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I had about 36 hours to to explore Venice, which, as it turns out, was probably more than I needed.

Venice isn’t very large, I got in plenty of walking around the islands and canals.  The vaporetto (water bus) makes it easy to see the Grand Canal and to get around the islands (relatively) quickly.  I’m not entirely certain, but I think I walked from the train station to Saint Mark’s Square in about the same time that the bus would have taken.

I visited St. Mark’s square, taking in the sights and taking lots of pictures, but didn’t feel particularly inclined to pay the exorbitant amounts to get into the basilica or the nearby museums considering how much I was paying just to eat and stay there.  Venice is EXTREMELY touristy.  The locals I talked to mostly don’t even live there.  It’s like a historical Disneyland where tourists come to see the sights, eat the food, pay entirely too much, and then leave.  There are street vendors everywhere, and even a few people in period(ish) costumes.  The gondola, which is supposed to be a romantic thing, looks very much not as you ride through the canals, have tourists gawk and take pictures, and pay 80 Euro for 40 minutes.  (I did not ride the gondola).

Despite all that, it’s a beautiful city, and fun to walk around the narrow, twisting streets, get away from the main touristy areas and find a quiet place to read a book.  At night, the city lights up and makes a breathtaking view across the water.  It’s worth a trip, but I wouldn’t plan to stay too long.  I’d recommend visiting before the whole city goes the way of Atlantis.  Apparently it floods around 100 times a year, and will likely be inhabitably underwater in the next 50-100 years.  There are places where they’ve already surrendered the first floor to the rising tides.

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