Nick Papantonis

Multimedia Journalist

Venice

               I didn’t intend to travel this weekend until I got sick earlier in the month, which caused me to miss my trip to Berlin. I came with the idea of visiting as many different countries as possible, and I couldn’t bring myself to accept the thought of one less than before. I was fortunate to find a set of cheap Turkish Airlines tickets to Venice on a last-minute notice.

               I always imagined returning later in life to do an Italy trip- starting in Venice and working my way down the coast. However, with all the attention on recent environmental news, I wanted to “see” Venice for myself in case anything happened to the city- just being cautious! Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to see everything this time around, I designed a quick “hit-and-run” trip lasting a total of 36 hours in the city.

               Getting to Venice is surprisingly easy. After the flight, the best way to get to your hotel is by water bus, as there are no roads. Following the signs to the docks, I found myself on a 90-minute boat ride around the lagoon, which would have been pleasant had it been daylight. Since the city is so small, it was about five minutes from the dock to the hotel.

               Venice is the first city I have been to that looks exactly like you’d expect it to. It’s straight out of the 16th century with old buildings, narrow streets, and canals and bridges everywhere. Gondolas and other boats are everywhere and without a map, you’re screwed.

               The next day, the tour began. I was staying about 5 minutes from St. Mark’s Square, so I began there. I took in the square for a while, walked around, and observed the people. I made it my mission to hunt for the items stolen from Istanbul- one of the columns and the statue of the tetrarchs (which took a while to find in the crowds). I also toured the Basilica, which I likened to the Hagia Sophia had the mosaics not been covered up (it was beautiful) and the Doge’s Palace, which had some of the most intricate ceilings I’ve ever seen. There were sculptures surrounding paintings, and some rooms had gold leaf throughout and massive paintings on the walls.

               I left St. Mark’s Square behind and headed north towards the Grand Canal- the main thoroughfare through the city for boats and a popular spot for tourists eating on the water. While I knew better than to grab a $30 slice of pizza, I enjoyed sitting on an empty dock, watching the boats and gondolas go by for a while. Afterwards, I got my much less expensive pizza somewhere in the middle of the city.

               After a stop at the hotel, I left to explore somewhere more residential, and happened across the hospital district and the entrance to a fairly large canal. With the sun and a view of the cemetery island, it was actually a very pleasant place to hang out. I took a strong interest in the emergency dock, where the ambulance boats would come and go. The gate would open all the way, and a boat came charging full speed in. Gates shut, including the one on the sidewalk, to allow the EMTs to pass, and everything would open again. It happened frequently enough to keep me entertained (as morbid as that sounds).

               When I come back, I’d like to be with someone else, as it is not much fun on my own. I would love to see the glassmaking island of Murano and some of the other areas in the city. That will happen one day, but for now, I can say I have seen it.

               Side note: FOOD. Pizza was pretty good but way too big for one person. Pasta was good, not much better than anywhere else (sauce was great though). I had this INCREDIBLE ice cream dish though- vanilla ice cream was mostly liquid with some solids at the bottom. Topped with whipped cream, strawberries, and sour cherry sauce. AMAZING.

NICK@WPDE.COM | @NICKPAPANTONIS

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