Yes, it’s true. I was on a cruise that left out of Venice and my daughter and I took the shuttle boat to San Marco.
I had read a great deal about each of the places we were to visit because I was a little apprehensive about two women alone in a foreign country and felt I needed to be the one that had all the answers.
It was July, it was hot and I waited to smell the awful smell they say is Venice in July. Maybe because I live in New York, I did not smell anything vial. Had my nose just given up and refused to smell anymore? I grew up on Staten Island in the days of the dump (they shut it down since) so maybe I got used to horrible smells? I was expecting a fowl fish or garbage odor….it never happened. Anyway, back to the walk….
It was so crowded in San Marco in July. After dragging my daughter through the Doges Palace (which I loved) we decided to explore the side streets. It was still light and towards the end of the day. As we walked we discovered stores and restaurants teaming with cicchetti. Having heard so much about these appetizers we went in. I had been studying Italian for a year and felt confident I could at least order some food. I was correct and we sat down, feet aching to experience the food of Venice – little pizza’s, artichoke and mushroom – delicious.
We emerged from the restaurant refreshed and decided to take a walk. As we walked away from the more crowded streets we found a quiet serenity in the back canals of this beautiful city.
Sidewalks emptied out into squares with children playing soccer, or families drinking coffee outside their homes sitting around small tables. We discovered stores NOT overrun by tourist, small bridges and canals with gondoliers giving rides to mesmerized couples. All the stress of the day melted as we allowed ourselves to be lulled into the rhythm of the back alleys of Venice.
When our feet could take no more I reluctantly asked for directions back to San Marco knowing this was our only shot on this trip to wander around this city. We found our way back to the crowds and our shuttle. We didn’t know it at the time but after 12 days of cruising to 6 wonderful countries, this would be our favorite memory. We vowed we would return.
If you go to Venice, do yourself a favor, plan on getting lost, you won’t regret it.