Can.I.Rock.it?

I’d Rather Be Punched in the Face than Join a Guided Tour™: The Italy Edition ♥

In I spied... on October 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

Venice, Italy is probably not the greatest match for someone with a deep phobia for mass tourism. But hey, there was a hotel sale this month on the wonderful VoyagePrive.com [if you’re not signed up, hi, welcome to this century, glad you could join us].

So what did I do when I got to Venice? Well, I hopped on a boat and I got the hell out of Piazza San Marco ofcourse.

It’s easy to forget that Venice isn’t the only magical, slightly weird water world around. The Venetian lagoon is home to more than 30 other inhabited islands, one of which is Burano

The stuff of dreams, prettier than a Greek island, ‘charming’ wouldn’t even begin to cover it. An hour’s boat ride on the public water bus or vaparetto takes you to this quiet fishing island with a current population of about 2,800 inhabitants.

Famous for lace-making and its brightly-colored fishermen’s houses, the doors of Burano are left open and laundry hanging outside on lines to dry add to the impression of a friendly and tight-knit community. I’d like to take credit for how well my photographs came out, but this island is just so damn cute that you really couldn’t take a bad picture.

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3 Things Noted about Venice

1. Where are the Venetians?

Venice has 60,000 local residents and plays host to approximately 200,000 tourists per day. With figures like that, I suppose I’d be hiding too.

Make your way through the backstreets to Campo Santa Margherita to find real, live, young locals hanging out from the surrounding universities.

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2. Gondolas get into Traffic Jams Too

The biggest hustlers on the block. And none of them actually sing opera while rowing your fat ass down the canals by the way. They’re kinda like Santa Claus impersonators. When they think the kids aren’t looking, they’re swigging that hard liquor and chain smoking in the back.

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3.  Venice really is on its Last Legs…


This is the stuff holding up the city? Wow. Someone call health & safety. Quite alarming when you take a look underneath…

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I hereby proclaim this place

‘Messy Nessy Creek’

(Somewhere in Tuscany)

Once upon a time (or this summer) I drove from Paris to Italy with  friends in a Renault Twingo without air conditioning– also known as a small oven.
In 35 degrees, winding through the Tuscan countryside, we were in dire need of a river to swim in. A crowded Italian beach was out of the question. The only snag was that the rivers had all dried up. After reaching our tenth empty river in the middle of nowhere, we were ready to kill eachother give up, when an old local man suddenly came tooting out of bushes on his rusty scooter. In broken Italian we asked him where the water was and he signalled for us to follow him.


We trailed behind in the Twingo until the car couldn’t go further and continued on foot through fields and a small forest. He said he was taking us to a local secret, a ‘paradiso’. But I couldn’t help thinking I might also end up in a body bag.


Minutes later and slightly embarassed for sharing my Wes Craven imagination with the rest of the gang, the sounds of trickling water could at last be heard. We clambered across a small canyon of rocks and a came upon a setting out of a children’s adventure book.

The water was calm, deep and fresh. As it seeped into my hair, I was reminded that there’s nothing like the experience of swimming in a river. We stayed until dusk and I proclaimed our little haven, Messy Nessy Creek.

Taking photographs of people when they’re trying to have a quiet moment of solitude is my specialty. 

I do enjoy a good ol’ pair of speedos …

If you’re interested in finding this highly secret spot next time you’re in Tuscany, I pinpointed the exact location of Messy Nessy Creek when I was there on the GPS.

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