We stood outside the door. We rang the bell and knocked a few times. There was no answer.
Frantically, I scrambled for my printout and dialed the international number. A lady’s voice with distinctive Italian accent responded.
“We didn’t know that you will be arriving at this time. Our B&B is overbooked and I do not have a room for you.”
What a very warm welcome on my first visit to Europe. The B&B owner promised to think of a solution and suggested we head for dinner first, while she would make her way to meet us. We would have to wait for at least an hour or so.
With our big suitcases, we walked down the little alley and settled for a little Italian restaurant nearby. I ordered a simple risotto. Meanwhile, the waiter, surprised to see us in our luggages and upon hearing our plight, suggested that we go to the police station to report the case. He even marked on our map the location of the nearest police station.
We decided to adopt a wait-and-see approach and focused on enjoying our first dinner in the city.
Fortunately, this story had a good ending and it demonstrated the warmth and hospitality of the Italians (or perhaps the Merchants of Venice). Our B&B owner was apologetic that she no longer had a room for us, but managed to secure a room at a better hotel by the Grand Canal and paid for our nights there.
Venice was a good first stop for the Italy trip, especially after a long flight and transit. The city is easy to navigate – all you have to do is to hop on to a waterbus (vaporetto) to commute from one point to another. There are so many things to see – by the Grand Canal, on the Rialto Bridge, at the St Mark’s Square, the Basilicas…
Nonetheless, precisely because there is so much to see and do in Venice, be prepared to get distracted in the city’s labyrinthine network of alleys that are often peppered with interesting shops, tantalising gelato stalls and little cafes.
And of course, if you would like to enjoy some little luxuries, skip the crowded vaporetto and opt for the gondola.. Then, you could hear the Gondolier swoon and immerse in this dream-like experience of bustling streets, soothing waters and fascinating sceneries.