On June 19, in Florence Italy, we boarded a big red train that would take us from Florence to Venice. One hour and fifteen minutes later we arrived in Venice. We walked from the train station to the water bus with our 4 suitcases, 4 backpacks, and two instruments; a ukulele and a violin. It was SO HOT on the bus. People were walking left and right. The canal was packed with taxies, buses and gondoliers with their jet black gondolas which had long wooden sides, long curled bows, some plain but others accented with gold and silver, mermaids, and/or animals on them.
Sorry, I’m wandering off. Anyway, we arrived at our VRBO which was on a nice cozy side canal which didn’t get a lot of visitors. After the LONG bus ride and lots of stops, we were led up the stairs by the nice man that owned the VRBO.
He led us up the 40 + steps to our VRBO. It was a spacious little flat with a nice big kitchen and 2 bedrooms. The windows were big and square. When you looked left you saw a small part of the Grand Canal and when you looked right you saw a bridge with flowers hanging off the side. A little while later we went into town with the hustle and bustle of tourists and locals alike.
Did you know that Venice is sitting on a forest of old decaying trees and that Venice is slowly sinking? Scientists predict that in 50 years Venice may be always underwater and in 500 years, it will disappear off the face of the map.
Anyway, we stopped for lunch at a small outdoor cafe. We had drinks and a margarita pizza. After that, we got lost and walked down the winding and twisting streets. A few hours later we walked to a restaurant for dinner. We ate at La Osteria Alla Bifora. We got a king sized platter of meat which had at least 10 different kinds of meat from salami to prosciutto and bologna (with two cucumbers on the side…some weird Italian thing.) The only plates of food I can remember were a weird shrimp octopus mash with black goo (which Isa ordered) and a lasagna which still makes me want to throw up thinking about it. 🙂 Although the food we ordered was not the best the place was very cool. There were pistols mounted on the walls and an AWESOME prosciutto slicer which was on display so you could see them preparing the meat.
The next day we made a plan to make our way to a fish market over the cobblestone streets and through winding alleyways. It felt like the other side of the WORLD.
We finally made it to the fish market at 10am and the market turned out to be a fruit and veg market too! We were all in a very good mood.
When we walked into the market the sidewalk was covered in snail shells. The fish sellers were selling cooking snails that were slowly making their way to freedom just to get trampled under millions and millions of feet thundering down upon them (wow… to me that was really poetic). I would call it roadkill or marketkill.
At twelve o’clock we ended up getting cherries and apricots in a crowded plaza next to a small church. After that, we went down the canal to the Rialto Bridge. We stopped a very expensive water taxi and Dad asked the driver how much it would cost to go to the airport the next day. The driver said that it would cost 120 Euros to pick us up on our front door and take us in a private boat to the airport dock. We decided to take the taxi after some talk. Dad was very nice about it and we got some gelato!!
Anyway, after that, we went to St. Marks Square and also St. Marks Cathedral (it was a huge cathedral). The cathedral’s paintings, statues, and the giant clock tower were SO cool. The square was full of people laughing, dancing, and selling things of all shapes, and colors. We walked across the square and over to the Grand Canal and out of the messy bustling square.
Next, we walked along the side of the Grand Canal. In my opinion, if you go to Venice, see all you can see, but also pay attention to the locals and their shops.
Tourism in Venice is a blessing and a curse. It is good for the locals that want to sell things and get money but the tourism in Venice has affected greatly the local population. Approximately 20 million tourists go to Venice a year and that number is increasing rapidly each year. It has also caused the locals to move from their homes because the cost of living has skyrocketed.
Anyway, as we walked down the Grand Canal it was HOT HOT HOT. We stopped in a small shaded side street to cool off away from the afternoon Venice heat. As we walked, we went by The Bridge of Sighs. Legend has it that the prisoners sighed as they crossed the bridge because that was their last sight of Venice as they were led into the dungeons never to see light again.
As we walked down a twisting brick alleyway, away from the Grand Canal we saw an interesting looking shop so we walked in. Masks covered the shop walls from floor to ceiling. There were animals, humans, alien, bird, tiger, cat masks – any mask you could think of.
We left the shop and headed along the streets – a.k.a got lost, but Dad doesn’t like to refer to it that way.
At 7am we packed all of our things into a private water taxi which pulled up at our front door. It took 25 minutes to get to the airport, then we headed off on our long delayed flight to San Francisco, CA.
By Adelaide Vawter
Special thanks to my great grandma, Oma for encouraging me to write this.
For Oma, Nana, and Poppi.
Thanks for reading!!