Well we made it to one of Europe’s most famous cities, Venice. Venice has been known by many names, “La Dominante”,” Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The floating City” and the “City of Canals”. Maybe one name they have forgotten is “The City of Kamikaze Pigeons”. The crazy pigeons fly at break-neck speed at head height straight for your face. It was kind of funny at the start but it did get a little ridiculous. We started to see if we could give them a whack when they were trying to dive bomb us. Venice has been described as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man” by The New York Times. Yes it is
beautiful and is steeped in history, but that is a BIG call. I have visited countless beautiful cities and would consider Venice up there with the best of them but it is now over-run by tourists and it shows. It is dirty, there is rubbish everywhere, the famous canals are filled with all types of tourist waste and the usual scammers and pick-pockets are everywhere. One of the Contiki crew got their bag nicked. They had to chase the guy through the streets with the pick-pocketer throwing stuff out as he ran. They were lucky and got everything back minus their money. They did however miss the ferry back to our campground. I think they hitched a ride with some random guy. They told us that the police in Venice did not want to have anything to do with them and just moved them on.
We wondered around the city and checked out the must sees, just so we could say we have seen them, like the limestone “Bridge of Sighs” the gothic arches of “Doge’s Palace” and “St. Marks Square” where the killer pigeons attack. Venice has some great markets. I love markets and constantly find myself lost, and found in them. Venice did not disappoint. They were great to loose yourself in. I brought myself a couple of Venetian masks to hang up and even a couple of “hand made” masks that one day I can wear to a Masquerade party. I use the term “hand made” loosely as I am sure they were made in bulk and the lady probably says that to all of her customers, but they looked great and are something that I can look back on and remember.
One of the must do things in Venice is take a Gondola ride. Contiki had organised one for us and we all bundled onto our tiny little long boats and were guided through the Labyrinth of canals by men wearing black and white striped shirts and red neck tie things (yes they actually do wear that). We were told that we would be on the Gondola for 45mins but were back at the jetty in 30mins, feeling a little ripped off however it was pretty cool to see Venice from the water in something that is a part of the cities magic. We could see how the buildings actually
went below the water level. You could see some of the buildings had doors that you could no longer use as the water is now half way up them. But, it gave us a closer look at how dirty the water is and how much the city needs help, it is sinking and it is noticeable. I have seen photos of St. Marks Square under water; they erect planks of wood so people can walk around it.
That night at least 6 Contiki buses full of 18 to 30 something’s ready to party converged on the campground. Contiki put on the “Fusina Beach Party” which is one EPIC party. Cheap drinks and plenty of them. Everyone gets a “Lifeguard” singlet and everyone is
just wearing their bikinis and boardies. It is a hot night so there is not much clothing being worn by both sexes. They had a sumo wrestler comp, tug of war and a DJ that got everyone dancing like mad. They announced the start of the “Abs of Steal” comp for the guys and the “Wet T-Shirt” comp for the girls. By this time everyone was pretty liquored up and ambitions were out the window, down the river and out to the ocean. Guys were getting all greased up by the Contiki girls and were at home flexing there muscles, the Girls were getting hosed down, wiggling and jiggling all over the stage, Much to the excitement of all the rather intoxicated male gappies (Gap year students). At one stage a wet t-shirt competitor thought I don’t need this shirt anymore and off it came. Later that night a certain Japanese man who is a complete legend and can party bloody hard jumped up on stage and dropped his pants much to the surprise and cheers from the crowd.
The next morning a few very sore heads were slowly rising and making their way up to breakie, all looking worse than the next. We sat in silence nursing our breakie, thanks Vee you are a champ until someone piped up and said, “Does anyone remember…………” . Then everyone’s stories came out and there were a few. We packed up tents, had our much needed coffee’s at hit the road to Florence.
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