Venice, the love of my life.
17.07.2010 - 19.07.2010 43 °C
I was very scared to go to Venice all by myself because I really just wasn't sure what exactly to expect. I was scared of going to the hostel alone, and I was very scared to be alone in a city that Fabrizio and Silvia told me I was definitely going to get lost in, especially when I'm not fluent in the language.
The drive to the train station in Mezare was beautiful, I saw a couple old castles and Erica and Johnny were very nice to me, they talked to me a lot during the ride. They also said that when I go to Florence I can stay with them so I don't have to spend money on a hostel, which is such a nice gesture! I got to Venice from a short train ride, and was absolutely overwhelmed with how beautiful it was from the second I walked out of the doors. I have wanted to go to Venice my entire life, this was definitely something that I crossed off my bucket list and I can't wait to go back one day. As soon as I got there I went straight into looking for my hostel, I had decent directions but I thought I was a little lost so I stopped to take a couple pictures of this church and I went and sat down on the steps of it, and then I realized that I was in the Piazza where my hostel was. When I got there I was actually nervous, I was scared I was going to be awkward walking in, but after about 15 minutes of me sitting on the stairs psyching myself up to go into the hostel I finally did. It's pretty ghetto, to say the least. As soon as you walk in you have to walk through a gross basement type storage place and then go up some stairs into the main area of the hostel. I went into the common room and checked in and the guy who works there told me there was 3 other girls also from Calgary staying in the same room as me. I couldn't believe it, I was so shocked, what a small world. I went on the internet on my ipod while I was waiting for the beds in my room to be put back up (they take them down every morning and store them, and I'll explain why later) and had a pretty good conversation with a girl who was from Ontario so I immediately felt pretty comfortable. After the beds were all up I went in and chose a bed then the girls from Calgary showed up. They were pretty shocked to hear that I was from Calgary and it was nice because we kind of all bonded over a little hometown pride, their names are Christine, Priya and Kim. Two of them went to a private school (maybe Calgary academy? I don't remember!) and the other one went to St. Mary's I think. We all played some cards together, then ate some dinner and there was a festival in Venice this weekend called St. Patron's day so we went and drank and watched some fireworks together, it was really nice.
The next day I went to St. Marks square and toured the Doge's palace which was amazing, it was unreal so beautiful, and the jail that is attached to it, where Casanova was once a prisoner. I learned a lot about what Napoleon and the french did when they tried to come in and take over Venice one time, it was really interesting, I really like history so I was incredibly interested in everything that was in this place, there really wasn't a room I thought was boring. Actually, thats not true, I didn't like the armory area because I don't really care about weapons, all the swords look the same, as do the bow and arrows so I left that area pretty quickly. I was excited to see Henry IV armour but it's out on loan to a museum in Florence until November so that was a bit of a let down. After I was done in the Doge's palace I went into the basilica of that square and I was amazed, of course. It's huge and gorgeous. First of all walking in I had to pay 2 euro to buy these big red pieces of a mix of fabric and paper to put around my shoulders so they weren't exposed because of my tanktop I was wearing, and around my legs because I was wearing shorts. I remember when I was in either Singapore or Bali and we went to visit temples we had to do this kind of thing but I didn't know that it mattered to Catholics, too. There is also an area called "the treasury" that you have to pay 3 euro to go into, and I'm pretty happy that I did because that was also really cool. It had bones of past Doge's who died, which was slightly creepy but at the same time it was really neat to see that. Then there was another area that you had to pay 2 euro to see where there was this huge gold piece of art, and I don't really know what it was because I was too cheap to spend another 2 euro to get the headset that explains everything about it, but there was a woman who prayed to it so I think it was very significant!! I don't mean to sound like I'm uninterested in what this piece was, it was beautiful but I think I will wikipedia it and see what its significance is. I walked around the church a little bit more and got to a prayer area and I went and prayed and lit a candle and sat and watched all the people pray. There was a family teaching their 4 or 5 year old son to pray and it was really cute, I don't think the boy understood at all what he was doing!! After I was leaving the prayer area and there was holy water and I didn't touch it but a lot of people were putting it on themselves, but I didn't know what to do with it so I didn't bother. Then I walked around and took a picture of a confessional and got scolded by a nun because your not supposed to take pictures in there!! After I was done in the basilica I went into the store of the basilica and was going to buy a rosary for my car but they were so expensive there it was unreal, but people were going after them like it was their job! By this time it was like 5 pm so I decided to go and grab some lunch and head back to the hostel and have a bit of a rest because I was so tired from being on my feet all day, and of course I don't think to put on shoes that are actually comfortable. I wore my gladiator sandals that have no support so my back and knees were sore, I sound like I'm 90 years old but it's hard being on stone floors for like 8 hours!! I didn't go out that night because I was so tired, I just had dinner and hung out a bit and went to sleep!!
The next day I woke up early and went to the Gugenheim museum. I had a bit of a different idea in my head of what it was going to be then what it actually was. There was a few pieces by Picasso which was pretty cool, (and I sneaked pictures) and a whole room of Jackson Pollack art, but for the most part I didn't really enjoy the art that was there. There were so many people there who would like stare at a piece for about 20 minutes and talk about the deep meaning the artist was trying to capture. Oh my god, it was so funny sometimes hearing the things these obviously rich, snotty couples would say about the art. Then these 2 obviously gay guys, Taylor and Ben were talking about a piece of art and were saying the weirdest things about it, and I kind of looked at them or something and they looked at me and they laughed and said that they were joking and they were pissed they spent money to get into the gallery, which is incredibly over rated, so they just wandered around and made fun of the art. I don't remember what I said to that but they heard my accent and asked where I was from, and I told them, and they're from San Francisco (which almost didn't surprise me because thats the gay capital of the world) and I told them I wasn't really into the art that was there either, so I ended up just walking around with them. They did annoy me a bit because they made fun of it a little too much almost, but for the most part it was pretty funny. There was a piece called "what wine does to me" and it was literally scribbles on a large white piece of paper. Taylor, The more effeminate of the two gays burst out laughing and said thats what wine does to him too, but the way he said it made me cry laughing, it was just so funny. After we were done in the main part of the gallery they invited me to go and have lunch with them and I did, but on the way out of the gallery area of the museum you walk through a court yard and there was a Yoko Ono wish tree. I was expecting the boys to write Sarcastic wishes or something because they just didn't really seem to take much seriously but they wrote a couple nice wishes and I was a little touched. Taylor's just said "Freedom" and I didn't ask but I'm assuming it has something to do with freedom of sexual preference, or freedom for him to marry who he wants. Ben's was something about equality for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people, I don't remember exactly what his words were but it was worded really maturely, something like "I wish for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people to not have basic human rights suppressed." They asked about my wish and I explained the reasoning behind it, and took a really nice artsy picture so that will end up on facebook as soon as I have internet access! Lunch was pretty nice, we just sat and talked about A LOT of things, they were really open with me so I wasn't afraid to ask some semi personal questions, I really enjoyed myself. The two of them have known each other since they were born, their mum's are best friends too, they aren't a couple, they have never hooked up, they are 24 now and have been saving up for this trip for a year. They didn't came out to each other when they were like 16 or 17, but even though a lot of people knew they were gay they didn't come out to their parents until they were around 20. I'm sure their parents had some idea they were gay though because they're both stereotypical, slightly over the top. Brad picked up the tab too from which was so nice, I tried really hard to pay my portion, or at least put some money in but he wouldn't let me. After lunch we had to go separate directions but said a little good bye and exchanged info and gave hugs. They were headed to Milan and I had to go back to my hostel and grab my stuff and go to Verona. When I got to the train station I went into the office to see when the next train I could take was and it was in like 5 minutes and it was a train that was to Milan. I was sure that the two guys were long gone because it took me about 2 hours to grab my stuff and go to the train station and there are frequent trains to Milan so I ran to the platform where the train was and started walking to a car that was in the middle and then someone called my name, and it was Taylor!! So I went and sat in the car with them, even though it was "first class" and hung out with them for another little bit on my way to Verona! I'm so surprised how quickly we all connected but it was pretty sweet, and I really hope that somewhere down the road our lives cross again! Hands down two of the most inviting people I have ever met!
The only thing to complain about on my trip to Venice was the hostel. It was only 48 euro total for the two nights that I stayed so because it was so cheap in a place like Venice I really wasn't expecting much. There was no hot water, the whole time I was there. One night a girl who was staying there asked the manager guy why there wasn't any hot water, and he was like "the boiler must have turned off, but I really don't want to go down and light it again." He obviously hadn't showered in the three days that I was there, and he never changed his clothes so I think because he didn't need warm water to shower he just didn't care. I didn't really mind the cold showers because it was so hot there that it was was refreshing most of the time but a couple times when I showered I would hop in, get wet, get out of the shower to warm up a bit, put shampoo and stuff in, and then get back in the cold water really quickly and repeat this until I was done showering. There was also only 2 showers for the 40 people who were staying there so the line moved incredibly slowly in the morning when waiting to shower. We also had a lockout every morning starting at 10. So we had to pack up our stuff have our luggage in the luggage area by 10am or get bitched at by the not so nice girl who worked there. Everyday they took the old bunkbeds down and put them away. They claimed this was because they were doing maintenance, but I never saw any maintenance being done the whole time I was there. They also said this was so they could clean better but it was always pretty dirty. They also had a problem with bed bugs (as a lot of hostels do) but I don't think they were doing much to solve this problem either!! One girl said she heard a rumor that they took the beds down everyday because there is a law in Italy about how many beds can be in a room at one time, and if there is over a certain amount then the place is considered a brothel!! So by Italian law I may have slept in a brothel for a couple nights. yuck. It was so hot and humid in Venice and there was no air conditioning in the hostel so it was so uncomfortable to sleep the first night, especially because there was 12 girls in a small room and one window. There was a big thunderstorm the first night and the window was open and so the doors of the room were slamming, it was so scary, so they closed the window in the room which just made it hotter, it was so bad. The second night I had a fan right beside my bed which was amazing, and I got a pretty good sleep. The hostel did have a free dinner with sangria every night as well as free wifi so that kind of made up for the bad stuff. The only thing that really bothered me was the bed bugs but I don't think I have any bed bug bites, and as soon as I got back to Fulgaria I had a hot shower and scrubbed my body so that none of them would end up in my bed here!!
I love Venice, and I really hope to go back one day. It's definitely one of the most amazing places I have ever been, and something crossed off my bucket list. I learned a lot about myself too that trip because when I came to Italy I didn't want to travel to any other places by myself and stay in a hostel alone, but it's really not as bad as I expected, and it's quite common for people to travel alone. I also like being able to do what I want to do and not have to make compromises or do things that I don't want to do just because I'm with someone. It really pushed me to come out of my shell a bit more. Everything is a learning experience here.