My best friend and former teammate, Savannah, traveled all the way from Arizona to be my travel companion for a week. We met for a brief adventure through Milan and then took the train to Venice that evening.
They say if you don’t get lost in Venice, then you aren’t doing something right. Well, Savannah and I definitely did Venice “right” by these standards. When we stepped off the train, the sun had already gone down and the city was covered in darkness. We climbed the Ponte degli Scalzi, or the Scalzi bridge, and looked out over the grand canal. Mist hung in the air and scattered around the buildings that seemed to grow out of the water and dim lights reflected across the canal. We stopped and looked out for a while, soaking up the city and trying to digest the fact that we were actually, truly standing in Venice.
Savannah and I followed maps and directions I had taken pictures of on my phone and printed directions from the hostal, and we made it pretty darn close to where we were staying. We followed the maps through the narrow streets, onto a ferry, off of a ferry and around churches and shops into a place called Campo Santo Stefano. However, when we got to this square, (and were literally only 2 minutes away from the hostal) is when everything went downhill. We tried every single street that lead away from the square and we asked over five or six italians for directions. Most of them tried to help, but even with their pointing and hand signlas, they often sent us in the wrong direction or back to the square we had come from. After two hours of walking round and round, we walked into a restaurant and asked the lady to call the hostal to tell them we would be late. Instead of making us buy food or having us sit down for dinner to use the phone and wifi, she asked us what hostal we were looking for and walked us to a man in a different hotel who walked us right to the front door so we couldn’t get lost again. I don’t know how we would have found the place without her help.
After dropping our bags off, we headed back out into the zig-zaggy, name-changing streets of venice and made our way to San Marco Square for a pizza, salad, and of course, some gelato after dinner. Sav ordered Pistachio and I ordered the Bacio Gelato, which is a chocolate hazlenut flavor with small chunks of hazlenut. It is designed to taste like the famous silver and blue wrapped candies that are all over Italy.
The next morning, Sav and I wandered the streets once more. They were much easier and more enjoyable in daylight and with a paper map from the hostal. We window-shopped all of the bakery and pastry shops looking for the best one and were eventually drawn to a little glass one where sweet and buttery smells wafted into the street everytime the door swung open. It was like a secret club where you hear only a glimpse of the music every time the door opens. Sav bought a slice of pastry with spinach in it that tasted like some kind of savory quiche and I bought a circular scone-type pastry with huge chocolate chips called “Ciambella Cioccolato”. We ate our breakfast while sitting on the edge of the water where we could see people go about their daily lives.Eventually, we completed our journey in Venice full-circle back at the train station to head to the next stop of our trip through Italy.
Round in circles through the city , round pizza, round gelato, round scone. I had a good time running ‘round Venice. And that’s an un-wrap.