YOUR HOLIDAY DISASTER

Caspar Van Vark sought a mysterious Venice, but wished he had stayed at home

I needed a break on my own, and a week in Venice seemed just the ticket. It was a dreary February and although it would be just as cold over there at least the carnival would provide some intrigue. I imagined myself exploring silent canals and bumping into ghostly masked figures at every corner. In the evenings I would be the lone foreigner in the hotel bar, nursing a martini and a mysterious past. It would be perfect.

So when my travel agent pushed a receipt under my nose and looked the other way, I scribbled my agreement without another thought. The holiday was remarkably cheap and the hotel, I had been assured, was four-star and close to the centre of Venice. What more could I ask for?

My suspicions were aroused during the journey from the airport to the hotel, on a courtesy minibus. The driver ignored a sign saying "Venice 2 km", zooming instead in the direction of a place called "Lido di Jesolo 15 km". I waited a few minutes before tapping him on the shoulder. "Si! Lido di Jesolo," he coolly replied, swerving to avoid a pothole.

On arrival at my "hote-" (the L had long since fallen off) I found myself in the Italian equivalent of Blackpool. Lido di Jesolo was a beach resort shut down for the winter, and my "hote-" was the only one open. The only other guests were a party of Polish schoolchildren with a fierce headmistress. So much for mysterious evenings in the hotel lounge. I decided to make the best of it. After all, I had come for solitude? I'd certainly got my money's worth in that respect. My room was comfortable enough, and surely it would be quite easy to find my way into Venice. Wouldn't it?

Two hours later I was still standing alongside a deserted road, waiting for a bus which would take me to a boat which would take me to Venice. At last a speck appeared on the horizon, and sure enough a ramshackle bus spluttered to a halt in front of me. After a bone-rattling 45-minute journey, I staggered off the bus and on to a boat which finally deposited me at St Mark's Square, stripped of any romantic visions.

Elbowing my way through a gaggle of masked carnival-goers, I headed for the first cafe I could find. Tentative enquiries about a hotel room in Venice were met with hilarity among the waiting staff, so with my bubble completely burst I later caught the last boat and bus back to the "hote- ". The next morning the same courtesy bus driver rather less courteously took me back to the airport where I caught a flight back to London, vowing that the next time I needed solitude I would take the phone off the hook and stay at home.

Correction: In last week's Holiday Disaster, Sara Grove desribed a disastrous flight and her cavalier treatment by the travel company in response to her complaint. Unfortunately she wrongly identified the company concerned as Trailfinders. We would like to apologise wholeheartedly to Trailfinders for this error.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?