I started the day late today and didn’t get out the door til 11am. All the guys I met last night had left and I was once again on my own. I didn’t mind though as I was set to just wander around the city and explore.
The city is actually pretty easy to navigate once you get used to it. For the first little while I kept looking at the map to see which bridge I had crossed and where I was but after a while I stopped looking at it and just kind of wandered.
It helps that on many of the walls where the street names are printed there are also arrows leading to the major areas of the city. Since my final destination of the day was in one of those major areas all I had to do was follow the arrows and I could wander off the path anytime I wanted.
For breakfast/lunch I stopped in this little pizza place off the beaten path (read: cheaper) and had a huge slice of sausage pizza with a coke. I started on my walk again and sat down on some steps by the water to finish the slice.
It was actually so good I went back and got another one. In fact, I would do the same thing at another place later on in the day. I stopped at a crepe place to get what I’ve been craving for awhile – a nice savory crepe. The one I had was with cheese, ham and mushrooms. It was so good I ended up going back there a couple of hours later.
First I continued walking down to Piazza San Marco. This is the main center of attraction for Venice as it contains several tourist things like the cathedral, the bell tower and palace.
Before I made it there though I happened upon a church with signage outside advertising a concert of Vivaldi music. When I was looking for things to do online the night before one of the things on the list was to see a Vivaldi concert. I went inside and bought a 25 euro ticket for the concert at the church later that night.
All right! I was going to a classical concert in Venice!
I finally made it to Piazza San Marco and prepared to stand in line for Palazzo Ducale. I was a little put off by the 16 euro entry fee and after about 10 minutes in line as I reached the front I spied a sign that said no photos.
Hmmph! Screw that! I’ve seen enough palaces anyway. So, I headed to the next attraction – the Campanile di San Marco. The attraction here is the fact that it’s the tallest building in Venice at 323 feet. So I paid my 8 euros and went up the lift (no stairs there) to the top. Interesting how on the button panel for the elevator it said “scam” – just saying…
I was able to take some nice shots of the city, of course once I had shooed the herd of tourists away (seriously, they get in the way of everything!)
When I was back on the ground I went to the next stop across the plaza – the Basilica di San Marco. The cathedral was actually free to get in but there was a dress code – no shorts. Ummm…. Well, maybe next time…
In fact outside of the Campanile I didn’t see any other attractions. Well, I saw them – I just didn’t go inside…
No biggie. For me, it has become obvious that what makes me tick is not all the sites – the museums, the art galleries, the palaces and churches – it’s the people and the unique experiences.
I met some cool people last night and later in the evening I had a unique experience…
And that would be the classical concert.
I’ve mentioned a few times in my blog about “those moments”. Those times where you know that’s what the trip is all about – where every doubt you have about what you’re doing out here is laid to rest.
Well, the concert tonight was one of those moments.
Amazingly I have never been to a concert for classical music. Little did I know what I was missing. The music was just so moving. As the seven musicians played their varied instruments I could only just watch in awe as they played. I sat there, chin resting in my hands, in complete joy like a child at Christmas. It was the exact same way I felt at good ‘ol Stall 98 in Marrakesh and at the bullring before the bull fight in Madrid.
As I listened to the music I reflected back on each of my 59 days so far. I thought back to the people I had met, the hostels I had stayed at, the transportation between cities and even the food I ate. The great experiences brought smiles but you know what’s funny? The bad experiences also brought smiles.
At the end of the day every experience (good or bad) grows me as a person. In fact the bad experiences I find make the best stories when people ask me about my trip.
After the concert I walked back to the hostel almost like I was on cloud nine. After spending some time on the computer researching stuff for my next stop of Ljubljana in Slovenia I found myself starving at midnight.
I headed back out to get something to eat. Friday night. Midnight. Stuff must be open, right?
Hmmm… it would seem that in Venice – not so much.
After walking for awhile and finding nothing meaningful I settled for a kebab place down the street. Holy crap was it good!
Go figure – all my meals today came from “fast food” takeaway places and they were some of the best food I’ve had in awhile. In fact this might have been the first day on my trip where I didn’t sit down in a restaurant to eat.
And that was the day – pizzas, crepes, kebabs and classical music!