Man tries swimming to Venice hotel

"Man tries swimming to Venice hotel.
Australian tourist gets thorough scolding from police"

(ANSA) - Venice, August 10 - An Australian tourist got away with a scolding from Venice police on Wednesday after he abandoned a sluggish water bus and plunged into the Grand Canal, fully intending to swim to his hotel.

The 31-year-old visitor was apparently an excellent swimmer and quite ready to cover the half kilometre between the Rialto bus stop and his hotel in Piazza San Marco in the water - even if it was 4 o'clock in the morning.

After being ordered out of the canal by police, he said he knew nothing of Venice's ban on swimming in the canals and had just wanted to make good use of his swimming talents.

The man was reportedly not drunk [emphasis mine]. Some observers suggested he may have been inspired by Lord Byron, the English Romantic poet who enjoyed swimming about nude in Venice's canals.

Legend has it that Byron used to swim, with a torch in his hand, up to the windows of beautiful Venetian women and peep inside their bedchambers, possibly hoping for an invitation to come in.

The Australian tourist, identified only as S.D.E., was firmly ticked off by police officers, who then explained the way to reach his four-star hotel on foot.

He was luckier than a 21-year-old American girl who took a dip in the same canal this past June and also claimed to know nothing of the swimming ban. She was slapped with a fine."

I will refrain from joking that he jumped in just because he thought he saw a crocodile... (from


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