Sunday, 8 April 2012


At the moment we are in venice. Anyone who has been there will know that it is almost impossible to describe, so I won't try. Reading some of the web resources I find that many recommend simply getting lost as one of the top travel tips. The place is a mass of tiny winding streets interrupted by canals of varying sizes, so getting lost is easier than trying to find any particular attraction.
The process of getting lost is assisted by modern technology. I carried a new iPad, so in theory I could use Google maps to get around - in theory. My iPad has a phone SIM in it, so should be able to work anywhere. In fact it needs a decent 3G signal or access to WiFi. In order to avoid vast data roaming charges from my UK network I bought a pay as you go Italian SIM card. That worked well in Verbania and traveling along the autostrada to get here, but in Venice it is far less good. The picture shows what Google maps produces for most Venice, not very helpful.
An alternative is to use what I think is called a MiFi, which is a sort of mobile phone that produces a local WiFi signal. We tried that on the second day and did manage to get maps to work for a rather larger part of Venice. The rechargeable battery ran out after about four hours, so if you really needed to rely on this to get around, then you either need two, or you have to keep switching it off to save power. It takes a minute or so to boot up each time, so would not be much help for things like translation on the iPad. The app called Converse, for instance, is brilliant but it needs the Internet to be connected.
I am impressed with the iPad, I've taken some great movies and pictures with it, but if Apple really want people to get the best out of it, then they should use some of their money and muscle to get the mobile phone companies to perform better. It is completely foolish that a place like Venice, an internationally renowned treasure should have a rubbish mobile phone coverage.
Having said all that, nothing can detract from the wonders of the place. It is, of course, unique. The solution to getting everyone to walk and use public transport and be slim, is not to flood the place and make the streets narrow. Anything learned about to live life here would probably not be relevant anywhere else. I am sure they run the place better, they could learn something from Disney about how to manage crowds and queues, for example, but in general it is just one of those must see places and I am immensely glad I came.
The pictures are just a sample, limited both by space and by writing in Blogger's very primitive iPad app.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. If I said anything else it would be disrespecting the beauty.

    I love the pic of you in the mirror. Saved it.