As I knew I didn’t have much time in Venice, and that about half of both the North American and Asian continents were in Venice with me (Venice in July, who wouldn't want to be there?), I figured I’d take the advice that I read online: get out early. Roberto, the man at the front desk, told me where the locals hang out in the mornings, where the good markets are and how to get there.
(For the record, he thought it was crazy that I would walk more than halfway the length of Venice. If only he knew just how much I walked that day, that was only the beginning.)
So I pulled myself out of bed bright and early (the sun rose around 5:45) and went on my way. The light was beautiful and the weather was a lot better than it’d be at 2 p.m. that day. Little did I realize just how empty the streets would be and how peaceful it was. Also to my surprise: there were several runners, something I wish I had thought about, but running shoes probably wouldn’t have fit very well in my regular-size backpack I brought. Next time.
Men were out sweeping the streets with their brooms that looked handmade or like something out of Snow White. Then trash boats came around to collect all the trash that’d been placed near their docks, and delivered food and drinks. I saw so many people carrying so many things. It was exhausting just to look at.
I took this opportunity to just walk. I didn’t go back to my hotel until almost three hours later, when I had to, because of breakfast, and realized at a certain point that I had no idea where I was and that was okay because it’s not like you can get too lost in Venice.
I’d heard that the real way to see Venice is to get lost: just walk until you find something and then walk some more and then make a few more wrong turns, and you’ve done Venice right. I did that, and eventually got to the markets that Roberto had told me about, but the walk there allowed me to see some amazing things.
I'd see streets (alleys?) later that I recognized just because I'd taken a picture of something there, or see the same doorway or boat. For someone who's very spatially aware and can usually figure out directions in a new place almost automatically, this was a new experience. You couldn't see anything other than tall buildings around you, and without the sun, I was lost.
There was something about windows and doorways and plants here.
And then I saw this. I didn't go in, but wonder what it would have been.
Saw some nuns out on their morning walk.
See what I mean about that light? The Grand Canal.
There were Vivaldi concerts almost every night and every time I walked by a concert hall I considered it, as I could only imagine the quality of music you'd be listening to. The shows ended up being at bad times and a bit too expensive to make it worth it. (I had two nights in Venice, and one was already spoken for, so maybe that was my fault. Next time!)
And then back to the hotel for breakfast and a short break before braving the heat for the rest of the day.