Sep 14, 2009
Nov 01, 2009
So now I am goingto tell you about our gondola ride. First of all I will say that it was worthit. Second of all, if my Itailian had been any good and I had actually
understood what the price for a40 minute boat ride was, we probably wouldn’t have gone. Cento means 100.Cinquento means 50. So we take this ride and its pretty cool - its a nice, slowway to see such a busy city. The wholeride up until the last 5 minutes or so was great, then it smelled like we werebeing paddled through a sewer. Brandon saw a rat and there was more garbage thanusual floating around – including a whole cauliflower, which we both thoughtwas funny. So the last 5 minutes was gross but the guy sang us a song under theRialto bridge which is usually something we agree to first and pay a bit morefor. Plus this was only 50 euros right? The ride ends and I hand the guy a 50.And things got a little wierd. He spoke pretty good English and told me that itwas 100. Now apparently there are guys out there on gondolas who are scamartists (in Italy, who would have thought J?) So our first reaction is to tell thisguy to piss off, but after a few tense words we realized there had been amisunderstanding so we payed the guy. It was worth it either way and now wehave a good story to tell. When we got back to the Hostel we googled Venicegondola rates just to be absolutrely sure we didn’t get screwed and everythingwas in order. 85 Euros in the daytime and 100 at night.
We arrived by train and got our waterbus passes from the tiny tourist information office inthe train station. The station was unlike any other we had been to yet, crammedwith souveniers and very very busy. We had directions on how to get to the hostelso we jumped onto our first waterbus and took to the canals of Venice in searchof our accomodation. The only place for cars in the whole city are parkinglots. No streets, just sidewalks, bridges and lots and lots of canals; it wasstrange to see everything you would see driving on the road cruising down thecanals – taxis, buses, ambulances, police and people just getting from A to B.There were also gondolas all over the place but we will talk about those later.We didn't have many reasons to actually be in Venice – I’m sure there are lots but it’s more like the city itself isthe thing to see, literally like Italy’s very own circus sideshow. If anyoneout there has been and thinks I am wrong then please let me know.. we spent twodays here and I almost feel like it was too much. Keep in mind that we havebeen to or are going to a lot of the major museums in France and Italy so weweren’t really interested in seeing too many more. We did go to St Marco’sBasillica and it was stunning. Actually we went twice – once first thing in themorning to beat the crowds and then later again in the afternoon to see themosaics with a little more natural light bouncing around. During our firstvisit the weather got a little crazy and there was quite a bit of thunder andlightning going on. It was almost like a thunderstorm in a movie where theinstant the lightning hit, the thunder boomed; I guess when there are lots ofmetal objects (statues, flag poles etc.) so high up in the sky lightning isbound to strike near St Marco’s square in a thunderstorm. There is an upperlevel to the Basillica with an outside area to overlook the square – as we gotout onto it the rain was coming down but not hard enough to keep anyone inside.Then all of a sudden the rain got crazy and the entire square was cleared ofpeople in an instant. We waited around for the pouring rain to stop andcontinued to wander around Venice. We had heard that most of the food in thistown was overpriced and not that great (again, if anyone out there knows I amwrong please let me know) so I decided that we would go to the Hard Rock Cafe –we knew it would be expensive but at least we knew we would be happy with whatwe were going to eat. Besides, sometimes it’s nice to have a break from all thepizza and pasta and just have a burger. We both found it quite odd that arestaurant in the middle of Venice greeted us in English and didn’t even seemto have menus in Italian but in a wierd way, it was a little comforting.. Iguess that’s why places like this do so well all over the world. After lunchand all the wandering and crappy weather we decided to go back to the hosteland get some organizing and hostel booking taken care of.