One of the first things our hotel manager said to us upon arrival in Venice was that sometimes it’s more fun to put the map away and just ‘get lost’ instead. He had shown us the main thoroughfare on the map, which is sometimes broad and straight and sometimes zig zag and narrow, but he was really encouraging us to explore the city in a more random way.
So we did a little bit of both, following the map all the way to Piazza San Marco in the morning, but occasionally wandering down a narrow lane or heading off the main route in search of what might be found on the other side of a bridge or a tall building. Doing so revealed wonderful sights. Sometimes it led us to a hidden church, or a small public square with a fountain. Sometimes to another canal with a beautiful bridge, or to a backyard where neighbourhood children were playing games.
We walked along the waterfront from Piazza San Marco, where the bridges were crowded with selfie-taking tourists. We did a bit of window shopping. We bought ice creams and took them to waterways where we could watch the gondolas passing by. There are gondolas everywhere, as you can see in the photos above. They’re quite expensive at 80 euros per person for half an hour, so we’ll save our money and walk instead. A couple of times we saw them caught up in traffic jams, not moving, as a bigger boat coming the other way forced them to wait patiently for clearance to move. Of course, with so much water here, and only foot traffic on the streets, there are no cars or even bikes here in Venice, so much of the transport of heavy goods is restricted to guys pushing trolleys around, including carefully pushing them up the steps of the bridges and down the other sides. I wouldn’t want to be a truckie in Venice.
In the afternoon we took a more random route, walking in the other direction back to the train station, but diverting from the main street often to explore a church or check out something we thought might be of interest. We had to agree with our hotel manager’s assessment that sometimes it can be fun to get lost in Venice. It’s a beautiful city.