Updated August 2022
Venice is a dream. It is unreal. But to me, it has also always been kind of uncanny. Maybe because it’s sinking, or maybe because of the scary masks everywhere for the balls. Or maybe it’s the maze-like streets, where you can get lost and never find your way out. Or maybe I just had the wrong guide…
THE HAPPY BEGINNING
You start out happy and excited of finally being at this most iconic city of canals:
When you first arrive, it’s all spectacular and golden. You enter the UNESCO-listed city by boat, and from afar you begin to make out the different palaces until you finally set foot on this floating city.
As my guide Gustav said:
LOOKING FOR ST MARCUS
You can certainly follow him, when he describes this magnificent city. Climb the campanile and look into the maze of this city. The first glimpse just puts you in awe. You cannot visit Venice without heading for the square of St Marcus. Here you find the symbol of Venice – the winged lion- high above your head on a pillar.
The symbol of Venice is also found all over the Adriatic sea, since the republic of Venice was a large financial and maritime power during the Middle ages and the Renaissance. Many of the crusades also started from here and the wealth came from trade with silk and spices.
CHANGE OF WEATHER
Venice is actually quite damp. And when the sun is gone you can really feel it. Everything looks grey.
You might also want to ride in a gondola, but it is a bit overrated. And way overpriced. But do it if it is important to you. I did the first time I was in Venice. Even though the guides description was somewhat off-putting. Not your usual tourist blabber. It went something like this:
Venice is a place of mystery, and love. And my guide did fell in love on the beach near the city. We also stayed by the lido, the two times I’ve been. He just kept on rambling about this love of his, it was like he was obsessed.
THE SAD ENDING
But then and some people at the hotel caught some virus. Don’t eat oisters and clams! When you asked people they said:
But what happened to my guide was even more sad. He died. By a horrible disease. Everyone else was leaving, but he stayed just so he could be with his love. So he died in a chair on the lido. Made me cry, when I heard.
Did I mention my guide was the poet Gustav von Aschenbach? He is the main character in the world class novel “Death in Venice” by Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann. So don’t worry – no humans or animals were harmed. But the experience of Venice was.
Once the largest sea empire ever – now a sinking ship. Due to environmental change, pollution, mass tourism (yes, us) and bad political decisions Venice is disappearing in many ways. Another reason not to visit Venice is the massive over-tourism, that is destroying the city and making it intolerable for the residents.
After COVID19 restrictions are now tighter with a day tourist tax and a maximum of visitors and cruise ships. Good for everyone. I don’t think I will go back ever again. I considered going during the pandemic since the streets were allegedly empty. But never managed. But I guess that is easy for me to say, when I have already visit the Venice of the world.