About 8 am local time in Venice, Italy
Yes, but we are allready out in the deserted streets or should I call it alleys of Venice. It is only at this time of the day that the everyday life of Venetians can be observed. It is also the time of day when we are most often greeted from behind by an irritated “Attentione!”
When we crowd into the small space of a locked door, a young Venetian rushes past pulling a handcart loaded with goods to be delivered or with refuse from the previous day.In this city on the water everything is done either by manual labour or by boat. Venice is a tourist city, but also a city where ordinary people live and work. A place where, police speeds by in a brightly coloured red and yellow boat,where an ambulance races past with sirens and the well known red cross on its side, where a sombre black boat carries a coffin to a last resting place on the nearby cemetery island.
Tourists are still sleeping but Venetians are going about their lives. As we make our way to the market we come across them.The elderly pulling shopping carts on the way to buy produce for the day, people of all ages on their way to work, young parents with children bundled into warm clothes waiting for the waterbus to take them to school.
This is the real Venice. A city where people live, work, get married, have children, study, become sick and die. This is what we wanted to experience and observe.
Therefore we walk.
We follow the twisting and turning alleyways over bridges and around buildings. We loose our way in the maze of alleys and bridges, coming across the most enchanting little piazzas where citizens of Venice meet for early morning coffee.
After many inevitable wrong turns we reach the market.
Stall owners are bustling about packing out produce. Early shoppers are inspecting the goods. Behind one of the stalls a seagull wrestles with the discarded intestine of a fish.The market is a place of culinary delights. It abounds with fresh fish and seafood. Vegetables and fruit and brightly coloured flowers glow in the early morning sunshine.
Each day of our 6 day visit to Venice brings its own surprises. As we walk, we discover a beautiful green park where families relax in the early spring sunshine.On another day, it is a beautiful promenade along the sea.We loose our way ( again) and find ourselves at the harbour where big commercial boats are moored.
Each night we return to the hotel with aching feet and tired legs but with our minds filled with wonder and joy.
Off course we visit all the required tourist places, but the most enjoyable moments are those we experience when just wandering about and experiencing Venice as it goes about daily life.
Do you want to discover the real Venice?
Then walk, walk and walk. You will inevitably get lost, you will become frustrated by the seemingly endless and confusing alleys and bridges, but you will discover the hidden delights of this ancient city.