Venice; what a wonderful city!!!
Possibly the most expensive city to visit in the world (and I worked in Tokyo), and apparently the most visited! Cruise ships arrive each morning unleashing hoards of visitors on the city, to the point that you cannot move – no wonder the city is sinking, it doubles in weight each day for around 10 hours. Fortunately the hoards go back to their ships in the early evening.
St Marks Square, and the Rialto bridge are packed to bursting during the day. But there is lots of fun to be had in out of the way places and in the early morning or evening.
A couple of fun things we did:
Bellinis in the famous “Harry’s Bar” (€15 each): It is a small and quaint bar where you can really imagine Hemingway in the corner (for it is because of he that the bar is famous). It gets thousands of tourists each day, many are turned away by the high (even for Venice) prices, and many more because of a strict dress code – for one, no shorts. Here was a situation which made us really laugh: A group of older men came in led by a younger American lady who was apparently their guide. They settled themselves down and the waiter went over to them and said, discretely, “I’m sorry Gentlemen, the shorts!”. One of the men turned to the guide and said “I think they have a problem with our shorts”. The guide said, in response “No, it’s OK, he’s apologizing for the short tables”. I wonder how much she was being payed?
A twilight Gondola ride (a whopping €200): a tour of the city as the sun sets – no better way to see it. Though it makes you wonder why they designed gondolas the way they did. Imagine walking about all day with a javelin attached horizontally to your shoulder.
The Hotel was excellent, we picked it because we got a lot of perks thrown in (free €54 per person breakfast, and a free lunch – in our case worth €140). The service was very personal and to die for (as was the bill)
But oh my, the cost….
It is easy to understand why everything is so expensive; logistics! I am informed (by a gondolier) that 172 islands make up Venice, and none have roads. Instead they are fed by canals and small passages. The canals can cope with different sizes of boats, so you can ship stock in a bigish boat to a dock on a bigish canal, then offload it to a smaller boat which may then dock with the destination (most buildings have a front door which opens directly into water, with a back door on an alley), or if there is no door on the canal, be offloaded to handcarts to run through the street and over bridges (with steps) to the destination. Moving goods is an obvious challenge. Then what to do with the garbage – more expense!!!