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
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker