Today, the sun finally broke. I had been keeping a keen old eye on the weather forecast, so had planned to rise early this day to take a trip across the lagoon and get some panoramic photos from the Campanile (bell tower) Isola on Di San Giorgio Maggiore island. It was a nifty 5 minute vaporetto ride from one of the many San Marco stops, so I hopped on and was on the island by 9.30. (But not before taking some extra photos of Piazza di San Marco…everything looks different in the sunshine!)
Thanks, yet again, to my research SKILLZ, I had planned this specific trip because it’s a better alternative to going up the Campanile di San Marco, which always has ridiculous queues (like, seriously) and doesn’t have as good a view. I wasn’t disappointed…it was a glorious, cloud-free day and the views were proper breathtaking. AND, to top it off, I was the only one up there, so it actually kinda felt like I was on top of the world. (Cheesy, I know, just indulge me would ya?)
I was back over in San Marco by 11am, and it was SO BLOODY WARM. The water and the blue skies made me feel all warm ‘n’ fuzzy, so I grabbed myself a seat at the cafe outside the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (National Library of St Marks) and sipped a latte whilst watching the world go by.
I was thinking at that point, like, is it too early for an Aperol? I held off though (I didn’t want to wang ALL my cash that I’d allocated for that day before midday) so instead I consulted my guidebook and, after an additional prompt from a friend who had visited Venice…decided to head up to Cannaregio, the Jewish Quarter.
Cannaregio is super beautiful, but not so touristy, and therefore a LOT quieter, offering a better chance to observe true Venetian life. I mean, I love the touristy shit as much as the next person, but I do also like to get a sense of the true culture of the place I’m visiting. That’s also why I make myself speak the language, even if I do sound like Del Boy.
The No.1 recommended place to visit, according to my trusty guidebook, was a little wine bar called Vino Vero. I hunted it down, and saw that it was a small, cute little place by the canal. Proseccos were 3 EUROS. THAT’S IT. So, I was sold.
I sat myself down outside and just….watched people. I watched the locals come and go, some of them sitting down for a midweek wine and Cicchetti (Venetian tapas), and others simply stood outside, wine in one hand, baby buggy in the other, chatting for a swift one, greeting friends as they passed by, before heading off on their way. I mean, I am FULLY on board with the concept of a casual Thursday midday-wine, before heading off to baby group. I guess I’m gonna have to move to Venice if I wanna do that without being judged like a mofo.
But now, I was hungry. I didnt fancy the Chicchetti because…well….quite often its seafood-based, and that ain’t my bag. A bit of cod, or nice seabass, sure….but no weird prawns and mussels and shit. So, instead I went for a wander and stumbled across some kind of Amercian tacky-as-fuck place called Wild Wild West. I was in the mood for nachos and it had a lovely terrace overlooking the market square. I settled myself down, ordered my nachos and beer…and then, I got angry. Basically, two local lads* (read *little shits) decided to run around on the terrace, throwing bread at the passers by down below.
Now…I know they were locals and I was merely a lowly visitor to their fine island…but that shit is not acceptable. I sat there for a further 15 minutes, watching these absolute cretins misbehave, with no sign of their parents anywhere (they were about 13 so I’d have assumed their parents were with them…plus otherwise…where were they getting all the fucking bread from?!) The waitress kept giving them furtive glances but did absolutely nothing about it…which was no surprise as she hadn’t bothered doing anything about my drink either, which I was still waiting for 20 minutes later. So I got up, and made my way to the door. The waitress stopped me and I told her, in no uncertain terms, that I was leaving because no restaurant should allow that kind of behaviour. SEE YA MUTHAFUCKERS. Honestly, I had such rage inside me.
Aside from that minor blip, the rest of my day continued in a delightful manner. I went back to my trusty place by the Rialto and was greeted like an old friend by the waiters there. THAT’S more like it! They’d taken the canopies off the seating area because it was so sunny and dry, so I had an even better view than before. The waiters kept me chatting and I kept on sinking Aperols like I was on death row.
An American family sat down next to me, and I overheard them eyeing up my drink, wondering what it was. I was like “Heya *super smiley face* are you wondering what my drink is?” and they were like “OHHHH yeah we were…we wanted to ask you but we thought you were Italian because we heard you speaking Italian to the wait staff” YOU THOUGHT I WAS ITALIAN. I could have snogged all four of them then and there for that comment. I got chatting to them for a while and OBVS wowed them with my I’m-so-adventurous-travelling-alone vibe. Out came the “good for you!” and the “what made you decide to come alone?” comments. I mean, I don’t think it’s a HUGE deal and I think the reasons for doing it are fairly obvious, but the reaction from some people, you’d think I was trawling a war zone on my own, not spending 4 days on a really safe island just 2 hours from my home. I’m proud of myself for doing this stuff, but you sure-as-shit wouldn’t see me going to the Middle East on my own.
Anywhoo, after all this chat, all the Aperols, and a big old pizza, it was time to go have a lie down. I ordered “il conto” (the bill) and my friend the waiter gave me my change…and presented me with a flower. Sure it was a half-dead flower he’d taken from a vase and wrapped the bottom of it in some aluminium foil, but quite frankly that’s the nearest I’ve had to romance in years, so I was overjoyed.
For that reason, I think I blushed more than I should have (cringe) when I finally received a “BELLA”. Smoooooooth as fuck. I lapped that shit up…but I didn’t give an additional tip, because then it would be weirdly like I was paying someone for compliments and that’s just not cool.
Off I trundled back to the hotel, taking some more snaps on the way. Teatre Le Fenice was buzzing because it was showing La Boheme that night (which was the one I had wanted to see, damnit) and looked extra pretty being cased in sunshine.
Now, I know you’re probably all wondering, ‘how did you spend your final night in Venice?’ Did I get dolled up and go to a cocktail bar? Did I take myself out for a nice dinner? Did I go and sit by the canal in the moonlight? Well, by this point of the holiday I had a) run out of money and b) run out of energy, so I’ll tell ya what I did…
….I called down to my lovely dude on reception (yeah, the nice one was back), ordered an Aperol Spritz and some crisps to my room, and spent my night consuming them…in the bath.
I’m not even sorry. Isn’t that the best way to end any day?