Faraway Worlds

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Lost in Venice

Last updated 9 November 2020

Emerging from the station into the bright Venetian sunlight, we found ourselves in a chaotic blend of people, boats and water.

There was English everywhere and crowds, both things we had yet to see in Italy. There were also people from a huge range of places, speaking so many different languages, all standing around looking lost, even the Italians.

And the roads were made of water. This shouldn’t have been a big surprise – we were in Venice after all! Yet, the whole effect was somewhat surreal.

We stayed in an old mansion, built in the 18th century and still owned by the same family. It had ridiculously high ceilings, Persian rugs, huge Venetian glass chandeliers and wood paneling. I felt like I had strayed onto a movie set, especially when I walked outside and saw the canals, bridges and gondolas that made up our “street”.

We quickly got lost in the crowds. And then it began to drizzle. The madness was exhilarating and overwhelming and when it rained everything was wet, and canal water was everywhere! Getting lost was exciting. We found churches, shops, alleys, canals… and then they disappeared again.

During the day crowds picked up, and dispersed a little in the evenings. Everything was multilingual, bright and not quite real. Matt said he found it all a little fake.

It rained a lot while we were there. Being lost started to get annoying after a while. I felt trapped by the water and narrow streets, closed in and claustrophobic. Walking in alleys at night didn’t feel safe (even though it was), and there was a sense of heightened anxiety as people wandered around, lost in the dark, maps in hand.

We all cast huge shadows as we walked around in circles, and even small people like me could seem threatening from a distance. Matt’s shadow was quite intimidating – quite a few people gave him worried looks as they passed us.

We both thought Venice was wonderful, but looking back it feels like a bit of an ordeal rather than a few days of magic. It was an incredible experience, but I don’t think we’ll be back. Although I have to admit that I do find the idea of Venice during Carnival extremely alluring…

The highlights:

  • Staying in that bed and breakfast – it was such a beautiful building!

  • All the dogs

  • Watching football in a pub

  • Sitting in a Jewish restaurant by the canal and watching people go by. Our favourite tableau was a man in a delivery boat stopping for a beer.

  • St Mark’s Square at night. There was a jazz band playing, lights and happy people everywhere – amazing!

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