Venice! Don’t we all love her but it is the craziest place in the world to find your way around and the story for two travellers begins.
One day back in 2013 two weary travellers arrived into Venice Railway Station looking forward to their 4 nights of adventure in this city of canals, tourists and well, thousands of tourists seeing it was mid summer! As there was a queue at the Tourist Information Centre they set off on their own to find their hotel representative with hand-written directions. Little did they know this was mistake #1.
These two travellers have visited Venice years before but separately, but do you think this would help them?
With directions in hand, they head towards the first bridge outside the Railway Station believing this to be the famous Rialto Bridge. Mistake #2. They traverse more alleyways and canal bridges.
Mistake #3. Heavy bags. Dragging their bags over the cobbled stones, up and over the many bridges over the small canals and around some dodgy side streets they spy a Gondolier lurking in a side canal and ask him directions. Mistake #4 – the Gondolier fed up with tourists asking him directions sends them into an area far away from where they are supposed to be going.
How many canal bridges and small alleyways can these two travellers take before they work out they are lost. Where are they exactly? It’s hot, tempers are boiling, one more canal bridge and the bags are going to go over the top, hoping for them to float to their destination or probably sink because of the weight of them.
One more corner, one more bend and two angels (local workers) appear before them. Looking at the directions in hand they show them to the nearest Vaporetto stop. Now these travellers have euros but the Vaporetto stop is unmanned and they cannot purchase tickets, so they jump on board hoping they will not get caught. The two angels advise them how many stops to the Rialto, looking confused the travellers explain they have just walked from the Rialto, the angels are now looking confused saying ‘it is in that direction not where you have just come from’. They arrive at the Rialto Bridge. Looking aghast at the site of this magnificent bridge, with many pedestrians crossing and the gondoliers swarming around looking for business, they realised they had made a big mistake.
The two fell into the nearest cafe and asked for two large beers. Mistake #5. The largest steins of beer they have ever seen arrived within minutes, so heavy that you needed two hands to lift this very cold welcoming beverage to your lips (if you were a woman). That mistake cost 40 euros (for two beers, yep!).
Now, what happens when you drink copious amounts of beer, apart from the need to find the nearest toilet, you become quite intoxicated. Intoxication and directions do not go hand in hand. After a few attempts by both to walk outside the cafe to see where they actually were, they asked directions of the waiter and lo and behold he pointed them up in the opposite directions to more alleyways and canal bridges.
They seemed to be lighter in foot as they struggled with their bags that seemed heavier now as they dragged them around the back streets of Venice.
Their anticipated arrival time now hours ago, they eventually find the reception area and the representative for their accommodation.
The intoxicated travellers with their heavy bags are told that they have to walk to their accommodation which is not far away. Back the way they came, over bridges, around alleyways, over the very congested Rialto Bridge, more bridges and more alleyways they arrive at a square in front of a cafe where the representative sits them down and gets them more beer.
But where are they exactly? Where is their accommodation and why are they drinking more beer? We will end our tale of beer, bags and bridges here, as there is another story about theiraccommodation. Their accommodation happened to be down a side alley from this cafe, the representative was keen for them to bring more business to his friend who was the owner of the cafe.
The moral of the story here is to love Venice for what it is, but come prepared, with clear directions of where your accommodation is and take notice of surrounding landmarks so that you can get back home safely. And the two weary travellers? They are of course the team from To Travel Too.
Previously published here.
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