August 27th 2010
Not quite what I thought it would be. I had previously imagined the only way to get around was on gondolas and if you walked outside the door, you’d fall right into the water. But in reality, Venice is made out of pedestrian walkways, with canals running through it. Just pretend it’s like any other city but instead of roads with cars, you have canals with boats (to transport things).
The bus from Ljubljana took me to Mestre, just outside Venice. After finally acquiring a bus ticket (Why don’t they set up ticket booths next to a bus stop? Why do we have to go around asking coffee shops if they sold bus tickets? And why do coffee shops have no idea where I can get bus tickets if they didn’t sell it themselves? And why do some locals have no clue that the bus driver himself sold tickets? And why did the bus driver try to lie to me that he didn’t sell tickets, only to be called out by a local, and only then did he admit he had tickets?), I arrived at the Venice main bus station. Got checked in to my hostel (check in at main office, then they send you walking 10-15 mins to your actual rooms), then went to walk around.
Venice has a ton of alleyways and mini-alleyways. It’s very easy to get lost. At least they have signs telling you which alleyway to take if you want to get to certain main attractions. And every shop in Venice is catered for tourists. I wonder where all the locals live and if Venice is anything more than a tourist-town. I noticed a lot of Asian women with non-Asian men (nothing against interracial dating but Venice seemed to have quite a lot). Also noticed a lot of Asian people (mostly women) working in Venice shops. Is it trendy to work/live in Venice or something?
After walking around the city, getting lost, finding my way again, hanging out at Per San Marco and people-watching, I decided to eat at an Italian restaurant near my hostel. A bunch of people eating in there, good sign. I walk in, order a plate of pasta for €7.50, which in hindsight, was a bad choice. Why is it a bad choice? Because I am ‘Doctor Pasta’. I may not make world-class pasta, but I’ve made pasta enough times to know when I’m overpaying for what is essentially a very cheap meal to make yourself. But I had a huge craving for pasta (I believe I last had it in Norway), and figured, hell, I’m in Italy. Of course, the restaurant charges an additional €2.50 cover charge on top of the meal (common practice in Italy I learned). If I bought my own ingredients, cooked it myself, €10 would make 4-5 meals. But the pasta was good, and I’m sure I paid to eat some secret ingredients (riiiiiiiight…). If I had a do-over, I’d order a meal I couldn’t make myself (basically anything other than pasta).
Of course, I have to mention gondola rides. Overpriced tourist trap. Expect to pay €80-100 per person. If you try to get a discount, I’ve heard the gondola drivers will cut out the good spots. Also, there’s nothing romantic about it from what I’ve seen. How could it be romantic when you have a ton of other tourists on every bridge and sidewalk, staring and taking pictures of you as you pass by?
My feet are killing me. The trailrunners I bought in the UK were USA size 10, when I really wear 10.5. The guy at the store recommended I get 10 because he thought it was a better fit for me. But he failed to realize (how could he forget, he sells shoes) that feet expand. So often times, my toes (left pinky toe and its neighbor) would be squished, causing a lot of discomfort. I’m constantly on the lookout for backpacker stores to get another pair of shoes and ship this pair home. But you can’t really google “backpacker store ” because those foreign cities don’t make English websites, they make foreign websites, so you’ll have to google it in foreign words, which I don’t know.