This is part 3 (the last part) of my trip to Paris, Rome, and Venice.
Sunday June 17
9.5 miles | 23,142 steps
Ah Venice. The city that looks so good on postcards and instagram. Indeed, all my photos in Venice turned out beautiful regardless of where I pointed my camera. What photos don’t capture is the sweltering heat, the uncomfortable lack of trash cans, the exorbitant price tags, and the swarms of people.
Now picture this.
It’s 88℉ (or 31℃). There is no wind blowing. No shade. Almost no public benches anywhere. Vendors charge 5 euros for a bottle of Coca-cola (a small bottle by American standards!) The bottle isn’t even cold. There are tiny bridges everywhere. Bridges with stairs. So many stairs up and down and up and down.
For lunch you wait in line outside for 30 minutes to buy a box of “pasta to go” from a popular shop. There are no tables or chairs. All around the city are signs that say “no eating or drinking here,” “no sitting on the steps,” and “no sitting on bridges.” Where are you going to eat your pasta?? Well, standing up in some alleyway. You get bumped the whole time by other tourists squeezing past you — because every single alleyway is packed with people. At least the pasta is good. Really good.
When you reach the Piazza San Marco (or St. Mark’s Square), you realize that Saint Mark’s Basilica is not open to visitors until 2:00 pm because it’s Sunday. Of course. So you wait around and take photos of nearby buildings and visit some gift shops. When you return at 2:00 pm, there is already a line of people stretching across the plaza. How did this happen? The line takes 30 minutes before you reach the entrance. The unlucky woman in front of you could not enter because her dress “revealed too much shoulder,” and she was pressured into buying a scarf. You enter the basilica and, yes it’s nice, but definitely not nicer than St. Peter’s Basilica…or the Notre-Dame. Everything inside the basilica is curtained off. You have to pay extra to see this part of the building. And then extra to see that part of the building. You leave in 5 minutes.
For the rest of the day, you wander around the city looking for souvenirs or stop for a drink. You want to ride in a gondola but it costs 60 euros per half hour. You look down at your wallet. Nevermind. The people in gondolas don’t look happy anyways. It’s too hot, and there is no shade on the water.
If you need to use the restroom, you need to find a restaurant/café or pay 1.5 euros at some sketchy public restroom. Did I already mention that there is nowhere to sit? The lack of benches is so strong that the majority of tourists are gathered in front of the train station to sit on the steps.
Anyways. This was a pretty pessimistic view of Venice. The city really is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But it definitely has its uglier side. My main takeaways are: don’t visit Venice in the summer; wear good walking shoes; and bring lots of money 😅.