субота, 24 вересня 2016 р.

#45daysofblogging 31: Venice and revelations

Day 31 - September 17

As I've mentioned before, this year I'm quite lucky with projects and travels (knock on wood!) and I really hope it to stay this way for many-many years to come. 

One of the projects I've participated in was a training course on digital storytelling for professionals that work with vulnerable groups. As I'm one of those people and I also love and do photography since I was very little, I felt like it was a perfect match for me. Also it was hold in Ljubljana, and I've never been to Slovenia (and Balkans in general) before. So yeah, of course I took the opportunity, that came with a side bonus - visiting Venice for a day. 

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* side note - do you know what is the biggest problem with living in Palermo? No, it has nothing to do with trash, corruption and people driving around with music on max volume (also in the middle of the night). The worst part it's getting to different places. If you live somewhere in the mainland Italy, you can get almost anywhere in one flight. From Sicily it's almost always at least two flights.  

Sometimes it's really annoying. Last year, when I came to Palermo as a trainer for 12 days, my way back from Palermo to Kyiv took me 3 flights (Palermo-Zurich, Zurich-Vienna, Vienna-Kyiv) and something around 14 hours, which is ridiculous, tiring and just crazy.

But sometimes it has it's benefits. Like, for example, this time. Yes, it took me two flights to even get to Venice and then 3,5 to 4 hours bus ride to Ljubljana. But I had a nice chance to see Venice for the first time without spending extra money.

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So in a few words - Venice is beautiful. Historical, very unique, full of people and also very, very hot. I'm not exaggerating - as you know, I live in the South of Italy, few hours away from the Northern coast of Africa. And yes, Venice is crazy hot even compared to Sicily. It was quite shocking to me even when I just got out of the airport, because in the first moment I involuntarily thought: "Hmmm, am I back in Bangkok?". So be prepared - summer is humid and very hot (I can only imagine, how cold winters should be with this level of humidity).

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Also this day brought it's own revelations. I've been traveling quite a bit and I was thinking about one of the aspects of traveling to very touristic destinations a lot. You know how it is - if you go to Paris, you absolutely have to see Eiffel tower and check it out of your to-do list. I realized that it was not for me a long time ago. There's nothing wrong with wanting to see every famous place of the city you are visiting, but I just don't like feeling obligated to do anything when I'm traveling. 

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I will much rather walk around the small streets, have a coffee, try some traditional dishes, look at people, go to a bookstore. It's just the things that I enjoy to do. Not to say that I don't go to famous places, of course I do. But I really don' like being in a rush and checking out places out of the list just to say that I've been there.

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However, being in the crowd and being influenced by it is one of the most difficult things to resist. I have no idea how it happened, but at one point I realized that I'm just suffocating in the sea of people. All the arrows pointing to piazza San Marco were super confusing, and, as my friend Naser predicted, I got lost very fast. I swear, I passed the same corner at least four times. I found Tezenis, Sephora, lots of small shops that sell leather bags and what apparently was "the best aperitivo" in Venice. 

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And when I finally found San Marco, instead of feeling happy I got angry at myself. I only had something around 8 hours in Venice, it was my first time there and I could've spend it very differently. But I chose to get into one of the craziest crowds in the whole world (in my opinion there are not that many places that are more visited than Venice), get myself super stressed and tired (I had a heavy bag and also I was not expecting this type of heat) and run around looking for one of the most touristic places in the world like there's no tomorrow. 

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So you know what I did? I left. 

Yes, I didn't go inside San Marco (look at the photo - do you see how many people are there?). And I am absolutely okay with this. I will go inside one day, when I will visit Venice for longer time. The world will not fall apart if I will not spend three more hours in the crowd. My trip will not become unsuccessful just because I didn't enter. 

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I was in Venice! Three years ago I couldn't even think I will ever got there! I needed to enjoy my time and treat myself nicely to have as great of a day, as possible.

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So I left the most overcrowded part, found a nice bar, ordered a lovely tall aperol spritz and caught my breath. Looked out on the street at people passing by until I knew I was in a happy place again.

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Then went for a walk around, looked at some cute things at the stores, bought and nice salad and ate it, sitting on one of the bridges over canals, while speaking on the phone. Stared and people and took some photos. And honestly enjoyed myself.

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So that's it. I've visited Venice for the first time, I liked it (as a tourist, because I honestly don't know how people can live there - for many, many reasons) and it also taught (or rather reminded me of) a lesson. It's just so important to know what you like and what works the best for you - and then to listen to yourself! I knew very well that I don't enjoy being in the crowd and I honestly should've respected myself and this particular part of my personality more. But it was a valuable thing to learn and I'm very happy it all turned out this way.

In one of the following posts I will tell you about my trip to Ljubljana and lake Bled, and these are the destinations really worth visiting. 

See you!

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