Venice: the City of Fear, Angels or Simply Boatmen?

“Oh lord, don’t dump me now.”

I’m in a strange house, experiencing an unusual feeling called fear, and there’s not a single trustworthy person around me. Actually, there aren’t many people at all, just one man, a real skyscraper who occupies space from the heights as much as from the waist.

I feel my shoulders rise and get more and more tense as I sit in his untidy kitchen, sipping bitter Italian coffee. The man doesn’t let himself to be bothered as he passionately carries on with his monologue about something that my poor Italenglish skills don’t allow to understand. His voice is like a wave: it grasps power until it’s threateningly loud and then rests to go for a second round. He drops in a giggle as he tells me something about him doing drugs..

After an hour-long one-sided silence I rise and walk through a dark corridor straight into my room: a square with no windows and bunkbeds in each corner. I don’t even need to see outside to realise that it’s thunder. Despite the heavy rain, I rush outside to leave the smelly cave for central Venice.

I must look unhappy with my soaking wet feet and rough hair, sitting in a pizzaplace, resting my face on a hand with wrinkled fingertips and numbly stare at nothing specific. That’s when I’m seen by Laura and Sandra:

“Do you want to speak?”

I remember their words so clearly. I lift my gaze and see a warm, welcoming smile. They’re two Venetians enjoying each other’s company over a mother daughter dinner. Their healthy approach to life, sincere interest towards each other, and capability to ‘communicate offline’ instantly lifts my mood.

With the loving feel that they leave inside me, I’m not quite sure if they’re people or perhaps real angels?

Feeling comfort in the heart I drag my feet back outside to a cold street, ready to go back to my hostel, and patiently wait for a new day.

When it finally arrives, this time with a bright sun, I decide to take a walk to the other side of the island. Before I go on allow me to laugh at myself:

“Hold on dear, did you say WALK?”.

Yes, walking is the kind of transportation you don’t want to be using to get to places in Venice. No matter how good your map reading skills are, the unnamed streets just don’t follow the rule of logic. They even trick navigator:

“That’s a wall!”

I shout at the blue dot on Google Maps that innocently guides me through a wall. Understanding that the real streets of Venice are not paved but fluid I step on a boat that serves as a bus, tram or a train in any other city. And with such a picturesque view I don’t even care where this boat is taking me.

Venice Street View

I let my eyes wander from buildings and arch bridges to boats and people in them. I see couples, exclusively tourists, seeking romance in a gondola full of strangers; I get excited over a motorboat of lifesaving service that rushes by and insists passage with blasting siren and flashlight.

By the time it’s dark my boat observation hasn’t yet reached the end. A bunch of lads play thumping music to let chicks know that they’re out tonight and rally around the town with their shabby, old boat. Soon after, a gentelman silently floats by and parks his boat by the doorsteps of a resaturant Il Paradiso. In cosideration of the amount of people in there, Venice really is the city of saints: paradise is that full that people are left to wait for their turn behind the doors.

Venice in the Night

After the mandatory Tiramisu I find myself sitting in the middle of the night. Realizing that the public transport has stopped I’m forced, against my will, to move by foot again. This time I approach locals who swich on ‘venigator’- navi in their head, and with no hesitation point me the direction I need to go.

As I put my head on the pillow I’m struggling with making sense of Venice. Perhaps sometimes people, places and feelings are like Tiramisu: to get the real taste you cannot eat it when it’s freshly made but need to leave it aside and wait a little.


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