Have you ever been nostalgic for a place even before you have left?
Venice is exactly what you expect: romantic and iconic, bustling with life yet crumbling and ghostly, alternatingly hectic and serene. That it lives up to it’s reputation is it’s biggest surprise. It has officially bumped Rome as Radek’s favorite European city.
We strolled for two days, extending each walk with long pauses at each bridge. With the amount of bridges in Venice this dragged a half hour walk into a three hour walk. We explored every neighborhood, maybe not on purpose, but when you aren’t trying to get anywhere in particular there are no wrong turns. The confusing “roads” of Venice require this attitude.
I can’t say the trip was completely stress-free thanks to Harry’s Bar. Blame it on the lure of Hemmingway or beef carpaccio or my idiotic guidebook, but by the time we sat down to look at the menu it was too late. The cheapest thing was 50 euro, and we’re talking soup not steak. We ate basically nothing and I don’t want to talk about the bill. The thought of it makes me queasy.
Pressing on we decided to put it out of our minds and continue with our plan to stroll, free of charge. The heinous bill almost cost us the experience of a lifetime: a gondola ride along the grand canal. Always practical I figured one splurge was enough…and I almost held out. But thankfully even my legendary stinginess was no match for the romance of a trip under the Rialto Bridge. Savvy of only the first line of every song, our gondolier serenaded us (all while harassing every other gondolier we passed) for a beautiful half hour.
It was with the greatest reluctance and empty wallets that we left Venice, with a promise to return someday soon.