Roman Holiday (PART IV) / by Deborah Clague

Being in Venice is like being inside a Renaissance-era painting come to life: a perfectly preserved masterpiece of art, culture and history. It's well magical...if you can find a moment to breathe outside of the SWARMS of tourists. High tourist season hadn't even begun when I visited there in April and it was hard to get around. That is, when I found my way around. It took me a couple days of getting lost on the canals and narrow alleyways to find the main attraction: Piazza San Marco. It was worth the wait. Although a part of me died a bit inside to see that the world renowned 'Bridge of Sighs' was now sponsored by Toyota. I love being in advertising, but at times I really question the shit we pull. 

I did not go on a gondola. Paying $150.00 for a 30 minute ride did not seem financially prudent. Instead, I lived vicariously through all the Japanese tourists who seemed to be the only people willing to shell out for one. I was also a bit dismayed that none of the gondoliers I witnessed entertained their guests by singing a romantic tune (like it usually happens in the movies and travel shows that never really depict things as they truly are). For that much money, I would demand a song and perhaps a lap dance. 

After wandering around Italy for two weeks wearing a Roughrider sweatshirt (in part as an experiment which I will get to later), I was most surprised/amused/befuddled to see a Hotel Regina. I wonder how that song goes..."Living it up at the Hotel Regina. There's a sea of green, cheering on their team". 

Next up - Florence. 
To be continued... 

Entrance to the Hotel Regina:

Hotel Regina in background:

Low-season crowds wander near St. Mark's Square:

The Bridge of Sighs, built in 1602, brought to you by Toyota:

Me at the Grand Canal:

Piazza San Marco: 

Making a delivery in Venice:

Plague Doctor marionette:

The (in)famous pigeons of St. Mark's Square:

This wee dog stole me heart. I visited the shop where he stood guard every day: