It’s CARNIVAL!

Venice Carnival. Picture those elaborate Venetian costumes coupled with the perfect backdrop of the Gran Canal. Naturally, this was on our This is Happening List.

Now at this point and time we were so poor. Not the fake poor that rich people complain about but proper poor. At the point where we almost ate ice cube soup paired with a glass of water for dinner. But it was settled. It’s on our list, so we booked it. Even if it wasn’t on our list, flights were like 70 euros round trip each, so we justified it with the savings.

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Our justification process:

IF we stayed home we would eat three meals a day which would cost like 35 euros. Knowing us, we would probably go for a movie (absolutely not) or go for a drink with friends (unlikely).

Whereas IF we booked the trip we probably wouldn’t eat much breakfast and we would have a late lunch which would cover dinner so that’s probably like 28 euros a day which saves us 7 euros each day. That FOR SURE covers our flight and our accommodation.

Backed by mathematics, the numbers don’t lie.

Not only were we going to Venice carnival but we had money left over to dress to impress. We contemplated where we would purchase our own costumes because you can’t go to a costume party without dressing up. If you are that type of person- FOR SHAME! We had some options, there are authentic Venetian dressmakers who’ve been around since the 14th century which were a wee bit out of our price range (700 euros and up!). Then we searched online for costume shops but they looked so terrible when compared to the real thing, like my failed arts and crafts project. They were still 50 euros to boot. We then decided to wing it (i.e. the cheap person’s planning). We would buy our costumes once we arrived. As a safeguard, we purchased 1.85 euro masks at Action. At the very least, they would hide our shame of not wearing a costume. We arrived on a gloomy February day but no amount of fowl weather could melt our spirits. Even after our bus driver didn’t stop after we pressed the next-stop button. We were cheerful. We even laughed if you can believe it*. We got out at the following stop which just so happened to be that weird stop that no one likes nor pays any attention to since it’s awkwardly out of place. After walking along a dangerous highway to our left with cars zooming past us since there was no shoulder with a massive ditch that we almost fell into on our right, followed by trekking through some wild bushes/ thorns we managed to arrive at the front entrance at our accommodation. We got changed out of our spontaneous hike attire. Just kidding, we only bought one set of clothing since we refuse to pay those checked bag fees. So looking a little worse for wear (people may or may not have mistaken us for being in costume as old-time beggars) we began our mystical, tiring search for our costumes. Within 30 seconds we found that every store sold masks so our journey was over. After wandering for a while with our newly purchased matching masks we spotted what looked to be a luxury costume store which sold the exact costumes we were looking for. So we didn’t go in. That afternoon with no success, we decided to go into that fancy-looking store. Surprisingly, some things were moderately priced. Lesson learned, always judge a book by its cover until it’s the last resort. We looked pretty dapper in our new outfits if I do say so myself. People even took photos.

Now what I have failed to mention may come as a shock. For me, I imagined Venice Carnival as thousands of people dressed in impressive, handmade costumes like in National Geographic. In reality, roughly 150 people were dressed up out of 30 000, which included Troy and me. The people who are dressed up are staged around set backdrops and are surrounded by multiple photographers. Bit disappointing.

What followed this realization was another disappointing occurrence. The Venetian Pub Crawl which we booked on the official Venice Carnival website.

Prior to leaving, I knew we needed to do some drinking so we purchased an organized, civilized evening of good times. Costing roughly 45 euros for each ticket. Now, this was far cheaper than the Venetian balls you could attend for 350 + euros. We were amped, to say the least. The night before the crawl, I realized there was no information on where to meet apart from some vague “near the museum”. I was concerned we would miss out on what was sure to be the highlight of our trip so I emailed and called to ask where we were meeting. No response. Flash forward to the next day when we still received no response. Thirty minutes before the pub night began, we arrived at the museum mentioned. No one was there. We creepily walked around the museum which was noticeable since we were the only people dressed up. Our lurking in dark corridors almost got us kicked out and still nada on the pub crawl front. Finally, we decided to split up. I was a frantic mess saying we spent all this money and now will miss out on one epic night. Little did I know what was to unfold. Troy being cool, calm and collected went left while I went right and we were to meet at the bridge in 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of finding nothing, I was looking like a sad puppy. Troy sauntered up to the bridge as well. He was the sad puppy’s twin. JUST KIDDING oh glorious day he found the meeting point. The night was saved.

Or was it dun dun dun

So to say this was the worst pub crawl in history would be highly accurate. It started off at 7:30pm with 10 people and a guide. There were older couples dressed in custom-made costumes along with young people who were dressed in teen angst.

7:38-7:50 Arrived at the first pub crawl where we got rushed to the next pub before even finishing one drink.

7:50-9:10 We walked for eternity to the next pub which was on the other side of the Grand Canal. Despite it saying in the tiny summary online that we would not be crossing the Grand Canal. This was the second unexpected hike of the trip.

9:10-9:15 We arrived at the second location. Losing two people along the way since they needed to go to the toilet and the pub crawl guide didn’t care to wait. We ate almost one appy per person since there wasn’t enough to go around. Splitting an appy is like trying to split an atom. They are too minuscule of proportions to even attempt to do so.

9:18- 9:25 We arrive at the third location and got pushed out the doors before we could clink our glasses together to say cheers.

9:33- 9:47 Fourth location.

9:55-10:15pm: So there is a saying “save the best for last”. That saying would not be appropriate here. The Irish tourist pub was packed and we waited shmushed (I am aware it’s not a word) up against the walls for our drink. I did not receive mine despite asking our pub crawl guide for one. The second time I saw him after waiting another 10 minutes I asked again. He handed me his personal cup with lip marks on the rim and half the alcoholic beverage gone. The next thing I know, he leaves the pub.

Total time walking: 1 hour and 47 minutes

Total time spent in five different pubs: 38 minutes

Total drinks had: 3.5 ( I didn’t actually drink the .5 but it was given to me)

We were soberly pissed when we got home at 10:49 pm.

The next day before we left for our evening flight, the most tragic thing happened. I am not even being dramatic. Some of our favourite cheap unreal eats are in Venice and so the entire night I was deciding what I wanted to order for breakfast from one of our favourite places. Now here is the tragedy. It was CLOSED until the following day.  I didn’t want to believe it. I cried out to the heavens WHY!? as I shook the barred door. Somberly, Troy unlatched my hands from the metal and carried me off, me nearly weeping in his chest.

Before our evening flight left, we had a bit of time to kill so we waited in the downstairs lobby area meant for business people and opened a bottle of prosecco. We took swigs from it trying to drown our sorrows from the breakfast fiasco while we ate sliced deli meat from a package. Surprisingly, not even remotely close to the lowest point in my life.

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P.S. I am sure you think we are irresponsible idiots and rightly so but in our defence, we were both working but got paid on a monthly bases so we were going to get money even if we didn’t have money at the present moment. Plus, it’s Venice Carnival.

*Don’t believe it, we did not laugh. We were spaztic and nervous that we were going to have to stay on the bus for all eternity and never make it to the hotel that we paid for already.

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