Culture, Interrailing, Italy

2 Fat Ladies Euro Tour 2015: Waterways, bell towers and broken toes…

August 19, 2015

Venezia. What a place! It’s just incredible when you first see it. Transport is really easy to use, especially when you get given free Venezia Unico cards! Thank you to ze Germans! I feel bad because we didn’t say thank you. They were genuine people who were only going to throw them away, but at this point we were so wary of illegal businesses, prying on gullible tourists such as ourselves, that we slowly took them, believing it too good to be true. In Florence anyone who bought a sarong from the street sellers outside the cathedral were sent to the back of the queue by police!

First view of Venice!

Vaporetto numero uno with free transport cards…

 

Our B&B was beautifully boutique but we didn’t realise how expensive it was as we’d booked each hotel for the trip per month’s wage so it wasn’t such a hit. Woops! At the same time most hotels are expensive in Venice and sometimes skimping on quality just isn’t worth it. Our routine is now well established and so we do spend a good amount of time in the hotels as we usually come back for a couple of hours in the late afternoon to re-energise and get ready for the nighttime adventures. Plus there’s Wi-Fi so we update our statuses, get in touch with our loved ones and in Laura’s case, Instagram the hell out of the day’s photos! I have to admit they look amazing. I should really reset my password…

 

Vanessa, the lady who runs the B&B, left us a little welcome package of a map, bottle of rosé and the WiFi code. I got straight onto the map, familiarising myself with the city’s main sights and transport routes and off we went, into the windy maze of  cobbled streets…

 

I’d saved some recommended restaurants on TripAdvisor so we went to a little place not far from the hotel. We got talking to an American guy, who lo and behold was staying at the same hotel with his son! (there are only 3 rooms so small world) We hoped his son would be attractive, but he turned out to be a chubbier version of Mulan. Nice guy though. Such is life!

Cicheti (tapas like Venetian bar food)

 

En route back from our evening’s stroll, we so deeply believed that we were heading in the direction of our hotel, but we ended up going full circle. Groundhog day is inevitable at first I guess in Venice!

 

On our first full day we understood why people say don’t go in July and August. Throngs of tourists from the cruise ships that descend on the Venetian skyline like something from a sci-fi swarm St Mark’s Square and the surrounding areas from 11-4. But we weren’t bothered. The city’s atmosphere wouldn’t be the same, although I’m sure it also has a beautiful charm in the winter months sanza turisti.

 

Evidently we have a thing for bridges and towers. This hotel wasn’t far from the Rialto Bridge, which is one of the only 3 bridges to cross the Grand Canal. It was here that we bumped into a guy who we nicknamed Penis Man, the guy I walked in on having a pee in Florence. We couldn’t believe it! I had to get a picture of him when we met him again later on near the Bridge of Sighs.

 

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Food wise if you go to Venice, Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta To Go is a must. The pesto is so unbelievably rich that you might not finish it! My mouth is salivating at the thought of it. The queue out the door of this tiny takeaway is testament to the quality of the food. People will see your containers as you walk away and ask for directions. Be sure to find a spot alongside the grand canal to enjoy it, but whatever you do don’t sit on the bridges as it comes with a hefty €1000+ fine!

Our new favourite pastime is randomly meeting new people. We met two very funny (presumably gay) English men in a square, one of whom was from Laura’s beloved Stoke and the other recently judged the Southern Agricultural Show in the Isle of Man! Listening to them people watch was like watching Gogglebox live. 

On our last day (hungover from the dramatic events from the night before) we joined forces with an Australian couple and shared a gondola (and price tag of €120 for 35 mins) who were just lovely. They even shared their wine with us and let us borrow their cheap masks that they’d bought for a laugh!

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Laura’s favourite photo of the whole trip. Definitely NOT mine. Would post the nice ones but she has them all!

I think it’s now time to explain the broken toes part of the title… I blame it all on the guidebook that we found in the hotel room. It suggested to go to the Campo de Margherita area to a cool bar called  Orange near the university. There was great music and great cocktails which lead to an impromptu bar crawl which is quite a feat as Venice is a quiet, quaint place that’s asleep by 11! So the toes… Well we ended our bar crawl at a bra bar not far from the Rialto Bridge. I’d befriended some American women (probably to their displeasure, I was very drunk) when Laura decided to go back to the hotel. In hindsight I should’ve gone with her but was too engrossed in my drunken BS conversations. I got back around 1.30(ish) to an also drunken Laura but with some very bloody, very gory toes. Dr.(unk) Turner to the rescue! I made her wash her feet and to both our horrors realised that after getting lost, paying €10 for a human taxi and somehow stubbing her toe along the way, she’d lost a toe nail and severely bruised it’s neighbour. 3am, one round of drunken surgery and shower later I’m in bed. Probably due to hangover anxiety, we sheepishly have breakfast with the other guests and I’m sure the American guy and Mulan know everything…

Bra bar... Also known as Bacaro Jazz

Bra bar… Also known as Bacaro Jazz

 

Our last day consisted of hobbling around Venice and feeling sorry for ourselves (and Laura’s toe). Waiting in line for the bell tower in St Mark’s square in the heat was a bit of a challenge and pigeon poo gamble. The views were excellent, though I’m not sure if my head was spinning from vertigo or the hangover…

 

And so after completing my first novel, I leave you with the following cliffhangers: will Laura’s toe nail grow back? Will Penis Man make it a hat trick? Will we make it through the night on the CNL train? Stay tuned to find out…

Interrail Tip #4 Get yourself a good travel guide book. They’re full of interesting information, maps and great suggestions. Plus you don’t need internet or a battery life. Winner!

 

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