In today’s Monday Memories, I am taking you back it again, but this time to Venice – the floating city! Venice is known for its canals, masks, Carnival, and of course, its infamous gondolas.
My friends and I were on Spring Break from our studies in France and we were lucky enough to go considering a
stupid pesky Icelandic volcano that interrupted the first half of our trips. When we decided we were going on our own ‘Tour of Italy‘, we knew the gondolas of Venice were something we couldn’t miss!
When arriving into Venice it is hard to miss the rows and rows of gondoliers waiting to
take your money row you around the Grand Canal and elsewhere throughout the beautiful and historic city. Venice is built on over 100 small islands that are connected via bridges. It also happens to be one of the most confusing cities I have ever been in – we got so turned around, despite having a map! Luckily, the canals are easier to navigate…especially since we weren’t steering!
We had no idea really what to expect when it came to the cost of a gondola ride and of course the gondoliers knew this of us, four giggling American girls. We had some ridiculous prices thrown at us – 200 Euros, 150 Euros. This was a bit too steep for us poor study abroad students. We started to walk away forlornly watching our dream of a gondola ride in Venice vanishing before our eyes, before a man that looked very much like a family friend of mine, Harry, called us and told us he would take us for 80 Euros! That was only 20 Euros each and much more doable that 200! We jumped at the chance. Little did I know that 80 Euro is the going rate set by the Venice government, but at least we didn’t pay more.
Gondolas used the be the major mode of transportation in Venice to conquer the many canals. Now, however they are used mainly to carry tourists and as stereotypical as it was, I was all for being one of those tourists! It was amazing to see how much the city actually is sinking and our gondolier talked about how long Venice has left before it disappears. With each passing year, the waters rises but no one knows for certain when and if Venice will officially sink. ‘Harry’ our gondolier took us around the canals, telling us facts, and of course singing Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’ (that may be because I was taking pictures of him to show my family and friends what he looked like!) in true gondolier fashion.
Despite the fact the Grand Canal was under construction (yep, that is a thing), it was such a gorgeous day and Venice is a stunning city. While it may be a tourist trap, it was still something I would say can’t be missed, because who knows when it will disappear!