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Winging it “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” - Martin Buber, Philosopher

Venice in peril

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 10 January 2011 | Views [321]

Sweet Tuscan villages and houses perched on hillsides whisk by as we doze, lulled by the sound and motion of the train. The change of speed wakes us and we peer out at the bright greyness, the dense fog restricting our view to a few meters. Pylons appear like ghostly fingers, brushing us as we pass and Venice comes slowly into view.

Excited, we stumble out of the station into the cold, heading straight to the water and buoyed by our gustatory success in Firenze, to eat. In hindsight it was a BIG mistake to get pressured into the cheesy riverside restaurant without looking around. Both price and standard of quality of food indicate we had fallen into a tourist trap. It was a mediocre but filling meal however and would sustain us for a few hours.

Seeing as a gondola ride was ~€100, we prudently take the cheap version of a water taxi to Murano Island for a more acceptable €6.50. Even though it is so cold I cannot feel my nose, we stand on deck and watch as we pass the cemetery island which I would love to explore, but my lack of camera would just piss me off. Murano Island makes me realise what a whole heap of shit tourist junk you have to wade your way through to find the gems.

The ticket office is closed so we cannot purchase tickets for our return journey and we jump on the ferry without paying. Strangely (for me) I am filled with fear that we may be caught and forced to pay a €60 fine. No one checks and we save €6.50. haha victory!

Later we take to the town, Paige talks us into buying masks and having our own Carnivale in the streets of Venice. Although we were the only ones running through the streets wearing masks, laughing and taking photos of ourselves, no-one seemed to think this was strange. We even wore them into another dodgy restaurant with some of the most eclectic and bizarre decorations I have ever seen. Not even the fire extinguisher was spared the creative touch with garlands of tinsel, chillies and dusty plastic fruit draped over it. I had polenta with squid cooked in black sauce. Thank god for wine.

We go in search of the Rialto bridge through the constant rain under ineffective umbrellas, Joe taking the lead over pretty little bridges and through alleys. Clearly Joe has far superior navigational skills than I as we made it without any major wrong turns and I only nearly fell in the canal once!

It seems that technology has stopped in Venice and the next morning I have a 2km stroll to find an internet cafe which did not open til 10am! I was considering heading to Vienna for a week but am sick of the rain and cold so decide to head west to Cinque Terra and while I am without luggage, this seems like a perfect time to go. We have arranged to meet Joe at 2pm as our trains leave soon after this but we are on the other side of the island (at that illusive internet cafe) and have to sprint through the streets in the rain to make it back in time. Rain mists our hair and we splash in puddles, running down the streets and walking the bridges. A woman calls 'sangria, senora?', offering shots to sample, I grab one, down it quick and keep running.

I'm going to Milan :)

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