We are staying in Castello, the largest sestiere in Venice. At first, we thought there was a reasonable chance that we may never find our way back to the apartment as the maze of streets is very confusing. Now, we feel very confident navigating our way from markets and churches to piazzas and home again. Venice really is unique and one must wonder how the 60 000 locals cope with the tourist hordes, over 20 000 000 per year. Well, according to one local, they move. Venetians have moved to places where they can raise families less expensively. We have noticed there seems to be many older Venetians in the streets near where we stay. There are also lots of rules that are not conducive to family life. We are yet to see a bike or scooter.
We have mostly wandered the lanes and enjoyed the ambience of this unusual city. Shopping for fresh produce at the Rialto fish, fruit and vegie markets was fun and I cooked seafood pasta with scampi, whole baby squid and green prawns while Lucy enjoyed her salmon. Of course, it is de rigueur for tourists to ride in a gondola and the girls thought it suitably magical. I thought it outrageously expensive but the gondolier was friendly, knowledgeable and very likeable. He told us that it is a three year course to join the ranks and that there are about 450 gondoliers in Venice.
Sarah asked us later that afternoon why we have not spotted any ‘girl gondoliers’. We assume it is like the priesthood.