The state I was in on the morning after Oktoberfest
So it turns out my hostel isn't actually IN Venice, but in Marghera, which is about 12 minutes away by train. Kind of a sketchy neighborhood, but luckily after Oktoberfest the last thing I wanted to do was go out at night anyways, so it didn't really matter. The directions listed on the website were undecipherable, so I decided to wing it. Luckily, for once that actually paid off, and was one of the more easy hostels to find. I crashed at about 9 pm and prepared myself for the next day of sightseeing on the island.
I took the train into the city and arrived directly in front of the Grand Canal. Venice is really beautiful--all the old buildings, it really feels like a city from another time (unless you look at the Prada and McDonald's. Just avert your eyes.) I discerned that Piazza San Marco (the real tourist attraction) was on the opposite side of the island, so I headed off on foot. I could've taken a water taxi, but let's be real, those cost precious Euros I need to conserve if I don't want to live in a cardboard box for the last week of my trip.
I also decided to forgo the quintessential Venetian experience of a gondola ride. Although I'm fairly certain I could've convinced a gondolier to give me a discount, I am beyond frugal these days and decided it wasn't worth ANY euros to ride around in a gondola, alone. Save that one for the honeymoon, folks.
The closest I got to a gondola :(
I quickly learned that Lonely Planet makes terrible maps. They might even make the worst maps I've ever seen. Entire blocks have NO labels! And since Venice is already enough of a maze with the canals and streets, this is a huge problem. Luckily I had time on my side, because it took me about 3 hours to make it to the Piazza.
Me in the Piazza San Marco
I looked around, imagined I was Angelina Jolie for about 5 minutes (Italian Job, anyone?) then got really tired of all the tourists, really quick. After posing for some photos with some Asians (seriously, do I look like a celebrity on vacation or something? I don't understand why this keeps happening to me), I began the long trek back to the train station. 3.5 hours later...
I met up with one of my roommates, an Aussie named Pip, who is also on a solo travel mission around the world, for some dinner. She recommended a place around the corner from our hostel, and we checked it out. It was PACKED with locals, which was fantastic--the prices were at least half of what we would've paid if we stayed in Venice for dinner, and it was delicious! She was really fun, and I hope we keep in touch--maybe she'll visit me in Toronto while she's in the US (peer pressure...do it, Pip!)
I'm glad I budgeted only 2 days for Venice, as I definitely saw enough in the time I was there. Any more and it would've been Paris round 2--more of wanting what I can't have. I'll come back on my honeymoon or something--or maybe on a seniors' cruise when I'm 65+--that seemed to be the largest demographic I saw when I was there! It is a beautiful city, although I wouldn't want to live there; doesn't seem like there was a whole lot to do. Now, off to ROME! So excited, there's so much to see here, and so much food to try! Ciao!