Venice makes no sense. I remember thinking that as I stepped out of the train station, into the sunlight, and set my eyes on the Grand Canal.
It just makes no sense.
If you’ve never been, you have to understand that Venice has only canals and alleys. There are no streets. There are no cars. As a visiting pedestrian this is fantastic. But living there? It. Makes. No. Sense. I mean, how do restaurants have their ingredients delivered? Again, if you’ve been there, it’s obvious: all deliveries are done by boat. Want a fridge delivered? It’ll show up in a boat. Not some truck-sized thing but a rather rickety looking thing thin enough to fit the narrow canals. It really makes no sense.
Living there must be so hard, so inefficient, it’s a wonder the city’s still around. I’d expect everyone there to just throw their hands up and say, “Know what? Screw this. I’m out. This is stupid.”
But, oh man, did I ever love the city. It’s energetic and crowded in some areas but, the moment the crush of tourists feels like too much, you just duck into a random alley or follow a winding canal and you’ll suddenly find yourself alone in a tiny piazza. It’s a beautiful maze filled with historical, gastronomic and cultural secrets.
Secrets and surprises.
When I first arrived, just moments after crossing the Rialto, I found myself walking a smaller bridge, the kind you find throughout the city. As I was crossing one way, a young woman was coming the other way. We were the only people on the bridge, the only people in the area. As we crossed paths we exchanged a fleeting glance, the kind two fairly attractive people of similar ages regularly share.
Just then we heard a small cry and a splash. We stopped and peered down the canal. About thirty yards away, a teen girl crouched by the edge of the canal. A boy, about the same age, was in the water. They reached for each other, gripped hands, and, with another cry, the girl was pulled into the water.
Sputtering and soaked, they pulled themselves out of the canal and, water pouring from their backpacks and clothing, disappeared around a corner.
The young lady and I stared for another moment, then glanced at each other as if to say, “Welp, that just happened,” and then we were on our way, in opposite directions.
We never shared a word.
Venice. It makes no sense. But, oh man, do I love that city.