I had heard of a good lunch spot – al Mascaron – just off of Campo S. Maria Formosa. It took us a few deadends and wrong turns (completely normal for Venice), but we finally found it and had a good lunch.
Then we set off to find the UPS store. We thought this would be easy because it is in Campo S. Giovanni e Paolo. There is a big church there, and we had been there a few days before. Onward!
I’m not sure what happened, but we turned this way and that, crossed canals, gingerly tip-toed by construction workers, greeted gondola drivers, and stumbled upon the most darling neighborhood with beautiful canalside cafes and even more picturesque bridges that we had been seeing. But was not Campo S. Giovanni e Paolo. We pulled out the map and couldn’t make out where we were, so finally had to resort to the address finder on the back. We were shocked that we weren’t remotely near our destination, but the complete opposite (and I usually have a pretty good sense of direction). So we sheepishly made our way back, greeted the very same gondola drivers, and tip-toed by the very same construction workers . Ok – back on track. We consulted the map more frequently this time to make sure we kept to the right path.
After about 25 minutes of this, I pulled out the map once more and must have looked very puzzled because an elderly Italian man approached us with raised eyebrows (he had probably been watching us go back and forth). I said, “Giovanni e Paolo?” He looked surprised, nodded very seriously, and motioned us to follow. How nice. So we followed, expecting him to lead us to the end of the calle and point us in the right direction. However, he kept going. Then turned. And kept going. Over a bridge. Another turn. And kept going. If we were in Naples, I would be certain we were about to be robbed.
Finally, he led us to a square with a church. I exclaimed, “Si, Grazie!” before realizing we were back at Campo S. Maria Formosa. He went a little further and deposited us right at the front door of our lunch spot, across from which is a big sign with an arrow pointing the way (in a whole other direction) to Campo S. Giovanni e Paolo. We dissolved in laughter.
P.S. We did find the UPS store – see below.
And also our new favorite coffee/tea spot, Rosa Salva, which is over 150 years old and has amazing marzipan pastries. Both are in Campo S. Giovanni e Paolo. A good day after all!