The last time I was in Venice, it was December and quite possibly the complete opposite of tourist season. Therefore when I suggested a day trip to the city, I had no idea who different the floating (sinking) city would be in the summer, especially in the roasting hot weather of an Italian June.
Basically, there were about 10 times as many people as last time and millions of tourist trap stores and vendors. Especially traumatic for me were the ugly fake gondolier straw hats on the tourists.
Despite the high 90s temperature, Rach and I decided to wander the city in search of Venetian coffee and food, as well as any entertainment that the city could provide. Rach quickly discovered Venetian lace and happily browsed the shops until she found some pretty lace butterflies. I drooled over the gorgeous masks again, but managed to not buy another one (mostly because we had several more weeks of travel time and I doubted that it would survive those weeks while being totted in my backpack).
Even though the heat was suffocating, no one was even touching the canal waters. Apparently they are that scary. And no, they didn’t reek—some small little alley-like canals smelled like swamp water, but nothing too gross all things considered.
St. Marco’s Piazza was about 100F and we quickly made the decision that waiting in the LONG line was not worth it. I prefer to not die of heat stroke. Instead we hid from the heat in a precious little Venetian café, marking ourselves as tourists in need of ripping off by sitting down at a table instead of standing at the bar.
I didn’t even care because Venetian coffee is always amazing and sitting down in air conditioning for an hour was worth the tourist surcharge. I also got to witness one of my favorite forms of entertainment: Americans trying to order coffee in Europe. This dad in Bermuda shorts sat down nest to me in the tourist section and tried to order. Key word being, tried.
“Umm, Can I get 2 coffees?”
“Espresso or Americano?” asks the waiter who is obviously used to American sand our coffee expectations.
“American coffee,” goes Bermuda dad. “With milk.”
“Ahh, with milk! You want cappuccinos,” the waiter suggests, probably misunderstanding on purpose to punish the dumb foreigners.
“Yes,” Bermuda dad nods, though that’s nothing like what he wants.
To add to my entertainment, he then notices me watching and asks, “Did I pass for a local?”
I tried not to snort coffee out my nose.
After coffee we continued to wander, getting gondola offers every five feet and climbing up and down a million Venetian stairs.
On the train back to Verona we roasted because the air conditioner was very old-fashioned: roll down the windows and wait for the breeze. Which doesn’t work when the windows are broken…On the plus side, I finally saw a conductor, which means that TrenItalia only has ticket control on 1/5 of their trains! Good to know.
We ended up in Verona 90 minutes ahead of schedule and had to drink beer while waiting for the B&B receptionist to show up. That night we also drank Italian beer for the first (and last, it sucks!) time. Italians should just stick to wine because their beer is just…ick.