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Chris Sayer’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 12 Jun 2014

Location: Venice, Italy

MapThis was our last morning in Venice after four glorious days, weather-wise and experience-wise. We said goodbye to Alice and Matt after lunch, as they caught a water bus to the airport to fly back to Vienna. We had to find our own way on the Italian streets for the first time.
And I failed miserably.

We decided to venture to the Hard Rock Café for our last meal in Venice. We had already visited one just off San Marco’s Square, but the tourist brochures stated that there were two Hard Rock Cafes in Venice, the other one being right next to the Rialto Bridge. So we headed to Rialto.

Any map of a medieval European city shows streets that are hardly symmetrical. They wander in all directions, with some tiny laneways hardly wide enough for one person. My interpretation of the map of Venice must have been flawed from the start, because we ended up emerging from a narrow laneway to be confronted with a large expanse of water. I had somehow lead us east to the coast, instead west to the Grand Canal. After seeking help from some locals, we eventually ended up at the Rialto Bridge, and entered the Hard Rock Café eager for a thirst-quenching beer and a meal to replace the calories burnt getting there.

The plan came crashing down when we were told that this Hard Rock establishment was only a shop for merchandise, and not a restaurant after all. I was devastated, embarrassed, and wasting away to a shadow without food. Determined, we ventured further into the heart of Venice to the Hard Rock Café that could actually provide us with all-elusive final Venetian meal. There is no doubt that my wife and sister never let me live this episode down.

A surreal moment ended a big day when we shared a bottle of vino rosso (red wine) at the Hard Rock bar after our meal, and watched the opening of the World Cup in Brazil, live on a big screen. Sitting at the table next to us was a young couple, and the guy was wearing a yellow and green t-shirt. I made a correct assumption, not that he was Australian but he was actually Brazilian, in Italy on holiday with his girlfriend. We discussed how the Brazil and Australia colours were so similar, and how he was hopeful of his national team doing well, while my hopes were for my team to at least score.