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Kate's European Adventures.

Canky and the Cankster do Venice!

ITALY | Thursday, 13 August 2009 | Views [1393] | Comments [1]

After have a blast in Rome enjoying being tourists in summer, we reluctantly (but quickly) left the campsite and headed north to Venice. Once again, it rained most of the way and Venice being marshland, our camping site had turned into a water logged muddy swimming pool so we got to enjoy the luxury of cabins once again. I think the most exciting prospect was getting a pillow as most of us hadn’t brought one (in defence, Contiki didn’t have that listed on the what-to-bring list) and our necks were getting a little sore from using jumpers.

Our tour manager warned us about the havoc that is the bar/night club at the Venice site, but little did we realise how correct he was. If you’ve ever experienced Italian free pour spirits, you’ll understand. 11pm this night gave us the halfway mark of our trip and we all celebrate in style, carving up the dance floor to our tour song (Use Somebody by Kings of Leon)in the true style of the campers that we are (and wearing the same unisex perfume called ‘Bug off’ to ward off the gigantic killer Venetian mosquitoes). After wine with dinner, some beer and a hell of a lot of free pour vodka (tipping the bar tender works a treat) a very messy night was had by all. And in all fairness to the other campers I’ve mentioned in this chronicle of our trip, myself, Christine and Megan were included in the evening shenanigans.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that vodka and I are never friends, let alone quite a lot of vodka. Needless to say, being forced to get up early the next morning and pretend that I was feeling dandy was not so much fun. The boat ride over to Venice was hell for quite a lot of us (boats and I can never agree on things) and South African Martin getting on and asking what the ‘bag system’ on the boat was epitomised the feeling that morning. (The bag system put in place on the Contiki coach for spewers was a double lining of shopping bags, perfectly designed for hanging the handles off your ears and aiming into the bag!) A quick walk to St Mark’s square and a chance to sit and recover from the boat was a godsend before we headed to a Venetian Lace making demonstration. Off the demonstrations that we got to see on the trip, this was one of the most interesting. The lady was entertaining and it was impressive listening to how the skill of making lace by hand is still in place. However, I may not have been witness to all of it – the heat wasn’t helping matters and let’s just say the boat ride and its side effects still hadn’t subsided.

Next we were off to a Murano glass blowing demonstration. Impressive – well worth it if you ever get a chance. The guys made it look so easy, and judging by the designer suits and shoes the guys working in the shop/factory were wearing, I’d say there’s a fair bit of money in it. When a walk in the not so clean Venetian air won’t help your ailments, the only thing left is to make a beeline for the nearest McDonalds and that’s exactly what a lot of us did before hitting the winding alleys and bridges of Venice.

The weather could not have been better, pretty hot and the heat coupled with the alcohol consumption of late saw my traveller’s infliction of swollen ankles at its worst. Canadian Christine was suffering from them just as bad as I was and walking around all day on cobblestones just made it all a little uncomfortable. This was where the nicknames of Canky (Christine) and the Cankster (I like to think because I was the original!) came out. The girls and I headed to the Rialto Bridge to check out the markets and the Venetian glass jewellery. After fighting with the crowds and the heat we found ourselves a quiet ledge on a shop front to sit on. Above us an Italian man was playing old school music out his window and this old woman kept walking back and forward passed us, pointing and laughing at us. We found ourselves some food and then sat by another bridge with our swollen feet in the water. Then with what was certainly the theme of the day we found yet some more food and yet another little street to sit on and watch the Venetians pass us by.

We met the rest of our group for a gondola ride. It was lovely sitting in the sun with a (plastic) glass of wine being driven around the canals of Venice by a not so talkative gondolier. Ducking and weaving through this magical city was impressive; the gondola ride just topped it off and is of course a must do experience when you visit this city.

After our massive night before, we had all sworn (typically) that this night would be quieter, but the relaxing gondola ride and the BBQ that the Contiki Reps put on for us put a lot of us back in the mood for another beer or two. Granted it was a lot quieter than the night before – until Shanna wowed us all with her voice and The Cranberries, Zombie on karaoke. She certainly got us up and dancing!  

When people ask me what I did and saw in Venice I can only reply not a whole lot. But I think that was the beauty of my day and my Venetian experience. The whole sitting and watching Venice pass by is definitely the best way to experience this city.

Tags: gondolas, venice




I heard that the great time to visit Venice is during the month of February when the Venice Carnival is in full swing. At this time of year, hundreds of masked revellers take to the streets in period dress, and as a result can cause many hotels to be booked out months in advance. Therefore, if you wish to go then book early, and remember to bring a camera!

  Markline Aug 20, 2009 6:05 PM



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