And what a difference a day makes. I woke up Saturday to sun. Well, not sun, but thin clouds with patches of blue. Because the previous day’s inbound bus had been packed and the high tide had been ever so much fun what with the wet feet all day, I decided to leave later. Sleeping in was not an option as everyone else in the building was up, slamming doors and running water so I dragged my self down to the fully stocked but still disappointing breakfast. Okay, call me spoiled but I’m used to a much more varied menu. Scrambled eggs, wet bacon, tinned pears, a couple of unattractive bread choices, slices of lunch meat and one kind of cheese, cereal and water or, I swear, Tang to drink is just not up to snuff. No fried halluomi, no bread pudding, some hotels have a table devoted to fruit! At least they brought coffee to the table.
I stalled until nearly ten before setting out to the bus where I triple checked and committed to memory the number (12) and when it arrived in Venice I committed the lane number to memory (B5). To be fair the bus I had gotten on the day before was #2 in lane B6. So close. I had planned to go straight to the vaporatto for a sightseeing cruise, but when I got off the bus I noticed a different bridge into the city. The route I had taken in the day before was under construction so it was like a cattle run, but with graffiti, and it dumped you into the Times Square version of Venice. This bridge went into a neighborhood area with a few little shops and laundry hanging across the canals. It was sunny. I was warm. My camera battery was charged. What more did I need?
Lunch. The missed dinner and the unappetizing breakfast caught up with me around midday and I kind of got my heart set on a rolled sandwich containing some form of pig meat. The previous day, when I didn’t want food because I was too busy being cold, I saw them all over the place. Saturday, nada. I even attempted to retrace my route from the day before and that was a dismal failure. Every thing in Venice is a narrow alley or an odd shaped courtyard with a capped well in the middle of it. I spent half the day being certain I was in that very courtyard before, but weren’t they doing construction then? And no sandwiches to be found. I eventually broke down and purchased a calzone which was spectacularly disappointing and overpriced. Of course, within half an hour I spotted a shop selling the sandwiches I had wanted. It’s a sandwich. I have tortillas and ham at home. But this is Venice!
Legs tired I decided to take that vaporatto ride I had been promising myself. I found the nearest stop, which was not a line I had been on before and hopped on figuring they all went around in circles.
Before I learned that, I rode down the Grand Canal which was much more attractive in the sun and I hopped off at an impressive looking building that turned out to be the only thing to see in that general area. Then I hopped back on the vaporatto and rode it to the end of the line which was on an entirely different island. There was a huge terminal there so I wandered around a bit. Took some pictures. Debated gelato. Then I found another vaporatto going in a more favorable direction.
On the way to the island of difficult return, I had seen a park from the boat. There was a stop there, so it was just a matter of getting on a boat that went there. After being in busy downtown Venice and terrifyingly crowded San Marco Square, the park was astonishing. More trees than people! Statues! A wide boulevard leading to a fountain that appeared to have a statue of Marco Polo on top. That whole block leading back in the general direction of San Marco Square was very quiet and largely owned by Chinese people. My first clue was the pair of little Chinese girls riding their bikes down the road chattering in Italian. I gave in to the desire for gelato there. Not ice cream, not ice milk either, somewhere in between but tasty.
I managed to get to the Rialto Bridge (and then in a bad case of Twilight Zone-ism, couldn’t get away from it). It is purported to be the prettiest bridge in Venice. Those who purport need to look around a little. There are at least a dozen prettier bridges. It’s not just the hordes of tourists ruining the view either. It’s a tall bridge with shops built on it in two rows near some unassuming buildings and along the backs of the shops there is graffiti. What is pretty about this? I saw dozens of bridges, tall bridges, low bridges, wide bridges, bridges with stairs, bridges between buildings, bridges in front of beautiful buildings. What makes this bridge better? Advertising. Don’t fall for it. Unfortunately, like a black hole, once you get near it, you can’t seem to get away.
At some point while I was trying to escape the gravity of the Rialto Bridge I started seeing signs on the ground for bathrooms. After the impossibility of finding bathrooms in Paris curiosity got the better of me and I followed the signs down the road, up an alley, through a tiny courtyard with a restaurant, down another alley, around a corner to a surprisingly clean building where they were charging one and a half euros to use the facilities. They were clean and stocked so I couldn’t really complain except that I only had a two euro coin and they gave me ten pennies and a handful of other small coins as part of my change increasing the weight of my purse unnecessarily.
Having burned up most of the day, I decided it was time to head back to the hotel. At the top of the bridge leading to the bus station, I spotted my bus and in the effort to hurry nearly went face first down the cement steps. On the bus I asked the driver if he went to the neighborhood my hotel is in and handed him my card. He said he did. I told him that I had gotten on the wrong bus the night before and he chuckled, but made sure I got off at the right stop. I stopped in at the restaurant for some carry out and ended up buying a three day supply of lasagna. Who knew that the piece he was indicating was actually twice the length of the spatula?