There’s an implication that tourists hate Venice, and the Venetians hate the tourists. There are of course two sides to every story. But frankly I am siding with the Venetians on this one – and it has nothing to do with my Patriotism towards the city. This article popped up on my Facebook not so long ago and that is what inspired this post.
You could take out all the Venice implications and insert most places with a large tourism trade. London, Barcelona, Dublin – it doesn’t really matter. The difference is that Venice is defensive of its home in a way you don’t often see. I suppose it’s the close knit nature of the streets and canals that draws such loyalty. Its compact nature means that any problems are keenly felt by everyone. And its dwindling native population has got people a little jumpy. I imagine it has a lot to do with the sense of history and tradition. Of the ancient names that have been peddling their wares here for centuries. At least, that is probably part of it.
I’ve always taken the time to research my holiday destinations. But I’ve never been interested in beach holidays. I go for history, culture and local cuisine. And I’ve been to enough foreign climes and seen enough pig ignorance from tourists to know they largely leave themselves open to exploitation.
I’ve been in restaurants where English speaking tourists have got up and left because their waiter doesn’t speak English. And plenty where burger and chips are still the required meal. And I’ve seen far too many badly behaved hen parties and stag dos to feel able to defend my English counterparts. Excessive drunkeness is an almost uniquely British problem.
Educating yourself about your destination is not difficult. Going armed with a few basic polite phrases will at least mean you give a s*** about the country you’re visiting. In Venice (as in many mainland European countries) a basic respect for culture is at least a kindly nod towards your hosts.
But walking around the city with your top off (men only I hasten to add) or dressed in a bikini (girls I presume) will earn you a firm ticking off from the locals (I’ve seen it). If you’re going to be a tourist in a church at least have the decency to carry something to cover your head or shoulders as required. I am an atheist but even I can manage that one.
All around you businesses will be looking to screw you over. This is not a Venice problem, any business which thrives on tourism sees its victims as gullible money bags and yes we have all fallen for it. That’s what it’s all about surely? You buy souvenirs made half way across the world because you won’t pay more than a fiver and you only eat food which costs less than 15 Euros and took less than 20 minutes to prepare. So what on earth did you expect in return?
So tourists, stop whinging about your treatment by your desitination of choice and start treating it with a little respect. You will get a much better experience.