Sometimes in travel, just like in life in general, things just don’t go fabulously. This was the case for my husband and I the day we traveled to Venice from Austria.
Everything started off fine. We caught a train from one town in Austria to another, and with 15 minutes in between when the train got into the station and when the bus to Venice left, we figured out where the bus was and made it with a couple minutes to spare.
The not so great part of the day started when we got off the bus and had to figure out where the ferry was that could take us to the Lido of Venice where we were staying. After walking around confused for awhile, we found the ferry area but could only find ticket window drive-thrus. My husband went to ask the kiosk man where we could buy tickets, and the man blatantly ignored him, so he just waited on line on foot while everyone else was in cars. We later figured out that this was because we purchased tickets for the ferry that everyone with cars uses to transport their vehicles to Venice. We had to climb up and down the narrow ferry stairs with our heavy luggage, which would have been fine had we not arrived in Venice and had to walk nearly 2 miles to our hotel.
Two miles might not sound like a lot, but it is when you have a lot of baggage, the hot sun beating down on you, and no idea where you’re going. We would have hopped in a taxi, had we passed one at all. And unfortunately my iPhone map kept malfunctioning. To make matters even worse, one of the wheels on my heavy suitcase started to tear and not work properly. My husband was lugging it for me and the suitcase just kept getting harder for him to move. Let’s just say that walk was not very fun!
When we finally were somewhat close to our hotel, we came across a bunch of cute restaurants, so we stopped to give ourselves a break and a bite to eat. This would have been a relaxing stop amidst a frustrating walk, had it not been the table next to us, who was having an America bashing conversation that lasted way too long.
It seemed to be an Italian American woman host/tour guide with a group of Middle Eastern business men. She and one of the men lead the discussion that centered around how much America sucks. It started on the topic of food: how we eat horribly, don’t take the time to sit down and eat and don’t know how to feed our children. It then turned into the two of them saying that America has no culture and that Americans don’t know how to dress.
When the woman said, “They drink peanut butter milkshakes. Isn’t that crazy?? No wonder why people go on shooting rampages, they’re hopped up on peanut butter milkshakes!” I couldn’t take it any longer and had to turn around and give a very obvious dirty look, then loudly comment about how I didn’t realize I would be subjected to an America hate fest and how impolite it was.
I think of my country like I think of my family. I can talk smack about it/them, but if anyone else does, I’m very protective. Yes, the overall eating habits of America desperately need to change, but many people sit down and eat here, and eat well, thank you very much. And saying America has no culture is utterly ridiculous. One of the amazing things about America is that it’s a melting pot of tons of cultures. Generalizing about an entire country loudly in a public setting is extremely rude, and it annoyed both Adam and me.
Once we checked into our hotel, we decided to walk down to the beach a little while before sunset. After hanging out and enjoying the beach for a bit, we tried to walk back to the hotel… but all of the exits wound up being locked. We seriously couldn’t find a way out of the beach – and there were definitely people on the beach still, probably unaware like we had been since there was no signage anywhere. Eventually we snuck our way through a fancy restaurant, but it was another annoyance to our day. I kept thinking that we were in beautiful Venice and should be having the best time ever, but these little aggravations had taken a toll on our moods.
But then, as always, something turned our day around. As we left for the hotel that night to go to dinner, I said to Adam, “The rest of our time in Venice is going to be awesome – I know it!” While I was willing ourselves to an aggravation-free rest of our time in Italy, the actual turning point came at dinner. We went to a restaurant called Gran Viale Ristorante.
We chose a bottle of Borgo Magredo 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, from the nearby Friuli region – which we passed on our bus ride to Venice. It was delicious!
Adam and I ordered two pizzas to share. Both had mozzarella and a red sauce – one with asparagus, the other with spinach and ricotta. They were so yummy, my mouth is watering just blogging about them.
Even though I was far from hungry after the pizzas, there was no way I was skipping dessert! I ordered a chocolate tartufo, and you bet I finished it.
When they brought our bill, we found ourselves with a complimentary dessert part 2 on the table: a bunch of cute mini desserts – a lemon meringue and a couple pastries filled with cannoli cream.
Adam and I left the restaurant stuffed but so happy, and from dinner on, our Venice trip was absolutely amazing. Another recap on Venice adventures to come!