Ahhhh….Venice. The city once dubbed by The New York Times as “the most beautiful city built by man.” Who would not love Venice?
Me. That’s who. Allow me to channel my inner Grumpy Cat for this post.
I could not wait to be in Venice. I bought not one, not two, but THREE Venice guide books. I even carried one around with me on this trip so I could gaze lovingly at the colorful pictures in anticipation.
And as it turns out I hated Venice. Hated it.
When we last left off, I had spent two nights completely relaxed and daydreaming of retirement in Bled. I left here at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am to catch a train to Venice. My hotel offered me taxi service, which was a great relief since I wasn’t too sure how reliable any cab would be at 3:30 am.
Bled Jezero train station.
It was still dark outside when I arrived. There are two tracks here with a platform in the middle. I had no idea which track my train would be coming on, and there was no one to ask as the station was not open. Luckily enough, I was able to figure it out when the train was approaching.
To get from Bled to Venice, you need to change trains at the Slovenia border at Gorizia/Nova Gorica and take a bus across the Italian border to Gorizia Centrale train station. You can not pay for the bus on the bus. You need to buy a bus ticket in advance from a tobacco shop that was not open that early in the morning. The bus driver let me ride for free. Thank you Mr. Bus Driver.
I got to Gorizia Centrale and picked up the tickets I had purchased in advance online. Then I got on my train…which was not my train. I am on the wrong train! It was my first (and only) fuck up of this entire trip. I was so grateful that my mistake only cost me €2.90. I am also glad in hindsight that I messed up because it gave me less time in Venice.
We arrived in Venice. First stop, drop off my luggage. There are no lockers. There is a luggage storage area that is incredible expensive. The line is long and people try and cut you as if they don’t know you are from New York and will yell at them and push in front of them if they act like they don’t know that your yelling is in direct response to them cutting you.
It took close to an hour to get my luggage checked. Again, in hindsight, I am glad because this also gave me less time in Venice.
I had read in some guidebook (reminder: I had bought THREE on Venice because I was that excited to see it) that the best way to see Venice is to arrive late and go straight to bed. In the morning, wake up and go out while the rest of the tourists are still sleeping. It was advised that this was the one true way to fall in love before the swarms of tourists took that away from you. I should have followed that advice.
It was hot. It was crowded. There are tourists EVERYWHERE. I mean look at this, this isn’t even anywhere near a tourist attraction.
It’s so hard to walk because those canals that are supposed to be so romantic and picturesque block off everything. I can not count the times I would be sure I was going the right way only to be cut off by a canal and have to double back.
I finally made it to Piazza San Marco. I have never been in a crowd of tourists like that before. I live in New York City. It was like Times Square on crack. It was miserable. A pigeon nearly collided with my face. The lines for everything were too long. There is a maze of signs leading to a bathroom that I am convinced was put together by a tourist-hater like myself as a cruel joke to torture us. I walked that maze three times, never found the bathroom.
Absolutely frustrated, I made my way back to the train station. As I sat there on the steps outside, I considered throwing away my guide book. The beautiful guide book that is full color and provided me with so many daydreams of seeing all the beauty contained on its pages come to real life in front of me. I ended up keeping it. I don’t know if this was a good idea or a bad idea. I am writing this out ten months after my return. I took out the book as I was typing this out and looked at it again. I am considering that maybe I didn’t give Venice a fair chance. Maybe I should have arrived late and went out early and saw the beauty while everyone was sleeping. I kind of want to try Venice again as I am typing this. Maybe a winter trip would be a good idea. Less people. I can not believe I am actually considering this. But looking this book, I just need to see it again.
Here are some pictures I took. It is hilarious to me to see that I apparently just moved these into a folder labeled “Venice” and never actually looked at them. None of them are named and there are a bunch that need to be rotated and I didn’t even do that.