One thing I discovered during my travels is that I don’t like to be away from home for long periods of time. After a couple of weeks I start missing everything that is familiar to me, including crazy minibus taxi drivers on crazy South African roads. So to get around this, when visiting a country, I tend to pack a lot of cities as part of one trip. This is good in the sense that you get to experience and do as much as possible for less cost, but bad in the sense that there are just some places you cannot do a hit and run on.
Venice is one such city. The only way to do Venice is to get totally lost in it. Plus you’re going to need some wine. Lots of it. The only thing I took out of my brief stay in Venice was that I have to go back. With my lover. I want to get lost and drown in the real Venice, not tourist Venice. Tourist Venice can be quite phony and unpleasant. Be that as it may, I did enjoy the bit that I got to experience.
Seeing Venice for the first time is simply breathtaking. Where normally you would see roads and traffic, is just water and endless bridges . It’s a completely different world unlike anything you’d ever seen. It’s poetry.
With over 400 bridges, you can hop into a gondola cruise along the canals of Venice for hours and get totally lost while watching the buildings float along the waterways. It is a sight to behold.
A few of the must-see places in the city include St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, the Gallerie dell’Accademia, and the Teatro La Fenice.
Some of my favorite quotes about Venice:
“This was Venice, the flattering and suspect beauty – this city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.” Thomas Mann
“The one thing the locals never do is ride gondolas. To begin with, a gondola ride is pricey. Only foreign tourists, and well-off ones at that, can afford it. That’s what explains the median age of gondola passengers: a septuagenarian can shell out one-tenth of a schoolteacher’s salary without wincing. The sight of these decrepit Romeos and their rickety Juliets is invariably sad and embarrassing, not to say ghastly. For the young, i.e., for those who this sort of thing would be appropriate, a gondola is as far out of reach as a five-star hotel. Economy, of course, reflects demography; yet that is doubly sad, because beauty, instead of promising the world, gets reduced to being its reward.” Joseph Brodsky
“When I seek another word for ‘music’, I never find any other word than ‘Venice’.” Friedrich Nietzsche