Back from Italy

Well, I’m back.
Italy is really nice. Really nice.
The pizzas are, too. Heh.

What it was like

We were in Caorle which is a beautiful town on the Adriatic in north-east Italy. Marvellous place. We’re going back next year, I think.
Everyone thought we were German, mainly because the vast majority of their tourism seems to emanate from Germany, but that’s OK because my German is better than my Italian :)
I am also now the l33t Italian speaker, as long as (a) no-one takes my phrasebook away, and (b) you want to say “can I smoke here?“, “can I have the bill, please?“, “a bottle of still mineral water, please“, or “how many stamps do I need on a postcard to England?“. One nice thing about the Italian people, or at least that subset of them which works in restaurants, is that they will applaud your stumbling attempts to speak their lovely language. I lost count of the number of times that I got a “bravissima!” when I hummed and hahed my way through the Italian for “could I have another medium beer, please” or “the risotto was delicious, thankyou“. That doesn’t happen in a lot of places—while I don’t wish to cast aspersions (too much), some people will look down their nose at you and pretend not to understand when you have a crack at it. French waiters, I’m looking at you here. This contributes to the stereotypical English tourist who merely speaks loudly and slowly in English as if the other party is brain-damaged. The Germans who we overheard were rather guilty of this, which surprised me slightly but does at least explain why most of the waiters and waitresses could speak some German; they are obliged to be able to do so.

Photos, or, the lack thereof

I would have lots of photos if my digital camera wasn’t knackered. However, it is; it eats batteries. So, I’m in the market for a new one. Here’s my list of requirements: I’m looking for suggestions as to what I should buy. I’m quite happy to go second-hand on eBay or similar, so the price can be for a second-hand one.

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use (point it, press the button)
  • A flash
  • Good quality pictures (i.e., can be printed out (by proper photo people, not by me) and not look like a digital photo)
  • Saves onto some form of card (not frigging Sony Memory Sticks)
  • Doesn’t eat batteries (this is important!)
  • I’m not sure whether it should take batteries or just plug in to recharge the internal battery a la a mobile phone—give reasons for your preference
  • £150 or less

Venice

Venice is really massively overrated. Don’t bother with it. The Doge’s palace is OK, but when you’ve seen one dark room with a dozen oil paintings in you’ve seen them all, really. The Bridge of Sighs is not at all what we were expecting, and neither was Venice, to be honest. Those of you who have been there or have read something about it may feel smug about your knowledge at this point, but for everyone else: what do you think the Bridge of Sighs would be? Big lovely pretty bridge over a glittering canal, right? Nope, it’s a thin enclosed stone bridge that looks grim, and it’s called the Bridge of Sighs because it leads to the prisons. Similarly, I was under the impression that basically all transport in Venice was on the canals; if you wanted to go from any point to any other point you had to do it by boat. Not at all; there are paths and bridges everywhere. You could live your whole life in Venice and never go on a boat. And the canals are grim and smell rather bad. Massive letdown the whole place was.

So, all in all, it was a lovely week, and I’m glad to be back. Not glad that I have to go back to my job the day after tomorrow, though. Bah. It’s taken me nearly the whole day to catch up on mail and feeds and forums and whatnot, too :-)

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