is Venice Worth Visiting? A Fairy Tale or Tourist Trap?

is Venice worth visiting?

We left Venice in the dark. The only sound was the water slapping against the wooden dock. The few lights from the palazzos spilled golden puddles on the water. We sat at the back of the boat, huddled together against the cold but needing to store it all up: the wind on our cheeks, the put put put of the boat as it criss-crossed the canal picking up the small amount of people out that early in the morning, and the majestic arches of the Rialto bridge appearing before us in the darkness, empty finally of the crowds that lined it during the day. But is Venice worth visiting?

Venice is a city like no other. A city that floats on water. A city of ornate palaces and gothic churches, bridges and canals. How many other places in the world still look much as they would have done in the 18th century?

Is Venice worth visiting?Walk halfway over the Accademia bridge and look at the never changing view of the Grand Canal. You’ll see no skyscrapers, no office blocks. The silvery dome of the Salute basilica rises into the sky above the terracotta rooftops. Crenellated battlements are attached like delicate rows of lace to the top of the historic palazzos.

Truman Capote said that Venice was “like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go” and there is an element of the impossibility about Venice, about having too much of a good thing. There are also moments when you feel as though you’ve invaded a film set – along with a thousand others. Squeezed onto the Rialto bridge, jostled by the crowds at St Mark’s Square, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into someone else’s holiday pictures. But is Venice worth visiting despite the crowds?

There’s a grandness and a majesty to Venice not found in many other places in the world. The set pieces – the Grand Canal, the domes and minarets of the Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the view of San Giorgio Maggiore across the lagoon – are imposing and magnificent.

It’s impossible not to be awestruck by a place where winged lions, angels and prancing horses look down at you from their columns and balustrades – as they have looked down on their public for hundreds of years.

Napoleon called St Mark’s Square “the finest drawing room in Europe” and it has that feel of a place where people want to linger, to talk, to sit on the steps or in one of the pavement caffès. Entering from one of the arcades, it’s hard not to gasp at the sheer size of the space, covered as it is with pigeons and tourists.

St Mark's Square at duskBut come here at dusk, when the crowds have dispersed and the lights are starting to come on and you’ll find a much more magical atmosphere. Take the lift to the top of the belltower at the Campanile and marvel at the city anew as it rediscovers itself in the oncoming darkness. This is the time to wander around the piazza without the crowds, to listen to the orchestra playing and smell the rich aroma of hot chocolate being served by white-suited waiters at the tables outside Caffè Florian. Is Venice worth visiting at this time of day? Absolutely.

At the beginning of the last century, the German novelist, Thomas Mann, called Venice “Part fairy tale, part tourist trap”. There are certainly elements of both but even now it’s not so difficult to escape from the crowds. Wander a couple of streets away from St Mark’s and you’ll find yourself in a different Venice entirely. A Venice of tiny canals and little squares called campos with a fountain in the middle where a centuries-old statue – an angel, a winged lion or a turbaned man – looks down at you. Washing is hanging up outside the windows of the houses and life goes on much as it has done for hundreds of years.

To discover Venice is to get lost in these little lanes, to wander inside a neighbourhood church and find yourself staring at a Tintoretto. Turn another corner, cross a narrow bridge and get lost once more. The shops lined with carnival masks add to the aura of mystery and enchantment. Make your way towards the back and you’ll find the door ajar to a tiny workshop where an artist is painting faces on masks or blowing glass into colourful bowls. Is Venice worth visiting for this? Yes, and yes again.

To fall in love with Venice is to become entranced by its otherness, by the dreamlike quality of a city on the water. You’ll find yourself continually drawn towards the water, to gaze at the elegant curves of the gondolas silhouetted against the hazy blue light. The mists rising up from the lagoon swirl around the tower of San Giorgio Maggiore across the water and give Venice an ethereal quality as the blues of the sky bleed into the paler blues of the lagoon, setting off the vibrant covers on the fleet of gondolas waiting at the pier.

Is Venice worth visiting?Then there’s the indigo green of the Grand Canal, its sides lined with ornate palaces in pinks, yellows and ivories. Candy cane-striped paline stand straight as toy soldiers in the water outside, their motorboats and gondolas moored alongside. It’s at its best in the late afternoon when the dipping sun bathes the palaces in a golden light.

But on a morning, over by the Rialto market, the smell of fresh fish attracts a group of squealing seagulls who fly over the heads of the passengers standing on the traghetto crossing the canal, its two gondoliers stood rowing at each end. They fly over to the gigantic hands of the child holding up the peach-coloured palazzo on the other side. The sculpture is part of on installation for the Venice Biennale by artist Lorenzo Quinn to highlight climate change and rising sea levels in the historic city.

A police boat speeds down the canal. For this is a city with no roads. The only traffic comes by boat so gondolas and water buses compete for water space alongside fire engines, kayaks, water taxis and rubbish trucks. Just close your eyes for a minute and imagine the silence of a city at night without the noise of cars or lorries.

And so Venice will seduce you in the end. You’ll find yourself giving in to its charms. You’ll do things you’d consider far too touristy in other places. You’ll ride in a gondola and you’ll love it. You’ll surrender to its gentle rhythm, lulled by the sound of the oar dipping in and out of the water. You’ll glide down the narrow canals, under bridges and past palazzos and you’ll vow to come back. Because this, after all, is Venice. Is Venice worth visiting? What do you think?

To find out more about visiting Venice, take a look at:

The Ultimate Guide to Venice with Kids

Secret Tour of the Doge’s Palace in Venice

The Colourful Island of Burano

Is Venice worth visiting? Is it a fairy tale city on the water or an overcrowded tourist trap? Read this post to find out whether you'll be seduced by its charms. #venice #isveniceworthvisiting #isvenicetootouristy #magicofvenice #whyvisitvenice #isvenicetoocrowded #venicevacation #veniceguide

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

Follow:
Share:

74 Comments

  1. 15th November 2017 / 6:29 pm

    I totally love this Clare and wholeheartedly agree with you, we revisited in November last year and I was so surprised by how busy it was since the last time I was there 15 years ago. However, I still remember one night, coming out of the Doges palace at dusk in the cold air, snapping a few photo’s in the brilliant golden hour, grabbing a quick glass of Prosecco at a local hotel bar to warm us up then pushing our way through the crowds of St Marks square – yes it was busy, yes you could barely move, but it was magical none the less and I would go back in an instance. We actually stayed in a little airbnb away from the crowds in a more residential area and experienced the best of both sides of Venice – the local, quieter neighbourhoods and the amazing sights that the cruise-crowds rush in to see. I would recommend this way of doing Venice and I would definitely say it still remains more than just a tourist trap! Great post!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      19th November 2017 / 11:43 am

      Thanks so very much, Alex. You always write the loveliest comments and it means so much that you like it as you wrote so eloquently about Venice earlier this year. Your post about the various different neighbourhoods was spot on and such a useful resource for anyone planning a trip. Venice just is magical, there’s no doubt about it, but as so often in other parts of the world, it does get really crowded. I do hate crowds but as you know, you can escape them here – and it’s totally worth it in any case. Thanks so much again. Xx

  2. 15th November 2017 / 8:27 pm

    Normally I wait for FF to comment, but I just have to say how lovely this post is! Your words are so descriptive one feels transported just reading them… more later… xx

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      19th November 2017 / 11:44 am

      Thank you so very much. It really means so much to hear you say that. I did hope to take people there with a magic wand or on a flying carpet while they read this. Xx

  3. 15th November 2017 / 11:20 pm

    I’ve always wondered with places like Venice. Everyone says they’re worth visiting, but I’m a tiny bit jaded. It’s good to know it’s as romantic as everyone claims.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 7:59 pm

      Venice really IS as romantic as they say – but you do have to pick your time. I really dislike crowds so it was very important to us not to visit during the peak season.

  4. 16th November 2017 / 8:12 am

    Venice is certainly both! I remember my first first and how enchanting it was but it was certainly crowded! I’ve made some notes in my book for a future visit, such as taking the lift up the tower! Definitely NOT missing that next time! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 7:59 pm

      I absolutely agree. Crowded but oh-so enchanting nevertheless. Taking a lift up the tower was a great thing to do and I’d definitely recommend doing it at dusk.

  5. 16th November 2017 / 8:21 am

    I’m completely with you on this one. It is so frustrating that you feel your self shuffling along in a mass of tourists especially when we returned with our kids desperate to show them all the magical sights we’d discovered 20 years before. There are ways to still find some peace as you say the lanes further back in the residential areas are lovely – and we splashed out on a hotel room with a balcony. It turned out to be worth every penny as that has been the lasting memory for us – spending mornings and evenings up there viewing the boats, the rooftops and watching the light change – magical! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:01 pm

      A hotel room with a balcony sounds like a wonderful things to splurge on. Some things are just worth paying that bit extra, aren’t they? Those neighbourhood areas are enchanting. They’re so close to the touristy areas but couldn’t be more different.

  6. 16th November 2017 / 8:39 am

    I’ve been to Venice the first (and only) tie when I was 5 so unfortunately I don’t remember much. But what I remember is that I was so amazed by all the water and especially the gondolas. Didn’t get to ride one though because my parents told me I’d need to come back with my bofriend one day to do that. lol. Your pictures really really make me want to go back like right now! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:03 pm

      Venice must have seemed so magical at the age of five but in a way it’s great that you’ll get to experience it again as an adult. I’ve been four times now and haven’t regretted a single visit.

  7. 16th November 2017 / 9:48 am

    Lovely to read this. Good to hear you can still escape the crowds and enjoy the city. I hope the locals finds a solution to the tourism situation. I’d imagine it’s only going to get worse before it gets better given the increased popularity of cruise ships.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:04 pm

      Thank you so much, Annabel. I do think it’s possible to escape the crowds which is such a good thing in a city as magical as this.

  8. 16th November 2017 / 11:02 am

    I couldn’t agree more – it’s one of those cities where I inadvertently find myself doing the touristy things I would normally loathed to do… and yet, because it’s all romantic in Venice, it seems alright! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:05 pm

      Isn’t that so true, Connie? I usually avoid the touristy things to be honest but in Venice…it just had to be done!

  9. 16th November 2017 / 12:00 pm

    I’m slightly worried I won’t love Venice when we visit, mainly because of the crowds. I’m hoping that we can get lost in the city a bit and find our way away from the crowds! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:27 pm

      It’s not so difficult to get lost in the backstreets of Venice, Amanda. In fact it’s almost impossible not to!

  10. 16th November 2017 / 12:25 pm

    Great piece! Venice is most definitely both, but I love it so much. I’d love to go back and experience Carnivale… #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:30 pm

      Thanks so much, Keri. Ooh I’d love to experience Carnivale too!

  11. 16th November 2017 / 1:08 pm

    Love Venice and loved your article Clare! Truman Capote quote says it all and like you, looking to go back with the kiddies after the huge crowds are gone! My first day in Venice was back in 2001 and I never felt so overwhelmed by beauty, grandeur and impossibility as you call it – it’s surreal and magic. Will pin for inspiration hopefully summer 2018 when maybe our 2nd son that will be 2 years old could hopefully cope in a gondola without screaming at the whole city about his desire to dive in 😉 #Farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:33 pm

      Thank you so very much. Do you know it was such a wonderful experience sharing Venice with my two boys and I’m glad I waited until they were that big older and able to appreciate the magic of it all.

  12. 16th November 2017 / 1:34 pm

    During my visit to Venice, I totally felt the same tension between the authentic back canals and the touristy traps in San Marco square. We were lost so many times cut off by a dead end of a canal, but looking back those were the times and sights I enjoyed of Venice the most.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:37 pm

      I do agree with you, Jacki. I did get a bit frustrated getting lost virtually every time we went looking for something but actually it was a pleasure wandering down those little canals and back streets.

  13. 16th November 2017 / 3:00 pm

    In answer to your question – it is both.

    Living in northern Italy, every visitor wanted us to take them to Venice. I actually got tired of going (I know, I know, 1st world problems) but not because of Venice, because of the crowds.

    Even with crowds and grouchy old Italian women on the vaporetto (one hit me with her handbag), Venice is sill a magical, beautiful, mystical place.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:38 pm

      Absolutely. It really is crowded and I do hate crowds but there’s something so otherworldly about this city on the water. You can’t help but be enchanted.

  14. 16th November 2017 / 5:18 pm

    Beautiful post, Clare, both the images and the words. I would say I feel the same way about Venice, though for me I wouldn’t visit in July again. That’s a no-brainer, but it was the time we could take with work. Just getting lost in the streets, alley ways and canals of Venice and allowing yourself to be a tourist is what it’s all about. #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:40 pm

      Thanks so very much, Corey. We rather liked getting lost in Venice and succumbing to all those touristy things like drifting along in a gondola, visiting churches and climbing towers.

  15. 16th November 2017 / 5:19 pm

    Great read, Clare. Thoroughly enjoyed it. We’re of two minds with Venice, and other very popular places. There is the original attraction – the beauty of a square, the friendliness of locals, the novelty of a water-borne city – which draws so many visitors. Then there is the modern experience of being part of that sea of humanity. The trick, of course, if being able to experience both. It’s good to know it can be done, even when they seem to work against each other as in Venice.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:41 pm

      Thank you so much. Yes, I think it really can be done even when you’re a crowd hater like me. I was charmed once again by this most recent trip to Venice.

  16. 16th November 2017 / 5:51 pm

    It is both but for me fairytLe wins out

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:44 pm

      Me too.

  17. 16th November 2017 / 6:31 pm

    We went to Venice on our honeymoon and I really want to get back, maybe we should go back for 20 years, but that’s too long a wait. I love that amazing piece of art with the hands reaching out of the water, though if I really think about it, it’s a bit creepy too. Your words are so descriptive I feel transported. Love this post! #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      22nd November 2017 / 8:50 pm

      Oh now there’s a classic honeymoon destination! The hands really were incredible. I found it so beautiful. And thank you so much for your lovely comments.

  18. 16th November 2017 / 8:22 pm

    What a beautiful piece. Thoman Mann was very astute – I’m sure the hordes of tourists were nowhere near as large when he made that statement, as they are now. There must be other places that are equally compelling, only without the crowds. I’m not sure where, but maybe some time they’ll become known and filter off some of Venice’s tourists. #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 2:55 pm

      Thanks so very much, Nell. I’m sure you’re right about the Venice of Thomas Mann’s time. We would have found it positively devoid of tourists no doubt. I love searching out those hidden gems around the world but there are some places I felt I had to return to and Venice was one of them.

  19. 16th November 2017 / 9:36 pm

    In some cities it’s just more difficult to escape from the crowds than in others. I feel the same about Bruges. To be fair, it’s pretty awful there during the day, with the busloads and busloads of tourists. But in the evening, or early in the morning, you catch a glimpse of what it can be.
    #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 2:56 pm

      You’re right about Bruges, Esther. It always seems to be busy. I always prefer to linger longer in a place so that I can see what it’s like when the day-trippers have gone home and really get a proper feel for it.

  20. 17th November 2017 / 7:58 am

    Lovely post. I’ve been to Venice 3x now and have experienced both sides. The tourist trap side is almost beyond belief in Venice, and I do feel that all the day-trippers are almost “ruining” the city. Have you seen that pic of the huge cruise ship parked right outside the city? Horrific. But I have also gotten lost in the alleyways (till 3AM haha), and visited during winter when there were not so many tourists and you could actually enjoy the beauty of the place. If I ever do return, I’d like to actually spend some time there, and see if my impressions change at all. #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 2:58 pm

      Thanks so much, Shelley. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to go somewhere like Venice for just a day. How can you see a city in such a short space of time? I guess those people are looking for different things. I think a few months in Venice might be rather nice but not sure I could ever make that happen!

  21. 17th November 2017 / 2:23 pm

    You make Venice sound truly magical. I can’t wait to go and actually have reservations made for next September. It was so much fun to read your post and will definitely stay after dusk to enjoy Venice without the crowds!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 2:59 pm

      Thanks so very much, Cathy. How exciting that you’ve already got plans to visit! I’m sure you’ll make Venice your own.

  22. 17th November 2017 / 10:43 pm

    Yes and yes. I think Venice is both a fairy tale and a tourist trap. I love the atmosphere but I can do without the crowds. I enjoyed wandering the lesser visited areas of this city but I also enjoyed the popular touristy parts (even with the crowds. The cruise ships can make things a bit overwhelming.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 3:03 pm

      I agree. I think you do have to see those touristy parts because they’re such an important part of the grandeur of Venice. It really was interesting how much less busy it got later in the afternoon. We did love wandering down those little canals and alleys in the various neighbourhoods too.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      20th November 2017 / 7:18 pm

      Thank you so much, Tanja. Congratulations – you must be so busy right now. Xx

  23. 18th November 2017 / 10:01 am

    I love your description of Venice. It’s so spot on…part tourist trap and part magic indeed! We went to Venice on a babymoon just after we moved to Europe and I was pregnant with my first and we keep talking about how we need to go back with the kids!

    #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 3:04 pm

      Thanks so much, Ashley. What a great place for a baby moon. It’s such a romantic place. I did enjoy going back with my children too.

  24. 18th November 2017 / 12:08 pm

    Beautiful this is the Venice of my dreams and your writing is so poetic it was a pleasure to read and picture Venice in my mind. I really liked the fact that you didn’t downplay the other side of Venice and just loved all of it because that is what makes Venice unique in the world

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 3:05 pm

      Dear Faith, thanks so very much for your lovely comment. You’re right, Venice is so unique. You can’t miss out the touristy parts but I think you can probably avoid the worst of the crowds by visiting at different times of the day.

  25. 18th November 2017 / 1:09 pm

    Although I’m sure there are plenty of traps, this is one of the places high on my bucket list. The fact, as you point out with the quotes, that so many writers have romanticized it, only adds to the appeal. I can’t wait to ride in my first gondola!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 3:06 pm

      Riding in a gondola really is a very special experience, Sherrie. And you know, Venice is a truly magical place and just begs to be explored.

  26. 18th November 2017 / 3:48 pm

    What a wonderful evocative post. We visited once in early February and the whole city was shrouded in mist it was amazing. Muffled bells boomed out and palazzos just loomed out of the gloom. #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 3:17 pm

      Thanks so much, Catherine. The mist that comes off the lagoon really adds to the appeal, I think. It’s a wonderful place.

  27. 18th November 2017 / 5:58 pm

    Lovely post – takes me back. I hated seeing what the tourist deluge is doing to that city and were I a local I’d be a tad peeved, I think. The two-sided coin – tourist money or peace and privacy.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 3:18 pm

      Thanks so much, Mary. It’s such a tricky one, isn’t it? I’d find it difficult living with all those tourists too.

  28. 19th November 2017 / 4:40 am

    Sometimes I would love to do touristy things as well. And looks like Venice is definitely one such place!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 3:21 pm

      Sometimes you just have to, don’t you? And Venice is definitely one of those places.

  29. 19th November 2017 / 2:08 pm

    Venice is truly astonishing and reading your post was awesome. Would you recommend Venice as a good winter destination, Claire?

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 3:22 pm

      Thanks so much, Agness. Yes, I think Venice is a very good winter destination as it’s not so busy in the winter months and the attractions will all still be open. It will be cold though so you’ll need to wrap up!

  30. This is such a beautifully written post, with pictures to boost. So evocative and spot-on. I only visited Venice once and like everyone else, I vowed to go back. Your writing took me back there. x
    #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 5:14 pm

      Thanks so very much, Annette. Your comment has made my day, even more so because it comes from such an evocative writer and photographer as yourself.

  31. MG
    21st November 2017 / 9:56 pm

    I loved reading this! I visited Venice a few years ago, and even though it’s such a crazy city for tourists, you really do end up falling in love with it! I loved the architecture and the canals – your photos brought back so many wonderful memories!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      23rd November 2017 / 5:15 pm

      Thanks so much. Yes, you really do end up falling in love with it, don’t you?

  32. 23rd November 2017 / 6:49 pm

    Beautifully written! I’d love to visit Venice someday. Though I’d prefer to go in the off season for sure 🙂 #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      1st December 2017 / 9:35 am

      Thanks so very much, Courtney. Yes, I do think it’s well worth trying to find a slightly quieter time to visit if at all possible.

  33. 29th November 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Oh Clare! I love this post. Everything about it. I’m sucked in, draw in, right there with you and now desperate to go! Oh the magic that can be conjured being in such a place. I have resisted Venice. But it is calling loud and lyrical. Thank you sharing!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      1st December 2017 / 7:24 pm

      Thank you so very much, Erin. For some reason, I really wanted to know what you thought of this post and I’m so happy that you like it. Venice is a magical place in spite of the crowds. It does draw you in. It was really special taking the boys there.

  34. 9th January 2018 / 10:19 am

    I’ve been to Venice twice – one during the summer and one during winter. I definitely liked it better during winter. Less crowd, easier to go around and also not as hot. :p It can get very touristy but the architecture, the alleyways and the history makes it so lovely. I love Venice! 🙂 #citytripping

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      10th January 2018 / 6:47 pm

      It IS such a lovely place. We loved it too. My first visit was in the summer as well but I was glad to be able to introduce it to my boys so they saw it for the first time at the end of October when it wasn’t quite as busy.

  35. 9th January 2018 / 12:50 pm

    Venice is on our short haul bucket list and we’d love to go but have often been put off by people staying its ridiculously busy. I think we might just chance it and book as it sounds like there are places to dodge the crowds x #CityTripping

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      11th January 2018 / 10:05 am

      It is really busy. There are quieter times to visit though so it’s worth considering going outside of the even busier summer months. But you can escape the grounds and it is an extraordinary place.

  36. 10th January 2018 / 10:32 am

    What a wonderfully evocative post – part fairy tale and part tourist trap is such a good summing up, but the fairytale magical of this wonderful floating city means I get drawn back again and again. And I have never failed to get lost while wandering the streets, but that’s very much part of the charm – and the quickest way (along with nipping over to the Lido) to escape the crowds. Having been in the heat of summer and in the autumn warmth of October, the latter was wonderful: as lovely out of season, it made for a more relaxed chance to explore. Burano is still on my list, so I much book that return visit… Thanks for linking up with #citytripping and inspiring me

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      11th January 2018 / 10:07 am

      Thanks so very much, Cathy. The fairytale magic draws me in too – it was somewhere I had to show the boys while they were still children and it’s really not all that difficult to escape from the crowds. It took me four visits to get to Burano and we did love all that glorious colour. Thank you so much for sharing the post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.