Are tourists ruining Venice?

Asking the question are tourists ruining Venice?

In front of me, a sea of people spans in all directions, even as the gray clouds above us threaten to burst.

Deep in the heart of San Marco Square, and what I deem the heart of the touristic center of the main island which makes up the step-back-in-time Venice, the tourists are unavoidable. In fact, here they are more in my face than any other place I have visited (and I am counting the mass of people gaping at Mona Lisa at the Louvre). It is shoulder-to-shoulder packed and puts me into the throes of those tense, pre-anxiety attack moments where all I want to do is throw elbows and make my way from where my packed water taxi has deposited myself along with the other throngs of tourists, through the massive square, and down into the veins of the town where my hotel is.

But, I can’t.

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Getting to Slovenia from Italy

The easy easy way to travel from Slovenia from Italy via
For months, I looked for easy ways to get from Trieste to Ljubljana. I searched message boards, read heaps of blog posts until I just got sick of it and decided I’d wait until I got on the ground there to figure out the easiest way to get from Italy to Slovenia. All of the information I was reading was sending me in dizzying circles and frustrations.

According to the great Google and search results, it is pretty much not easy to get to Slovenia from Italy. There are no direct trains, and while the Slovenian Tourist Board does state that one can get to Slovenia via plane, train, bus and automobile, there are no details or links directing ould-be bookers onward.

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Mourning and the Adriatic

Trieste, Italy

One of the last memories I have of the Adriatic Sea is standing on its rocky shore in Trogir, Croatia, bending down and picking up a smooth stone to take back to America with me. To place on my grandmother’s freshly dug grave.

It was a beautiful day in September. Blue sky. Bluer water. And, that day, I just knew she was going to pass away. The thought hung over my head much like the gray clouds which tended to rush over the green hills surrounding the beach in the late afternoons there.

She was dead, and I was in Croatia. Alone. Love, life, loss … far, far from home.

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Daily Wanderlust: St. Mark’s Basilica

Just beyond the two pillars marking the entrance to Venezia, or Venice, is the glorious St. Mark’s Basilica. Containing the remains of St. Mark, this church is considered to be one of the most important places in both Venice’s past and present.

Located next to the Perisan-influenced Doje’s Palace along the lagoon of the city, the Basilica, also known as Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco stands very different, boasting Italo-Byzantine architecture and gold mosaics dating back to the 1200s.

I’ve been to Venice before, but this was my first look at the gorgeous and magnificent church during my Walks of Italy St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours.

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Really, I’m a planner.

In my early 20s I dated a guy who, at the start of our relationship, identified me as a planner. I denied it, but when I found myself calling him on a Wednesday to figure out what we were doing that weekend, I realized I, in fact, was/am a planner.

In nearly every aspect of my life, I plan. As I have gotten older I have eased up a bit, but still, there are certain activities that warrant planning. Activities like my 30th birthday celebration.

We were sitting at Park Tavern one night in April, my friend Karen and I, talking about my 30th birthday. Sure, it was nearly six months away, but I am not one to sit and wait for life to happen. Typically, I chase after things. I mean, it would be absolutely fantastic to just have things fall into my lap, but in my 29 years of life (up to that point), that phenomenon had yet to occur.

So, Karen and I were sitting outside overlooking Midtown Atlanta and my favorite place ever in the city — Piedmont Park — discussing what exceptionally awesome event I could plan for myself to celebrate my 30th birthday.

I had tossed around Italy and Israel and done some research on tours for people my age, but had not come up with anything I was very impressed with.

“Why not Croatia?” she had asked.

“Croatia? Seriously?”

I had never considered traveling to Croatia for my birthday.

“Yeah, it is just like Italy, but cheaper since they aren’t on the Euro yet,” she explained.

Sounded good to me, and in typical impulsive D fashion, I called my parents the next day, reminded them of the airline ticket they had said I could have, and got their blessing to go ahead and book a ticket to Croatia.

It was that simple of a decision. Karen said “Croatia.” I booked the ticket. I did no research. I knew Karen traveled a lot, so I immediately trusted her suggestion.

The last time I went to Europe on a one-month solo backpacking adventure to celebrate graduating college, I had planned. Not much. But enough. I had purchased my one-month Eurail pass (a MUST if you plan on exploring Western Europe on a timeframe and not spending too much money on transport), booked my first few nights in the hostel (an International Youth Hostel in Venice my first night and another hostel in Athens for three more) and purchased a plane ticket from Venice to Athens. I knew I wanted to see the Acropolis. The Coliseum. The Vatican. The Louvre. The coffee shops. Basically, I had some highlights I knew I wanted to hit. The exact days were TBD, but it was nearly a sure thing I would see certain places.

This time, the only planning I did was buying Lonely Planet’s Croatia book. The book certainly wet my appetite. The gorgeous photos of the Adriatic coupled with the outdoor cafes and shots of locals immediately made me long for my vacation. I am an avid photographer so seeing those shots made me want badly to create my own book-worthy images.

I was two weeks out from my trip, sitting at my desk, when my COO came in to ask me about my trip.

“Where ya going?” she asked. “What have ya planned?”

I hung my head and shook it from side to side.

“Absolutely nothing. I know when I have to be at the airport and when I land in Zagreb, and I know when I have to be in Dubrovnik to fly home. That’s it.”

My COO is the left brain of the company. I think it is safe to say she is a planner. So, when I told her that, she smiled, shook her head and left.

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