Italy - Venice

by Kimp 9. April 2017 01:00

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Welcome !!!

History

The main island in the Veneta Lagoon is called Venice. It was formed by an ancient river, that formed a river delta (dumped its sediment) in the lagoon. At one time, Venice would have been connected to the main land, but parts of the delta washed out, leaving it an island. Venice's Grand Canal, isn't a canal at all, it is the remains of the ancient river that flowed through it.

In 400 A.D., when the Western Roman Empire was starting to fall, the people of Northern Italy sought refuge from the barbarian's, on the Islands in the Veneta lagoon.

Over the next 50 years, they tried to go back to the mainland, but when "Attila the Hun" was on his way to take Rome, he was destroying everything in Northern Italy. Atilla failed to take Rome and left, but by that time, Venetian's had built up enough infrastructure to make Venice a nice place to live, so they stayed and other's joined them.

The Veneta Lagoon is full of a large variety of fish and lots of salt, so that became their first Industry (still thriving today).

Being avid sailors, they built a very large merchant sailing fleet, at a time when most Army's were land based, and could not easily get to them. To protect their merchant fleet from pirates and small navies, they trained all of their merchant sailors in combat.

Each time they built a large merchant vessel, they would also build a combat ship. The combat ship would sit in port during peaceful times, and during times of attack or war, half of their merchant fleet would be keep in port, and the combat ships would be manned with those merchant sailors. A formula that worked for over 800 years.

That lucrative trade business brought immense wealth to Venice that can now be enjoyed by all.

Today

In my opinion, Venice falls in the category of to much tourism for its size. The romantic feel left many years ago, and it sure isn't headed back there any time soon. If I were the Mayor of Venice, the first thing I would do is limit the number of Gondola's. The once quaint canal's, are busting at the seams. The next thing I would do is limit the number of cruise ship's that dock there. Just keep raising the fee, until the number dwindles to something that is reasonable. Venice is great in the morning and evening, when the big ship's aren't there.

Many of the building's along the Grand Canal appear to be abandoned and very run down. It's an ugly image that just keeps staying ugly. It's can't be modernized, or Venice would lose its ancient charm, but left untouched, it just keeps getting uglier.

The best part is just walking around and getting lost. That's really easy to do. There are lots of beautiful and quiet outdoor restaurant's tucked away in a corner, that only local's know about.

Walking around can get a bit tiring, because all of the foot bridges crossing the canals are arch shaped, with several steps on each side to allow the boat's to go under and the people to go over them. Riding in a boat, be it a Gondola or a private taxi is nice, but bring lots of money, they are both very, very expensive. The public transportation boats are inexpensive, but not that great of an experience. Their just isn't any middle ground experience that I could find.

Some of the canals have been filled in, to make nice pedestrian super highways. I'm indifferent about that. Convenient, but like closest space, they always fill to capacity no matter how big nor small. Nothing is really gained.

The Best Time I Had

One night, I ate in an upscale restaurant. About two waiters per table, plus a manager of a group of waiter's, and the mafia looking enforcer dude, who walks around and asks you if everything is alright. The patron's all looked like they were dressed for the Opera.

Italy has the worlds best service. Italian's take great pride in giving excellent service. So what they want is for a person to tell them exactly what they want, then they will go and do exactly that.

The first thing they do when you sit down, is to bring out an aperitif drink. An alcohol beverage that cleanse the taste buds and helps bring out the aroma in the meal. I think it was a generous portion of Brut Champagne. Usually that is not by choice, it is complimentary and customary, and sets the tone for a great dining experience.

Usually an upscale restaurant does not stock 1/2 bottles of wine, I was a little tired and did not feel like a whole bottle of wine, but at the same time I felt like I kind of needed a whole bottle of wine. It turns out that they did stock one wine, in 1/2 bottles, but when he described it to me, it didn't sound that great. So I asked the waiter what his favorite wine was. This freaked him out. He didn't know what to do. I'm supposed to tell him what I want, so he can just do that, not ask his opinion. "Sir, this 1/2 bottle is a very good wine, I assure you.". "I didn't ask if it was very good, I asked what is your favorite?".

After several minutes of me asking, and him not telling me what his favorite was, if finally said, "Dude, just bring me whichever wine is your favorite.". The table next to mine was two Russian women, dressed to the nines, thoroughly enjoying the show I was putting on. They were laughing so hard, tears were starting to show.

The waiter comes back with 5 glasses of wine. Not 5 tastings of wine, but 5 full glasses. He say's, "Here, you choose!!!" I take a sip of each and pick one (of course it was a wine that only came in a full bottle). ut I can't just leave these full glasses on the table. I stayed long enough to finish those 5 glass and the whole bottle.

I am about to leave, and the waiter brings me a complimentary after dinner liquor, designed to get rid of any after tastes. I sure didn't need that, but I drank that just to be polite. He did get an awesome tip, both for putting up with me, and for solving a very difficult service problem.

On my way out, I don't ever remember being that drunk. I had to be extra careful, not to run into someone's table.

It was really hard walking back to the hotel. It was raining and slippery. Many of these canals, don't have any guard rails, so one miss-step or slip and I would be swimming. All of those foot bridges, with the stairs up and down were a recurring struggle. Then I got hopelessly lost, and people were too scared to talk to a big drunk man. Luckily, a very brave, very petite, local women took pity on me, and helped me out. If it wasn't for her, I might have ended up sleeping outside in the cold rain.

Keeping Score

Overall I give Venice a B-, but that waiter definitely gets an A+.

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Thank you for reading,

I'll see you next time.

Craig

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