Lost in Venice

January 21, 2015 Tessa Bradford 7 comments

Lost in Venice

My Florentine melancholy didn't last very long. I was sitting on the train to Venice and across the car was another girl, clearly a seasoned traveler. She munched on a bag of granola while she read out of a tattered paperback and leaned on her well-loved backpack. She was a girl after my own heart, and her name was Jen. It didn't take long before we were sharing stories of our different travels and we decided to explore Venice together. 

Venice is a city of its own.

The alleyways of Venice

It's not quite the magical place of romance dreamed of, but neither is it far from what you imagine. Before anything else, Venice is a maze. Its twisting alleys follow no reason but their own, and getting hopelessly and completely lost is simply part of exploring this old-world city. Tucked-in cafes and curio shops hide where they will,  busy markets disappear again in sudden silence as you turn another corner, roads stop without warning as canals cut them off, where men in gondolas plod along calling for passengers.

Being lost in Venice is a process of slow and satisfying discovery, but finding your way in Venice leads to incredible places.

The Rialto Bridge overflows with market vendors and trinket stands of colorful masks that shine when the light catches, shouting tour guides and stumbling tourists, and a never-ending flow of people while boats float along just below. In Saint Mark's Square the closely-packed streets burst open with a swell into the massive courtyard. By day it's filled with hawkers and wanderers and pigeons snatching crumbs; at night it empties out until nothing but the glow of lanterns and starlight are left.

Saint Mark's Square
Saint Mark's Square

For two days Jen and I explored Venice. We checked every alleyway, we peered into every shop window. We ate gelato and pizza and watched the sun light the bay on fire as it sank behind church towers and ocean waves.

A Venetian sunset
A Venetian sunset

We did not ride a gondola, because backpackers scrounging for cheap lodging aren't really gondola-clientele. We did watch them, however, as they drifted down the emerald canals and the gondoliers crooned to their passengers.

I didn't love Venice, but I was captivated by it.

It wasn't what I expected, but I wouldn't want it to be any different from what it is. Venice is its own, and that's worth something.

Venice at twilight
Venice at twilight

From there I was headed on to Slovenia, where I'd be meeting up with Jen again. Italy had been an adventure-- exciting and new, beautiful and sad, and full of good food, good people, good memories. Venice

7 Comments on “Lost in Venice

  1. Love the ambivalence, reflecting my own feelings about the place. Slovenia is magic, Piran is a mini Venice & much better! The mountains are brilliant, went up to Bovec & canoed the Soca. Have a brill time.

  2. An honest post with some great photos, thanks for sharing! Plus you friend Jen reminds me of a Jenny I used to work with in the UK so thanks for sparking some happy memories!!

  3. Glad you could explore Venice. I am a big fan of this city although my husband is not.. I hope to visit here again for a 4th time with my whole family next time. And yes, the mazes are crazy!!

  4. Another beautiful and illustrative article, Tessa. Beyond Venice, I am enthralled with how your writing style quickly pulls my imagination into feeling I am present in the vision you’re sharing. Keep up the great traveling and writing!

  5. Seeing your pictures of Venice gets me even more excited for my upcoming trip down there. Was there any particular gelato or pizza place you recommend? (I’m always looking for the next best slice!)

What are your thoughts?