When someone recommends a book to me I always make a point of reading it.
Mum had put Tell it to the Skies by Erica James in my bag. She said it’d be a good holiday read. It was! I had finished it 3 days into the trip, and low and behold… It happened to be set in our next destination. Venice.
Reading it had certainly built up expectations of the city as being full of beauty, class, romance, dreams, chance meetings, happiness and old flames relighting. I was ready to be captivated! 🙂
Or maybe not… 😦
Getting there was a total drama…did you expect anything less?! We got so delayed on the train from Vienna that we ended up missing our transfer train from Verona main land. Debating a snooze on the platform until the 6am train, we decided to just get a hotel. Great! An extra nights hotel fee and a whole night/half a day in Venice gone.
The train ride into Venice the next morning was lovely; the weather was warm, and it seemed to brighten our moods watching the Italians cruise along the waves either side of us.
Don’t hold your breath…
As soon as we got off the train….it was chaos! Rosies’ case lost its wheels, which under normal circumstances would have been hilarious, but we had spent two hours in the heat going up and down, and back and forth on the river buses along the Grand Canal trying to find our hotel.
We had even seen a willy!
Explanation: A man stood in the same queue as us for the Vaporetti (water bus), with a little too much on display. We thought maybe he had just forgot to zip up…oh we were too innocent…the next time he turned around, his whole ‘ahem’ was out!! EVERYTHING! In public! We could not stop laughing. Then it dawned on me. He knew! This wasnt turning out to be the romantic place my book had made it out to be! Annoyed, I scolded him with my harshest stare. After all…How dare he scar lovely, romantic, dreamy Venice.
We had walked over and across bridges that seemed to sprout from nowhere and with no chance of calling a taxi we were literally ready to give up on life…Dramatic I know, but we were in Venice.
Then I saw a Gelateria serving Bacio Gelato! 😀 ALAS! WE WILL NOT SINK!
Rome was where I had started my addiction to Bacio Gelato. A Ferro Roche flavoured icecream that I literally cannot get enough of when in Italy and have to make my friends try it. No choice in the matter 🙂
Minds and moods cooled….Rosie phoned the hotel owner, who confirmed that our bus port was in fact closed for the day (no wonder we were so confused!), and gave us directions, which involved more bridges and case lugging! But we got there.
The room was gorgeous, like a sanctuary….and we still had half a day to explore. Yay! After checking in and freshening up, we struggled and barged our way through a thick sea of tourists all flooding to the Rialto bridge and made our way to St Marks’ Square. The queue to St Marks’ Basilica was too long and it would soon be closing.
Feeling as though I wouldn’t get to see/do anything whilst there, I decided to go up to the top of the Campanile (Bell Tower of St Mark). Hands on hips and an angry pout I went up in the lift. If I couldn’t get to see the cathedral from the inside, I’d see the whole of it from the outside.
I got more than I bargained for…
When my feet touched back down, Rosie and I wandered around the square, then strolled along the waters edge admiring the stalls displaying elaborate Carnivale masks and soaking in the stunning architecture and surroundings.
Settling on an outside table at Le Cafe in Campo S. Stefano (the second biggest square in Venice), and ordering a glass of Prosecco, we people watched whilst discussing how on earth a city can survive relying on water and foot as transport?! Baffled!
Rosie, half way through a sentence was cut off by me wavering a finger for her to quickly turn around and look. “THERE!”. A group of guys who we had got talking to on the delayed train had also spotted us and were walking over. What a small world. City. Same same.
We arranged to meet up at St Marks’ Square later that evening, and from there, decided to eat at a place our hotel owner had recommended. Locating the original Ae Oche Pizzeria, Santa Croce 1552, wasn’t hard, and it was away from the real touristy diners which I liked.
The only way to describe this place is Italian food met American style. It was casual; perfect for 7 young, budgeting travellers who were starving!
I opted for Melon wrapped in Parma ham for starters, and also tried some of Rosies’ deep fried Mozzerella balls. Yummy! For mains I ordered Spaggetti with seafood sauce. Well…Venice, water, sea, sea food. It had to be done.
We all shared a large jug of house Vino Roso (Red Wine) and after our meal, we had a nightcap in a bar close by that was packed with locals. Kicking out time came. Not wanting to go to bed, or leave the dog that had taken a liking to me and cosied up on my lap, we made our way to Erbaria square, ordered our tipples from Al Pesador restaurant and sat on the waters edge chatting and drinking. I slid off my shoes and dipped my toes into the floating city’s foundations, swishing them around to make ripples. Captivated.
The next morning I woke EARLY… and took in everything around me as I strolled through the mornings’ market; the fresh catch being hawled onto the iced covered fish stalls, Italian words being flung from dealer to dealer, fruit being hung and displayed ready for the customers. Customers who were all still tucked in their hotel beds 🙂 BLISS!
Crossing over the Rialto bridge…..touristless this time. I skipped down the steps like a girly girl, letting my dress blow in the wind, like something from a movie; convinced that James Bond would be round the corner ready for me to fall into his arms… One can only dream.
Upon reaching St Marks’ Square again I saw the tourists, cameras at the ready, disembarking for the cathedral tour. I turned and headed in the opposite direction, planning to…well…to get well and truely lost!
I had some logic; I knew I couldn’t get off the island without water transport, so realistically I could never be too lost. And this is how I discovered the Dali museum, of whose work I studied at A Level, so I waltzed around it for about 2 hours admiring the soft, delicate, dainty sculptures he’d created. I felt like this after dipping my toes in the water, a high contrast to how I’d been feeling less than 24 hours before.
The book remains one of my favourites. It had so many unguessable twists and turns…reflecting our time in Venice perfectly. Both had managed to reduce me to tears, laughter, anger, contentness, and had left me with fond memories to look back on. I slowly and dreamily made my way back to meet Rosie at the Rialto bridge, which was now rammed with tourists.
It was time to leave.
Time to be reunited with an old flame…