The minute I stepped foot off the bus, which was a transfer of a transfer of a transfer, I knew the city of Venice and I would be lifelong friends.
Nothing could curb my enthusiasm. Not the fact that I don’t know more than five Italian words on a good day. Not the biting cold, not the half-melted mounds of snow. Not even that random Italian guy who shouted ‘Hey, hey! Konnichiwa!’ at me within my first twenty minutes. Or, you know, the fact that I got lost trying to find my AirBnB. For two hours, I was wandering around in the dead of the night with 25% battery that was slowly, slowly counting down, randomly connecting to whatever poor, unsuspecting local restaurant made their passcode their name followed by ‘123.’
That, in summation, was my first three hours in Venice, and yet I still fell in love. I mean, a lot of it probably has to do with the fact that I’m a blindly idealistic moron, but there is an actual magic to Venice. It’s the kind of magic that I imagined Paris would hold, but in the end, Paris is just a city.
Venice is something more.
I get lost all the time. Literally constantly. All of my close friends are well-trained to grab me by the collar and yank me back when I start to wander off in pursuit of something shiny! and interesting! I’ve never minded getting lost, but in Venice, I actually enjoyed it. If it hadn’t been for my deep desire to not waste my AirBnB payment and my numb butt, I would likely have been content to just wander the streets, taking turns at whim, another one of the many ghosts I’m sure these now-empty streets hold.
Getting lost here is an inevitability. The winding corridors of stone and water alike are too difficult for even a robot (looking at you, Google Maps) to fully comprehend. The directions a helpful local traffic controller at Piazzale Roma gave me today were basically ‘walk to the big stone bridge. Then keep walking until you see another, smaller stone bridge. Then turn left.’ I ran into at least two other people in random alleyways who gave me that helpless tourist half-smile and said, ‘We’re lost, too.’
So hey, at least I wasn’t alone.
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