Venice: a tale of two cities

Venice, Italy - view from Campanille

Dear Mum,

After 2 weeks on the road we have made it to Venice and oh my god it’s simply stunning. I had heard so much about this magical place that I was certain it was going to be a let-down but after 3 days here I really don’t want to leave.

This place is so unique; I think that if I travelled around the world for the rest of my life I wouldn’t find anything remotely similar. The canals are so picturesque that it is impossible to take a bad photo! Especially the Grand Canal which snakes through the centre and the Rialto Bridge, it looks like something straight out of a picture book.

The best thing about the city has to be the fact that there are no cars so none of the beeping, cursing and general noise ubiquitous in every other city on earth. All you can hear is the relaxing lapping of water and the soft splash of bunting poles propelling the gondolas forwards. Bliss!

Gondolas in Venice, Italy

Piazza San Marco, the most famous square in the city, is spell-binding. St Mark’s Basilica, which dominates the eastern side of the square, is so opulent, it simply has to be seen to be believed. Also the Campanile of St Mark’s church, which is the tallest building in Venice, offers absolutely amazing views across the whole island settlement.

Whilst its true that there are a lot of tourists here, I am one of them so who am I to complain? And with a little bit of walking you can escape the masses, as the areas of Cannaregio to the north and Castello to the east are generally free of the mob.

Well, better go for one last walk around as I will miss this place for sure but I will definitely be back one day.

Lots of Love


Venetian masks, Venice, Italy. souvenirs

Hey Mum,

So we have arrived in Venice but I think there must have been some mistake. I had read that Venice was the most romantic city on Earth, full of wonder and so beautiful that words cannot do it justice. Well, I shall try.

Firstly, it seems as if the skies have opened up and it rained tourists. It’s like being stuck in a lift with a flatulent fat man. There’s no escape and it gets worse with each passing second. Hordes of screaming children, over enthusiastic camera happy-snappy types who think that every shop selling generic crap is a boutique of wonder and most shout about it to every member of their 30 strong tour group. More than once I have considered throwing them, or myself, into one of the dirty smelly canals with a solid base of concrete shoes.

God, I would hate to live here; the place is like Disneyland only without the saving grace that at least Mickey and co are paid to be nice to you. The locals are an unhappy unfriendly lot, unless you are carrying a bulging wallet and have a carefree attitude to how much you will spend on shitty food. Accommodation and transport prices are extortionate and only the super rich, or stupid, can afford to pay 80 € for a 10 minute gondola crawl.

And please don’t talk to me about the beauty of the canals. They stink and when it rains to much, they flood. The only thing more pervasive than the sewage are the pigeons and the pickpockets, oh and ridiculous rules like not being able to sit on the floor in the main square and eat your own food.

Prohibited in Venice, Italy

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s fair to say I don’t like Venice!

Lots of Love


St Mark's Square, Venice, Italy

written by: Jon


Follow our 2 month hitch-hiking trip across the north of Italy and the Balkan Peninsula:‘The Balkan Peninsula by Thumb 2013′. It’s happening now!



Nostalgia Bolognese A hitch-hiking day that could have gone so easily…
Nostalgia Bolognese
A hitch-hiking day that could have gone so easily…


About Hitch-Hikers Handbook

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9 Responses to Venice: a tale of two cities

  1. So… which one was the truth? :)

    • that would be telling :) Have you been to Venice? What did you think?

      • I had heard both of the above opinions so many times that I really steeled myself for the possibility of hating it. But, perhaps because I went in May instead of July/August or some such, it wasn’t crazy hot, there was no bad smell, and while there were a decent number of tourists, it wasn’t overwhelming and 90% of them were in Piazza San Marco and on the Rialto Bridge. We didn’t wait in the long line for the cathedral and instead walked around the main island and then went over to Murano and San Michele. All in all, a great time. :)

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  4. annetbell says:

    Well, I will respond to what I think is the truth. I have been fortunate to have traveled quite a bit and of all the cities I have visited, Venice is my #1. It is magical, and like a fairy tale. NO place on earth is like it as far as I know. I have been there in all seasons, but the most incredible time was Carnivale in February where the Piazzo St Marco was filled on a foggy night with bands and costumed and masked figures, dancing in the night. I am sure there are pictures on Google. A memory never to be forgotten…. just my story….. Check out my blog mostly on our 4 months in India! Namaste. . . .Anne

  5. Haha i love the juxtaposition of image that you have created, and I’d have to say that from my perspective, they are both true!

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