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Chris Sayer’s Travel Diary

Friday, 13 Jun 2014

Location: Venice, Italy

MapA taxi ride to the train station in Venice must be unique in the world. Our 10am reserved taxi arrived right on time, but there was nowhere to park. The one available space was being taken up with a barge delivering boxes to a local restaurant. The remedy appeared to be commonplace in Venice – the taxi simply moored beside the barge and we embarked by walking across its deck, amidst boxes of wine, beer and bottled water. The taxi “driver” helped us with our suitcases, and we were soon on our way.
The shortest route took us through several narrow canals before reaching the Grand Canal, and one last look at the Rialto Bridge – a perfect way to bid farewell to this fabulous city. The journey to the Rialto was slow, as these narrow canals were being used by gondolas, taxis, garbage collectors, delivery barges, and police. It was inevitable that these boatmen would exchange idle chatter as they pass by, but it seems that every conversation ended in laughter. That’s the one thing I’ve found about Italians – they always seem so happy. They didn’t get frustrated being stuck in a traffic jam (or should that be “boat jam”). Whatever they were saying in Italian, they made each other laugh, and it was lovely to hear. The hearty conversations were infectious, and made us feel good too, even though we had no idea what they were saying.