We docked at the harbor not far from city’s center, we walked through the knee high water. The tour director told us how Venice can flood with the rain and sparkle an hour later in the sun. It was hard to believe though. After some educational monologs by our tour director, we were dismissed to explore the city in groups of three with nothing but a map and a sheet a paper that gave us the "essentials" of the Italian language. I couldn't have been more excited, three 12 year olds roaming a maze locals call a city. I told my friends that I wanted to see the grand canal. But all they were concerned about was the gift shops. I was shocked by their lack of appreciation of this magnificent city.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
I wasn't about to waste my only opportunity to explore this magical place. I walked in to the nearest gift shop with my friends, then when a Venice snow globe had captured their attention, I ran out of the shop alone with my map at hand.
It was like nothing I'd ever experienced before! I was crossing bridges and walking narrow pathways. I had never done anything like this in Los Angeles. But it was frightening. I felt like I was being followed. The narrow walls couldn't be hiding anyone, but i heard footsteps. I stopped and I looked. Of course there was no one there. So I kept walking and kept hearing footsteps. I thought they were mine, but when i stopped they continued, how could they possibly be mine? I was getting really scared. I was far from any shop or populated area. All there were were small streets, bridges, and apartments. I was hopelessly lost. I took out my map and started searching desperately for anything I can use to locate myself. I was going to be in so much trouble if I got out of this, I wasn't supposed to wander off alone. I looked up and on the wall was a golden plaque. Was that a street name? There it was, Calle Larga Mazzini, printed on the map! I was close to the canal. I ran in the right direction and ignored the footsteps because i realized that the narrow walls echoed my footsteps multiple times, that was why I could hear footsteps even though I wasn't walking. I didn't have to run too far. After two minutes i was standing on the banks of the grand canal.
I was mesmerized. How could a city be so beautiful. All the buildings I saw were potential postcards. I couldn't stop mumbling to locals in italian, trying to get them to take pictures for me. I was so happy I came on this trip. I went to sit on the bridge that crossed the canal when I heard familiar voices calling out to me. My friends found me! Turns out they'd noticed I was missing and had gone off to find me by the canal. I apologized for being so inconsiderate to them. They accepted my apology and promised not to tell our tour director of my little, private expedition.
I took a moment. I looked at the water and the bridge and the buildings and just processed everything. I had traveled around the world to this beautiful place, almost got lost forever, but had an adventure I would never forget. It was sunny now. I smiled to my friends and we walked back to the center of the city together. as we walked, I told them how it felt getting lost in the floating city.
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