As much as I was looking forward to visiting Venice, my time there started off on a rather sour note. I arrived to the beautiful inner city of Venice after some confusion as to which station at I needed to disembark (apparently when you book a train ticket to Venice, they book it to Venice-the-City and not Venice-THE-City), and was tired, grumpy, and in need of WiFi so I could find a place to stay for the night – a mood that was not helped by the fact that most of the people I had encountered during my first few hours in Venice-the-City were entirely unhelpful and unfriendly. It was early evening by the time I walked out of the train station and down the steps into Venice-THE-City, and I let out a huge sigh of relief as I was hit with a refreshing breeze and a beautiful view of the canal. Funny how just the scent of water reminds me that I need to breathe.
With renewed hope for things to go smoothly from that point on, I set off in search of a restaurant, café…basically anything with a WiFi hotspot so I could sit down with a glass of wine and book my hostel for the evening. Luckily, it didn’t take much searching to find a little restaurant with wine, salad (after days of eating sandwiches, I needed my veggies), and WiFi; but, by the time I had found and booked my hostel, it was already dark and after 10pm, leaving me to search the winding streets of Venice in the dark for the hostel where I was to lay my head for the night. It turns out that the walking directions that I was given to the hostel on the internet were inaccurate, and I was stuck with a dead phone, a dead laptop, and no city map…Murphy’s Law at its best, right? I managed to get enough information out of the girl at the canal bus desk to find out which stop to get off at, despite my inconveniencing her texting/mobile game playing session, and after spending a good hour on the canal bus I was dropped off in the general vicinity of my hostel. At this point, I called my hostel via payphone to get some accurate directions from my current position, and (of course) I wake the guy up (at 11:30pm), and he is totally inept at giving directions. Due to this fact, he tells me that he will meet me at the bridge nearest to my location. I wait around a good 45 minutes (part of which were spent in the rain) before meandering back to the payphone to call him back; of course, at this point he had just arrived, so I grumpily made my way back to the meeting point.
Of course, my evening didn’t end with my past-midnight escort to my hostel – Murphy’s Law, remember? Despite having a credit card machine visible in the entryway, the establishment was cash-only, and after making me have a 5 minute sit in the lobby to “relax” (Relax? Really? I wanted sleep, not relaxation), the same fellow escorted me part-way to the nearest ATM, pointing me in the correct direction while he stopped off at a café for a coffee. When I returned, he made me sit with him an additional 10-15 minutes as he chatted on the telephone, slowly sipped his coffee, and smoked a cigarette. By the time I was able to climb into bed and sleep, it was well after 1 am and I was thoroughly over my time in Venice.
In the renowned words of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day,” and I thankfully woke up on the right side of the bed the following morning. It was an absolutely beautiful day and I was able to spend all of the next day exploring the city streets. The only downside? I would have to carry my bags with me for the majority of the day, because the train station was on the opposite side of the city and if I was going to get myself good and lost wandering the streets over the course of the day, there was no way I was leaving my things behind. Thus, for the better part of the next eight hours, I strolled the streets, took photos, people-watched, and enjoyed gelato – all with the company of my darling backpack.
After what seemed like an endless day, the weight of my backpack finally got the best of me and I made my way back toward the train station to prepare for my departure. The sun had set, and the sound of a cello lured me from my destination to the waterfront. The air was cooler than it had been all day, and I took a seat as close to the canal as I could, resting my back and feet while listening to the sweet melodies of wind, water, and cello intertwining. Despite spending the entire day amongst couples embracing, holding hands, and all of the sickeningly sweet things couples tend to do most when you’re alone, I finally felt the spark that makes Venice such a romantic city and longed to have someone there to share that experience with me. As the cellist finished up a beautiful rendition of “Moon River,” I said my silent goodbye to a city that had given me such a love-hate experience. Beautiful as the city was, it’s definitely a place mean for tourists, lovers, and people who have money and time to spend in it. Due to these facts, my next visit won’t be until far into the future, but it’s definitely going to be worth the second visit when it occurs!