We love to travel! I guess that’s a huge understatement as we’ve been traveling pretty regularly since 2007. 🙂 Our favorite ways of traveling are either house sitting or renting a local apartment through AirBnB (see code for $25 AirBnB credit at the end of this post!) or House Trip. This gives us a chance to shop at the local markets, know the neighborhoods, and generally feel as though we’re really living somewhere instead of just “touristing”.
Sometimes, though, it’s tough to not actually speak the language fluently or be able to understand directions given to you – or think you understand, when you’re hopelessly lost! Yesterday we left the apartment early with bags in hand to find the neighborhood grocery. We left the phone/GPS inside to charge. “It’s just a few steps out of your door. Turn left and it will be there.” Great directions given by our helpful property manager when we checked in late on a Sunday when everything in Venice was already closed. SO EASY. You would think…
“Are you sure she said left?,” I asked again as we wandered hopelessly up and down the canal without a grocery or market anywhere in sight. We saw a small hardware store, a leather boutique, even an art gallery, but no grocery.
“That’s what it says here on the map,” Cheryl explained patiently. (She’s definitely the patient one.) We wandered a few more blocks, thinking that perhaps our property manager might just measure her steps differently than we do in the US, but still no luck.
As the third Italian lady passed us pulling her rolling cart, Cheryl had a thought. “Let’s follow her! She’s got to be going shopping.” So we followed. The lady stopped to talk to one friend, then another, petted a dog and chatted with the restaurant owner over the specials for the day. By this time we’d been searching for almost an hour. It was hot and we were close to giving in when she disappeared. Just disappeared.
A tiny, unmarked alleyway was all that was between us. I jogged over and peeked in. Nothing special, just an alley. “She must live there,” I said and we wandered off again.
Thankfully, our wanders led us to find a beautiful enoteca where we bought liters of cheap wine straight from the tap. We brought those back to our apartment and headed back out again. We would NOT let this grocery store defeat us! This time we got lucky. Just as we stepped out of our door, we saw another family pulling a rolling cart. They stopped in front of the alley and disappeared. It was just like the Harry Potter movies at the train station. There was no sign of any sort over the tiny alley.
But it couldn’t be coincidence – I just hadn’t looked hard enough down the alley. This time we went in and walked all the way down. We’d found it! You would have thought we’d found the fountain of youth from our big grins. It is huge inside and has absolutely everything we need!
Now we make it a point if we see some poor tourists like us looking around near that alley, to ask if they are looking for the grocery and to point them in the right direction. Of course, they probably think we’re sending them down some dark alley to rob them. But when they find it for themselves, they’ll know the truth!
If you’d like to try AirBnB to stay locally in your travels, click HERE for a $25 discount on your first booking!