There is nothing more pretentious sounding than the phrase “Sorry, I won’t be available. I will be in Venice.” And yes, I used this phrase as much as possible pre-departure. Venice was a completely unexpected trip. I had no intentions of making it to Italy during my six week stay in Scandinavia, but when my lovely badger buddy Julie told me she would be there at the end of July…well…I had to make an exception. I would need to skip three days of classes, so I assumed I was completely on my own in making the trip. But an offer to Venice is very enticing – even for my die hard studious friends Ali and Morgan. They jumped on the bandwagon quickly. Even if Ali almost had a heart attack at the thought of skipping a class for the first time ever in her life. (I like to refer to Ali as my Mini Me, but when she told she had never skipped class, I wanted to disown her completely. Her response? “I’m the better version of you!” har…har…har…)
Morgan and I arrived from our trip to Berlin at 9 PM on Sunday. We didn’t even unpack. 10 hour later we all met to catch our flight. Seeing as we were on our vacation from our vacation, Morgan and I asked the flight attendant if we could indulge in a bloody mary, but apparently the morning flights don’t carry liquor. Five minutes later he returned with Heinekins. Free of charge. The trip was off to a really great start. Swiss Air ❤
After landing in Venice, we had to take a bus to the island to meet Julie, who had supposedly flown in a few hours earlier. I say supposedly because it had been a few days since I had been in touch with her and we really had no formal plans other than a meeting time and a map. Our friend Matt had told us to be patient with the public transportation system because it would be on “Italy” time. And it certainly was. 45 minutes after said arrival time, we got on this bus to the island.
We walked around for a few minutes completely star struck and in love. We all had slap happy grins on our faces and were feeling pretty awesome about our current situation in life. We asked for directions to the apartment that we had rented through Air BnB and set off, winding over bridge, over canal, over bridge after bridge after bridge. We had to stop to ask for directions a few more times before we finally reached the “Jewish Ghetto.” All of a sudden, some plump Italian man barely whispers “Julie’s friends?” I stopped dead in my tracks and said “Um…did you just ask me if are Julie’s friends?????” And then he proceeded to walk us down a tiny, narrow, dark ally, where I gave Ali and Morgan a look that said “This is the end, it has been nice knowing you.”
Our apartment was absolutely precious – a real authentic Italian villa, complete with balconies and cookies. I have done case studies about the fiasco that has been Air BnB, but now that I have successfully done it – I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. It was the best way to stay in the city. We had a great location and our cute little landlord Beneto even gave us restaurant suggestions. And he had bottled water waiting. Papa Beneto, we love you.
We wasted no time diving into the city, with our first stop to a gelato stand. Naturally. Then we picked a place on the canal for dinner and gorged on pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar. After dinner, we wanted to get a bottle of wine and upon purchasing, we asked the cashier if it was in fact legal to drink in the streets. She bluntly said “No.” and then proceeded to cork our wine and provide plastic cups. Perhaps that rule is more of a guideline…
Because we were all starving, we ate rather early. So we had plenty of time to explore after dinner. So we all had our first water bus experience. Motor vehicles are not allowed on the island. It physically wouldn’t even be possible. So everyone travles by water bus. Not a bad way to see the city. Not at all. We went to San Marco Square and did what all the tourist books recommend: get lost. Getting lost in Venice is exhausting, and we all decided it would be good to sit down for second dinner. Pizza and drinks in a tiny cafe off the main square. The wine had worn off so me, being the idiot that I am, asked the waiter for a strong drink. We were served Americanos, which looked delicious at first glance. If you want to have an idea of what this drink tasted like – go find a pine tree, vigorously rub the pine needles all over your taste buds, then take a swig of bleach. And try to light your mouth on fire. And that is how the Americano tasted. Ever chased a drink with pizza? I have. We literally took four bites of pizza per one sip of Americano. Never again. Never again…
Feeling pretty scarred after our experience, we obviously had to end the night with gelato. Did I mention we also had tirimiso and raspberry torte at the restaurant?