Thursday, June 2, 2011

Doing Venetian Stuff: Part Two

Home Sweet Apartment

Rather than staying at a hotel for the week -- and really I think there are only a handful of hotels in Venice anyway -- we stayed in a two bedroom apartment. Me, Devin, his parents, his sister Meghan and her boyfriend Dave. Yes all 6 of us snuggly stowed away.

Even though the apartment building, and all the buildings in Venice, are about a million years old and look it... the inside of the apartment was modern and had everything we needed. Including an army of friendly Italian ants. They were all, "Ciao! We justa wanna eata your crumbs. Prego!"

The whole look of the place reminded me of every friend's apartment in the first three years after college. In a good way.

The balcony off the kitchen overlooked one of the smaller canals.

This was nice, most of the time, but in the morning it was sort of like being plunked next to a major highway. Or shipyard. There were loud boats, and loud voices, and loud clanging construction noises. This was a nice dose of cultural immersion, though less than ideal for a group of people attempting to sleep as best they could with a huge time difference.

But the apartment had a working shower and cute tiny tea cups, so I can't really complain.

Over Two Bridges, Then Take A Right

All of the wedding guests received a giant packet about Venice that included maps, directions and assorted tips. One such tip was, "You will get lost. A lot." This didn't worry me as I figured I couldn't get too lost, and even if I did, I was bound to encounter one of the other 90 wedding guests eventually, and hopefully they'd be able to save me.

And of course we did get lost. A lot. Sometimes in the rain (because I'd managed not to carry with me the umbrella I bought and packed especially for this trip). Sometimes at night, while fighting with one another and eating pizza. Sometimes we stumbled upon something new and interesting. Often we passed the same exact thing 6 times in 20 minutes and realized we were really screwed.

But if you're reading this and wondering, "What? Are you too proud to stop and ask for directions?" Allow me to clarify.

Within the very first few hours of arriving in Venice I asked for directions to a pay phone (side note: being without a cellphone is more horrendous than you'd even imagine). I was told by the man behind the counter of a little shop, "It's over two bridges, then take a right." Everyone in Venice speaks near perfect English, btw. Since, at that moment, we were trying to meet up with the landlord of the apartment, we didn't want to wander too far so I didn't follow his directions. But as I came to be more familiar with the lay of the land over the next few days, I realized that had I actually gone two bridges and taken a right, I wouldn't have found a payphone.

Hmmph. Interesting.

In a separate conversation, Meghan explained her and Dave's experience of being lost and asking for directions and she was told by the Venetian she asked for help, "Go over two bridges, then take a right." They followed the directions, which didn't place them anywhere specifically more helpful, but they eventually found their way home.

I was getting to be suspicious about the reliability of these locals.

Then, when walking with Devin's mom to find a grocery store, we spotted a woman carrying a plastic bag from the precise store we were trying to locate. I suggested we just keep looking on our own, but Kathy thought there was no harm in asking. I waited a few feet away as she went up to ask the woman with the bag. When she came back and announced, "She said it's over two bridges, then we take a right," I was not the least bit surprised.

"I don't think that's going to get us anywhere."

We tried anyway. No grocery store. Only resentment.

So here's my tip for you, should you find yourself in Venice in future travels: Don't ask for directions.


Our first day trip was to the island of Murano, which is part of Venice and only a quick boat ride away. This is where they make all of the Venetian glass doodads to fill the hundreds and hundreds of glass shops in Murano and Venice. We even got to see a demonstration of a glass blower making a little horse. The demo and the product were cool, but the guy himself was the main attraction. Smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer, picking his nose. This guy has it all figured out.

Afterwards, we wandered around (Venice is for wanderers), checking out the island, which somehow looked more like a fishing town than the main island.

Then we had some lunch to kill time (Venice is for eating... and time killing) and made our way back by Vaparetto (water bus), which is the main form of public transportation in Venice. See how I picked up some local lingo?

No comments:

Post a Comment