Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The toast of the town, Venice style.

Well, Venice is now a memory: a very pleasant memory of course, but our visit is behind us and we are now on the train to Verona (I hope).
Just kidding, so far the train experience has been a breeze.

Not like navigating Venice, yikes! If there was a way to wander right off of the island, we would have done it! I can't blame our predicament on Rose either, she dutifully followed me,  innocently trusting in my famously storied sense of direction.

After we trudged past the same group of excited kids being herded into classes for about the third time, I began to hear tired, exasperated sighs emanating from the rear. (Wait a second, that didn't come out right.)

Beautiful colours of exposed. weathered bricks
But eventually we emerged on the far side of the island in a district almost devoid of other tourists and asked at a vaporetto stop where we were. "Oh, of course, right where I expected to be, was my automatic response, but too tired to keep up the pretense, I asked humbly for directions, (and a map!)

Part of the problem I think was that we had ordered our breakfast for 8:30 am and Rose was anticipating some kind of authentic Venetian breakfast feast and didn't want to miss it. Boy, was she wrong!

When we finally made it back at 9:30 breakfast was sitting on our little table looking kind of forlorn and pathetic. Nope, not a feast at all, some prepackaged crackery things and prepackaged croissants and prepackaged everything, even the toast was hard as a rock and had obviously been baked sometime around the time mount Vesuvius got cranky.

The Italians do a lot of things right, but toast is NOT one of them!
Luckily, the cappuccino was still warm and Rose bounced back pretty well. (After her nap)

We've had all kinds of weather since we got to Italy: rain, clouds, sun and more rain. The strange thing is how little it matters what the weather is like and in fact, the rain made for some great photography. Glistening pavement, lots of colourful umbrellas and soft, diffuse lighting to go along with the brief periods of bright sunshine and the stark bright colours that it brings out.

Umbrellas and wet pavement, we saw lots of both!
I've been up and out every morning as early as I can manage, (Rose isn't quite the dawn lover as I first thought) but that's OK.
Saturday we made our way to St. Marks Basilica nice and early to beat the line and Rose took one look and just about mutinied!
Fifteen minutes before opening time there were about 1,000 people waiting in line but we decided to tough it out and actually met a delightful couple from Manchester in the queue.

St. Marks Basilica from the upper gallery.
The line moved pretty quickly as soon as the doors opened and the multitudes were soon swallowed by the massive building. It was quite breathtaking inside with all sorts of famous art work, the glittering gold leaf ceilings and of course the famous bronze horses.

Those horses have quite a story, originally thought to be made in ancient Greece around 400 B.C. and taken to Rome by Nero. Constantine brought them to Constantinople/Istanbul and they were swiped from there by the Venetian crusaders who lost them to Napoleon until he was defeated and eventually they ended up, back at their "rightful home", in Venice.

We loved Murano Island of course with the incredible glass that they make, and Burano with all of the lace and the tiny little canal running through the middle and the colourful houses. This place was amazingly colourful, so colourful in fact, that sunglasses are barely adequate to protect your corneas from overloading, but somehow the overall effect is still pretty. (Rose didn't like the fact that I used the word colourful twice in the last sentence so I used the word colourful again, just to show her that colourful can be a very effective word, even if used twice, or thrice!)

The colourful houses of Burano Island.
Our last night in Venice I realized that I had been a bit lazy and hadn't taken any night shots and had only used my tripod once! So around 10:30 on a drizzly night in Venice I strapped on my gear and headed for Piazza San Marco. I told Rose I would probably only be an hour but it was so gorgeous and so much fun that it took more like two to get what I wanted.

Looking at St. Maria Saluta Church lit up at night

The next day we didn't have to check out until 11:00 so we walked the 5 minutes to the Rialto market and picked up some fruit. Rose had decided early on that she definitely wanted to visit the market so this fulfilled her dream of buying fruit in Venice I guess, go figure.

After we checked out we dragged our bags the few blocks to the vaporetto stop and caught the #1 vaporetto (water bus) to the train station. What a ride, I have never been so packed in like sardines before. I spent the whole time clutching my wallet and trying to stay out of every ones way.

This crazy boat zig-zags back and forth across the grand canal swallowing up and disgorging hordes of people at each stop and it seems like there is no limit to the number of people that it will take on.

At each stop I thought for sure that he was going to leave some behind but  nope, he would just keep shouting "AVANTI, AVANTI" and that seemed to mean "keep moving, go to the back, get out of the way, hurry up," and more. It was a very Venice experience and even though it was unpleasant, I wouldn't have missed it.

A nearly empty vaporetto.

You may be wondering how the bathroom pass worked out? Well it turns out that it is good only for the bathroom that is far away from wherever you happen to be. Every time we tried to use it, it still cost extra euros, so we are not fans of the Venice bathroom pass. The wi-fi pass didn't work out so well either, that was pretty much useless for us, mainly because of our phone problems, but that's another story......

P.S. if you're following on Facebook you'll notice the blog is about 2 days behind the actual events, keeping up with the writing and photography is much tougher than I imagined!

All Contents Copyrighted by the author, Doug Petry


  1. Looks lovely! Bringing back memories of my own trip to Venice, me and mum would have mutinied together. ;p

    1. It was worth it though, some things are worth waiting for!