Hurry! The island is sinking, and if you wait any longer it won't even be there for you to go explore. At least that's what I told myself. The rumors are true, Venice is sinking, but the city is still very much alive, dealing with its issues, just like every other city in the world. Yes, it's expensive, and was quite out of the way on our journey but I had to see it, I just had to!
We stayed in an apartment outside of Venice, Via Col Moschin in Mestre, just across the bridge from the city center and near the train station. The cost difference between being on the island and just outside was huge, and since we were only there two days we look the bus in the morning and evening and spent our days touring the island.
I like to think I have a wonderful sense of direction. I get my 'Shami senses' from my dad and can almost always find my way back somewhere after just the first time of being three . I can find my way home simply by following my nose, and I rarely, very rarely get lost. All of that logic went to the wind in Venice. Venusian, as the Italians call it, is made up of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Ventian Lagoon which stretches between the Po and Piave Rivers. The commune is divided into 6 boroughs and the Sestieri or historic city is made up of 6 small cities: Cannaregio, San Polo, Dorsoduro, Santa Croce, San Marco and Castello. Brandon and I agreed to explore the islands on our own for a bit of private time, and after buying him a 3 euro map, I joined a walking tour and we agreed to meet up at the well we started at around 3pm. Every walking tour we had taken up until this point had been about 2 hours and roamed the city in a circlular fashion before returning to the starting point. I should have known this wouldn't be the case in the twisted city of Venice.
We toured the city, first stopping at the famous Ponte do Rialto, overlooking the Grand Canal and finishing at Saint Marks Basilica in Piazza San Marco. Our guide was knowledgeable and adorable and taught us not only the history of the famed city but also a bit about its current polical standing. All in all, a wonderful tour. As we stood at the foot of the Basilica, watching the tourists feeding the pigeons and talking photos covered shoulder to shoulder in birds, I asked someone for the time.
"Quarter to three" they said, as my face flushed red and I realized I was 45 minutes late in meeting the only other person I know on this continent. "Excuse me!" I frantically called to the guide. "Are we almost back at the starting point? I have to meet my friend." She smiled as she told me this tour did not end at the starting point, and we still had 30 minutes more left in the tour. I asked for directions, and after some very confusing pointed and explaining, I thanked her, gave her my tip, and started running. For anyone that knows me, there are few things I hate more than running. In college, my boyfriend thought my running style so hysterical, he would run ahead of me on the track so he could turn around, run backwards, and watch me as my arms flail in no particular sync with my legs and faster than my actual speed. Still, what I hate more than running, is when people are late. It seems like a blatant disrespect for the other persons time, and I didn't want to be the one wasting anyone's time. So, I ran. Through the small crowded corridors packed with people, into every possible dead end, or street that just ended in a canal. I ran past ice cream stores, and Ferrari shops. I followed the river as best I could, and looked for any opportunity to cross a bridge to the other side. When I thought I had finally found my way over, I ran straight into a restaurant and nearly ended up in the water. I backtracked a bit, finally found my way, and just as I was about to give up, I emerged in a familiar quarter, and there he was, just where I left him. After a weekend of useless arguments a solo day to cleanse the feelers, I had never been so happy to see a familiar face.
"Sorry I'm late" I said as a haulted my jog and huffed out a sigh of relief, "Did you know not all the walking tours end where they start."
We stopped at a grocery mart on the way home, grabbed some juice box wine for the train and ended our Venice adventure on a positive note.