Archive for Tourism
I know that I promised not to talk about degradation and tourism anymore. Yet here I am.
Or rather, here they are.
In case I didn’t mention, or even hint at it, I realize that Venice is not the only place on earth which experiences rogue tourists. I hope I didn’t give the impression that I thought Venice was unique in suffering this scourge. I merely wanted to say, “It’s happening here, it needs to stop.”
However, reverence for truth compels me to widen the picture, in part because the wild things in this case do not make my heart sing, and they’re Italians.
What they got up to in Barcelona trumps anything I can offer in the way of gobsmacking madness. I don’t defend them in any way, I just want to say two small things:
First, bodies like theirs cry out to be exhibited (though not fully frontally). I know that’s a stupid thing to say, I just wanted to acknowledge all those hours they put in at the gym, and whatever supplements they take.
Second, how could anybody manage to run around a city naked for THREE HOURS? I can understand totally why the photographer followed them around the entire time (though someone could reasonably ask why he didn’t stop them, while he’s so busy complaining about tourists) — they’re just as cute as little buttons.
But what finally brought them to a stop? Did they run out of gas? Hit a cold front? Suddenly realize they had nowhere to put their money and passports? Or did the photographer finally tell them he had enough pictures, so they could get dressed?
Up to now, my idea of the average hostel has been deduced from the average hostel-dweller, at least as seen around here in the summer.
Every sweltering day the vaporettos carry payloads of dauntless wayfarers and their gear, 80-pound backpacks that look as if they’d just arrived via the Old Silk Road lashed to the chassis of a 2 1/2-ton 6×6 truck. Their owners don’t look much better, pounded like Swiss steaks by summer heat and malnutrition and the cumulative effect of too many languages and sleepless nights during their seemingly free-form peregrinations. Their clothes appear to have forgotten what it ever meant to be clean. These travelers might have credit cards and laptops and tablets these days, but going to a hostel still struck me as meaning they were essentially going to be sleeping in a multi-bed hangar, with a bucket by their heads to catch the rainwater coming through the roof.
There has been a hostel in Venice since the Fifties, and it was (I’ve been told) of the Old School. I never visited it, but I read its rules once somewhere and was sorry to learn that in addition to everything else that seemed to suggest the aftermath of a festival as painted by Brueghel, the paying guests were required to get out by 11:00 AM and take their stuff with them. That seemed harsh.
But no more. Not long ago I got an e-mail from Generator Hostels, alerting me that they had re-done the “Ostello” on the Giudecca, and inviting me to take a look at it.
I have never written about a commercial operation on my blog. It’s been a point of pride. But this philosophy, to which I am still faithful, runs head-first into my desire to be useful. If the new hostel is a good thing, I ought to know about it.
So I went. I was shown around by Operations Manager Keti Camillo, and even if she hadn’t been so helpful, I’d have been impressed.
Bear in mind that I’m not risking the claim that this is the best hostel on the planet, because I don’t know. But I do know that for Venice, this is a remarkable lodging resource.
This is not an infomercial. I haven’t been paid anything by anybody. I am merely letting you know about this place because I think it’s amazing, and I would happily stay here myself.
Naturally I consider that the maximum compliment.
Just to show that it’s not all lamentation and garment-rending out here, I’m sharing a glimpse of a blithe little moment in the Piazza San Marco this morning.
Four French women (no, they hadn’t been sent as reparations, or hostages, by Napoleon…) were celebrating the birthday of one of them. It was pretty sweet. I didn’t ask what else the day had in store for them. Any people who are able to come up with this as the centerpiece of a party are capable of just about anything, and I hope they did them all.
I recently remarked on the extraordinary eagerness of people at every compass point to name some local enterprise for Venice (I exclude the Venetian Casino Resort Hotel in Las Vegas and/or Macao as being too screamingly obvious to be interesting). And I offered the Trattoria Citta’ di Venezia in Conegliano as an example.
A reader e-mailed me a brief note in response: “Just to prove your theory,” she said, and as evidence presented the photo below, taken in Krakow, Poland.
If any other hardy readers want to join the scavenger hunt, I’d be very glad to get a photo of whatever Venicely-named establishment or undertaking you come across. For possible, even probable, publication here.
Note: No fair doing any searches and uprooting photos from websites. The only rule is that it has to be a place you’ve seen with your own eyes. If you can’t take a photo of it, for some reason, I’ll accept a postcard.