THIRD WHEEL­ING IN VENICE

Louise Ba­s­tock As­sis­tant editor, lone­ly­planet.com @LouiseBa­s­tock

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Journal -

Book­ing tours can be a chal­lenge for the solo trav­eller. Ad­vance book­ings re­strict spon­ta­neous ad­ven­tures, but wait­ing to form a band of new-found com­rades may mean you miss out on hot-ticket ex­pe­ri­ences. And, of course, solo trav­ellers are al­ways at the mercy of the min­i­mum per­sons re­quired rule. Such was my luck when I went on a kayak­ing tour in Venice. Not want­ing to risk the tour sell­ing out, I jumped on a trip that had al­ready reached its min­i­mum book­ing of two peo­ple. Lit­tle did I re­alise that those two peo­ple were a cou­ple cel­e­brat­ing their re­cent en­gage­ment. The two were so em­bar­rassed to find this beam­ing Bri­tish girl stuffed into a wet­suit at the start of their hot date that they swiftly swapped their tan­dem canoe for in­di­vid­ual kayaks. If two is com­pany, three was the most awk­ward crowd ever, and we took to the wa­ter in rel­a­tive si­lence, ex­chang­ing forced smiles. For­tu­nately, we all got on great in the end, and the tour it­self was a high­light of my trip. I do oc­ca­sion­ally feel pangs of guilt when I think of them sift­ing through their va­ca­tion pho­tos and see­ing their amorous boat­ing es­capades pho­to­bombed by a shriek­ing Bri­tish girl col­lid­ing with a gon­dola.

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