We took this picture from the Academia bridge in Venice just a week and half ago. What a Kodak moment. I guess we always figured that the point of visiting Venice was just to be in Venice. Exploring the narrow streets. Getting lost. The very quiet nights. Dodging the pigeons at St. Marks. Venice has always been a very expensive tourist destination. What we weren't quite prepared for during this visit was just how expensive it has become and how tourist unfriendly it really is. Whether it was the assault of local "gypsies" offering to help us carry our luggage over the bridge at the railroad stations, we had visions of chasing them through the streets with our stolen luggage, the mediocre overpriced food at virtually every restaurant we frequented, or the "scam" of charging our credit card for the entire stay at our hotel two weeks prior to our check in date, we came to the conclusion that this very special place has become very tourist unfriendly. The guide books write about the problems of the shrinking Venice population caused by living on water and the expensive cost of transporting everything into the city. It seems that the remaining locals have taken a rather zealous unrepentent aim at the swarms of unsuspecting tourist's pocketbooks. Maybe the economics of the place have something to do with it. During our ten day visit to Italy, visiting very touristy Florence, Lake Como, and Tuscany, we only encountered the scam of converting our credit card charges into dollars on site at a very expensive exchange rate....Venice. Money rule number one. When traveling in Europe only pay with Euros. When traveling in America only pay in dollars. Prego.