The next morning I rode the shuttle into Venice and began my tour of the city. Rather than leather and jasmine, this city smelt like motor oil and the sea. It was hot and humid and the narrow streets weren't quite large enough to hold all the visitors pleasantly. But oh, how beautiful the city was. I would have loved to just sit and stare at it like a piece of artwork, had it been ten degrees cooler and a third as crowded. Still, I walked the entire length of the Grand Canal. I took lots of pictures and even bought a few souvenirs. In fact, Venice is known for its excellent shopping. Where Florence was high-end designer brands, Venice seemed to be unique boutiques of every kind. I definitely enjoyed the storefronts of Venice much more.
Unfortunately, being a backpacker means you run very short on space and even shorter on cash, so I looked and looked and looked but soon decided Venice would be much more enjoyable should I have loved ones with me and money to spend with them on delicious eats, drinks and gifts.
Another fact about Venice, is that it is incredibly easy to get lost in. The streets are all would up around rivers and canals and just when you find a good path going north, you have to walk west, south and east a few blocks before you can continue going north because the road will just stop and turn into wall without warning.
After an hour of walking, I found my art gallery. As it turns out it was closed on Tuesdays and that particular day was a Tuesday. I was a bit disapointed because other than the gallery, every other form of site-seeing or entertainment cost money. I was covered in sweat and my skin was burning from the harsh Venician sun. My water bottle was running low and I didn't know what else to do besides continue to wander and wonder at the things I couldn't afford. Around this time I decided to walk an hour back to the bus stop so I could return to camp and rest up, out of the sun.
Sure enough I ran into Jessica at the bus stop. She too was overheated and under-watered. We talked about all the things we had seen that morning. She went to the beach before riding into town and I had spent my morning enjoying the pool at our campsite. We agreed that Venice wasn't ideal for backpackers, thought it was terribly beautiful.
After naps and rehydration, we met at the on-site restaurant and enjoyed a feast of all feasts complete with excellent conversation. Jessica was easy to talk to and I felt as though her and I were highly compatible. If only we weren't heading in opposite cities within 24-hours--such, is backpacking.
After dinner Jessica retired to her room and Charles joined me for an evening sit. We were just jumping in to a wonderful conversation on dating and traveling when a bird from up above blessed me with droppings in my clean hair, all over my shirt and on my shoulder. We paused the conversation for a 15-minute shower break.
When I returned Charles had a whole new army of friends around him. Marla, from Mexico, Rory from England and two guys from Sweden who were very tall. I introduced myself and told them what had happened. Marla and Rory smiled simultaneously and told me that getting pooped on by a bird was good luck in both of their countries. I laughed when Marla asked me where the poop got me. She said the more places it hit, the luckier I'd be. I said it sounded alright with me!
Marla was a enthralling character all her own. For one, I had never met a Mexican backpacker and the others agreed, it seemed unique even though she assured us there were plenty of Mexican explorers. Marla had been living in England for two years now. She was doing an internship and traveling around during her free time. She had been to Germany, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic and several other places and was in route to the Scandinavian countries.
Soon we listened as she explained how Spaniards hated Mexicans, especially those traveling through their country. She had been treated very poorly while in Spain and said the Mexicans call the Spaniards “Sangre Gruesa” or “Thick Blood” because of how hard it was to digest their attitude towards them.
Rory had a great story too, he was a butler on a famous train that went from Venice to Paris. He said it was great money and he got to travel as well. Throughout the evening we all sipped our wine and swapped our stories. We had great conversations and ended the night with sweet but sorrowful, “nice to meet you's.” Such is backpacking.