Venice, Italy

Trip #9: Tuesday August 31, 1999

The first thing that we realized in Italy is that German rail system is awesome. If trains in Italy werenít spontaneously cancelled, we were in luck. If they were only half an hour late, we were ecstatic.

Toilettes in Venice are second worst only to overflowing outhouses in the middle of the dessert. I never once found a toilette with a toilette seat. Going to the bathroom required squatting for as long asÖwell, as long as necessary. It gave better quad workouts than hiking in the Alps. Ryan opted to pile toilette paper on the seatless porcelain and sit down. Uhhh.

Forget everything you hear about Venice. People will tell you that it stinks. That itís smoggy and dirty. I almost didnít go because of that. But word of mouth is not always reliable. Venice is very colourful and beautiful and everyone should be curious to see how venesians live.

Venice is comprised of several islands on the Mediterranean. To get around, your options are down to walking or hoping on a boat. No cars here. Cars are replaced by boats. A different way of living. But we had no trouble getting around because public transportation system is pretty good. Buses are boats. And so too are taxis. Another mode of public transportation is gondolas, which are private romantic canoes paddled manually by a professional. We never rode one of those, because itís so expensive that youíd have to get a second mortgage to afford one.

All day, we walked around and took the bus/boat when necessary. We saw canal after canal and boats after boats. On land, the city is like a maze. Narrow streets everywhere. These streets sometimes lead to nowhere; perhaps to a dead end or perhaps to a canal. It was a little confusing getting around, but we saw a lot of the city.

In the most touristy Piazza (San Marco), tourists need to share the streets with pigeons. Theses pigeons flock the streets as everyone feeds them. Youíve got to keep your heads up here, especially Ryan, who should avoid pigeons at all cost.

Other things we saw? A small island called San Giogio Maggiore, a beautiful cemetary island, and an island called Murano, where they claim glass blowing was invented. We also saw lots of beautiful bridges. These bridges arenít simple flat crossways. They arc beautifully from ground level to sky high.

Next: Florence, Italy

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