After hardly getting any sleep on the train I FINALLY made it to Venice. Next was the hard part, navigating the narrow tiny streets from one side of the island to the other, then take a ferry to another island to my hostel.
To say the least, I got lost as all hell. I have no idea how the people who live there learn those streets. It is honestly like a maze. After walking for an hour I hardly made it halfway through the island and eventually broke down and used google maps to direct me the rest of the way.
There were severally different boat stations to take boat taxis. Confused, I asked for help when I bought my ticket. The guy said to go to dock “B” and that will take me straight across in about ten minutes. What he didn’t tell me is that there around three different boats that stop at dock B. Not knowing this I hopped on the first boat that came through. That boat, however, was going the opposite direction.
By now I had been awake for nearly 30 hours; all I wanted to do was get to my hostel and take a nap but I could not figure out this boat system to save my life. I could see the island I needed to get to but all these damn boats kept going in the wrong direction. I was almost to the point of just throwing my bag in the water and trying to swim there. But after taking a few deep breaths and finding someone that spoke English I found my way to the hostel and my head found its way to a pillow.
After my short slumber I stepped outside to find a bunch of people staying at the hostel hanging out on the pier, drinking wine, and getting to know each other.
This was my first experience staying at a hostel and I must say it was rather amazing. I met people from all over and they were all people just like me: trying to find their path in life by exploring one city at a time.
We all spent the evening sitting out on the pier conversing and sipping cheap wine. It was a beautiful view looking out over the tiny complex city. As the night grew later we took the party inside to the hostel bar then conveniently only had to walk up one flight of stairs to find our beds.
The next day I had a very unexpected meet up with my cousin, Jessie. This happened completely at random since originally I had no plans of going to Venice when I started my trip but cold weather quickly drove me to the south. Unknowingly my cousin was in the process of planning her 5 year anniversary trip with her husband. And in a perfect situation when the stars align we just so happened to be there at the same time. They would only be there for one day and me only for two.
We arranged to meet at Saint Mark’s Square at 12:30. And since we were overseas we had to meet the old fashion way. Our cell phones only worked over WiFi so there would be no option for trying to call one another when we were there we just had to show up and hope to see each other.
I hadn’t been to Saint Mark’s Square before so I didn’t really know what to expect and OMG it was MUCH bigger than expected. And to make things more difficult it was completely filled with people. I first stayed stationairy and tried to scan the crowd trying to find her. No luck. I then decided to make a walk around the border of the square and sure enough within a few minutes… “Danny!!” I heard someone shout. I turned around and there was Jessie with her husband, Jase.
After catching up for a bit we did some sightseeing. First going into Saint Mark’s cathedral which I cannot even begin to express how beautiful this church is. Every single thing is so detailed. It’s impossible to walk through and be able to catch every single thing. No matter where you look there is detailed painting or sculpting.
Next we took a ride up to the top of the bell tower to gaze out over the magnificent city. All you could see are red roofs for miles. The entire island is concrete. It’s amazing to think how difficult it must have been to build this city hundreds of years ago. Every single thing that was put on this island had to be brought over by boat. And it’s not like they had massive diesel powered ships like we do nowadays. Everything had to be carried over by a sail boat and then hauled off by men or animals. Absolutely incredible.
Shortly after we said our goodbye and I headed off to meet up with Anna, a girl from couch surfing that was going to host me but ended up going on a trip the weekend I was there. However, she just got back and she agreed to show me some of the local hotspots of Venice. I was amazed by how she knew her way around, navigating through the narrow windy streets with ease like they all somehow made logical sense. We arrived at a small restaurant called Cantina do spade and ordered a few different kinds of fish to try including calamri (stuffed squid). One of my absolute favorites that my grandma used to make. It tasted just like her recipe but, of course, my grandmothers is better because she’s my grandma.
We finished our meals and our wine and I headed back to the hostel to take a nap before going out later to shoot some night photography.
You Should Always Talk to Everyone
The next day I checked out of the hostel then relaxed in the lobby for a bit to upload some pictures to Facebook. My plan was to explore the city a tad more than take the next train to Milan. However, I did not account for factoring in making a new friend in my plan.
Some girl took a seat next to me and we started conversing. Yan, from China, is studying in France and was taking a short Italy trip during her spring break. We headed into the city together and explored the palace in Mark’s Square. It was just like the church. No matter what room you were in, from floor to ceiling, including the floor and ceiling, was covered in detail.
Afterwards We grabbed lunch, said our goodbye, and I went on my way. And just from having a simple conversation in the lobby I now have a friend in France and in China.