A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time.
-Homer, The Odyssey
Venice is like a rat maze.
Before arriving in Venice I read that it was “the perfect city to get lost in”.
I for one didn’t agree that it so perfect when I was carrying two bags around for three hours up and down the Rialto Bridge, rushing to get to our hostel so we could get dressed for Carnival. Getting lost is really only fun when your not carrying anything heavy, it’s a little warmer out and you have ample time to do so.
We soon realized that people that have lived in Venice for years still don’t know their way around Venice. When we finally stumbled across our hostel (marked with a post-it note), we learned that we were actually going to be renting an apartment from a woman named Laura. Laura lived in Venice for 9 years and when we asked her if she ever gets lost, she replied “all the time”.
Not knowing your way around can lead to some other troubles.
Once we finally got to our hostel, we didn’t have a lot of time to get dressed for a ball we were attending for Carnival. We hurried to put on our gowns and slug down two bottles of wine before we left the apartment. However, once we left we soon realized we had no idea where the ball was. We rushed over bridges and through passageways asking anyone for directions to the hotel. We made quite a scene sprinting through the canal streets in ball gowns (that I might add were homemade and slowly falling apart..I might also add I believe that part of my dress is still in the Grand Canal). Inevitably we ended up taking an expensive water taxi to get there (more like a limo on water really, white leather seats, wooden trim).
Finally, after one hectic day, we arrived. Thank god.
Wait a second..whats this? We are the only ones here? Out of breath and confused, we were seated. No one else was even there.. and then we realized, we were an hour early. Time zones will get you.
Not knowing your way around can also lead to even more trouble.
I have been in some pretty cold environments. I’ve skiid, I’ve done the polar bear plunge, I’ve been camping in Montana. Maybe I haven’t climbed Mount Everest in my underwear, but I think I am pretty acclimated to cold weather. While we rented an apartment in Venice (in February), somewhere along the lines we broke the heating system. No heat. No hot water. Two days left. This wouldn’t have been a problem if we knew how to get back to Laura or if we had cellphones. Unfortunately, neither of these things were an option (as you would know if you’ve ever tried to remember your way back to anywhere in Venice). I will tell you with a straight face to this day that the coldest place I have ever been in my entire life was Laura’s apartment.
Even though I froze through three nights of torture, I spent most of my time without a clue how to get home, I cut my ankle open while trudging through the water when Venice flooded, and I spent most of my money on expensive water taxis that I definitely didn’t need to take, these are the moments that I look back to in my head and miss. These are the moments that we can reminisce about and laugh about.
My point is this: it is these troublesome moments that really make a mark on our memories, more so than the great moments. Memories of times that challenged us will bring us together, will help us learn and will create moments that we will never forget.