We’ve not been in Venice 3 hours before we’re standing atop a cobblestone bridge, licking melon and lemon gelato, watching a tanned Italian in an open white shirt drive his polished boat under our feet. He blows us a kiss before disappearing down the canal, his little dog turning circles on the driver’s seat.
I’m in love with every 40-something Italian water taxi driver. They are seriously gorgeous in their polished wood and white boats, tanned skin and salt and pepper hair. I tried to take a photo of one but he was shy…
Our second night here we wind through back streets, away from the main streets to Campo San Margherita, where we’ve heard the young people hang out. Trinket stores thin out, hotels turn into residences and the noise in the air quiets to nothing. We pick our way alone through a maze of cobblestone streets, stopping occasionally to take photos of classic Venice spaces; old wells lit under a curving stone staircase, wrought iron gates next to flower boxes of bright pink geraniums or a gondola resting underneath a little bridge.
Campo San Margherita provides a delicious 10 euro, two course meal and spritz; an orange alcoholic beverage had for ‘aperitif’ (pre-dinner drinks) that we tried twice before confirming that it does indeed taste like Methylated spirits mixed with Fanta. Young student locals are sitting around the square in little groups, chatting as the sun goes down. After our three days of partying and meeting randoms in Dubai, Venice feels very sleepy and demure. With reluctance we purchase a gelato (1.30 euro!) and begin the meander home.
Before long though, four guys spill out of a laneway into the street, greeting us with “Ciao Bella!” before bounding up ahead. They turn into a side street to knock on a door where pop music is blasting out of an upstairs window and we keep walking by, regretting not having struck up a conversation in order to be invited to the party.
Life’s too short for regrets though and we’re in Europe! No one knows who we are and we’ve nothing to lose. So, nervously, we turn back to where the guys disappeared deciding that if they’re still hanging around the front of the entrance we’ll ask them where the party is and if not, it was a sign that tonight was meant for beauty sleep instead. Until we actually walk back a block, hear their voices and realize they’re coming back down the laneway to our street! We stop awkwardly, both turning away, me lounging against the wall, and reach automatically for our phones to pretend we’re not stalking them, hearts beating. (We’d make such great spies!). They practically collide into us, confused for a second until I ask “Where’s the party?” and we’re all on the same page. Or at least speaking the same language, which isn’t hard as they speak about five. We’re invited back to Campo San Margherita for some Sambrouka under the statue, which apparently is as wild as Venice gets on a Tuesday night and make it home by 2am. Win. 😀
Euro 2012 Football (soccer) match we stumbled across in a one of the squares .
Lots of locals yelling at the screen!