. We ordered lagoon prawns followed by fettucine with mediterranean crab. However the waiter disagreed and brought ham followed by macceroni with scampi. The first was taken away without fuss, but on complaining about the second he attempted to persuade us that this dish was in fact what we had ordered, that the stubby round pasta was fettucine, and that crab was Italian for scampi. This was neither the first or last example of arrogant and insulting service we had in Italy, but certainly the worst. Luckily, a conversation with the manager meant we had one of the courses removed from the bill, and hopefully the rude and incompetent man removed from the staff. The food, when we eventually got it, was delicious.

All this excitement resulted in us once again making the grave error of missing the 10.30 boat back to the mainland. For a major city, Venice is insanely hard to get public transport in after this early hour. After around an hour of wandering around looking for one of the taxi boats we'd seen earlier (past numerous confused and fed up looking couples similarly upset that they were marooned in a big city before the pubs have even closed at home), we found the only taxi boat guy still working. 'Fusina?', we enquire, that being the place a mere 10 minutes ride across the lagoon where we were staying. '150', he replies. 'Euros?', I ask incredulously. 'Si'. We laugh heartily and walk away, eventually finding a night boat to the station and a more reasonable wheeled taxi to get us home around 3 hours after we set off.

Venice - beautiful city but chaotic, confusing and frustrating. We left with somewhat mixed feelings about this living museum piece, more historical theme park than functional city. Still definately a place worth seeing though, and like nowhere else on earth...
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