Well, I'm back. From Venice. One of the most glorious cities in the world. This is why I adore Venice: I pretty much love everything having to do with boats, old cities, things made of stone that are over five hundred years old, masks, hand-made artisan crafts, and fresh Italian food. Fortunately for me, Venice is built on islands and public transportation is by boat, it is extremely old and gorgeous in every way, and masks and pretty things are in grand abundance. I will attempt to do justice to the whirlwind three days that Lee & I spent there. I will fail, but I will attempt...and at least there will be pictures!Saturday
We left on Saturday afternoon, planning to catch the Aircoach & instead being taken by cab, after a cabbie pulled up to the stop & said, "You want to go to the airport for the same price as the coach? Hop in." Turns out he was going to the airport anyway, so he drives along the aircoach route & steals passengers, which I think is hilarious. Also, he reminded me very strongly of Sanjay from Slings and Arrows
, which was even funnier. We did the whole airport rigamarole, but we got to board our aircraft by walking across & climbing stairs!
I know, it's silly for me to get excited about that but it feels so fabulously old-fashioned, like I ought to be wearing a hat and gloves to get on board the aircraft. There were some beautiful views out the airplane window as well: ( +2 )
We landed in Venice, and took bus to Piazzale Roma (a transportation depot, the last place cars can go in Venice) & then a vaporetto (water taxi) to our hostel. The vaporettos are wonderful, old clunky flat boats with a covered seating area. They stutter along the canals making noises that sound like they will just give up at any moment, and they pull up to the docks with a huge listing clunk. I love them.Sunday
We woke up early on Sunday to avoid the tourist rush across to the main islands. I stumbled blearily out of bed, spent a long time in the bathroom arranging my towel so I could reach it but it wouldn't get showered on, and then spotted a window in the corner. I stumbled over to it, looked outside, and woke up instantly:
Yeah, so, we're in Venice. No doubts! We got breakfast at the hostel, and took the boat across to Piazza San Marco, where we spent a little time just taking photos and being touristy: ( +2 )
Then we went to the Doge's Palace (Palazzo de Doge). Sadly no photos were allowed inside; I would have loved to show you some of those rooms. They were gorgeous, all blue and gold ceilings, and Renaissance paintings everywhere, carved marble fireplaces. Hidden behind a doorway to a staircase that went nowhere we were allowed, we found a fresco by Titian of St Christopher carrying Christ across the Venetian Lagoon. My favorite room by far was the Shield Room, in which there are no shields but the current Doge's coat of arms. But the walls are all painted in maps of the 16th century, and there are two enormous globes--I mean enormous, maybe three feet in diameter--one of the earth, one of heaven. All old, and brown, and beautiful.
I did, however, take plenty pictures of the courtyard....( +3 )
After the Palazzo, we headed for el Teatro Fenice (the Phoenix Theater), via a church where we caught the second half of mass, a cafe where we grabbed some lunch, a gelateria, and various other mazes and amazing places of Venice: ( +3 )
And el Teatro! It was beautiful...and ironic. This theater, and the company that built it, has survived and rebuilt from several fires, each time renovating the theater to look as close to the orginal designs as possible. Except for when Venice surrendered to Napoleon, & they took out several small boxes in the middle to make a royal box (which is riduclously sumptuous, all red velvet and mirrors and gold).
So, we weren't actually allowed to take pictures inside El Teatro, & in the auditorium and seats there were very attentive guards; but in the other rooms no one was around, so I stole a couple photos just to show you how amazing the entire place was: ( +2 )
Just past the Fenice is a beautiful little courtyard. That small building in the back is a hotel, & is, I've decided, where I'll stay the next time I go to Venice. (When I am rich, apparently, and can afford it...)
I could spend so long here...
And the rest of this I'm doing as one great lj-cut lump, because there's no set pattern to any of this... Here are pictures of masks, of bridges, of buildings, of why Venice is strikingly and disgustingly picturesque: ( see? everything is pretty )
So that was Day One of Venice. But I got back to Dublin today, have spent a lot of the day doing laundry & uploading pictures, & I am tired. A lot of my clothes are still wet, I have to pack again because we're going to London tomorrow...& we have to catch a bus at five am. It's 10:25pm right now. So y'all are going to have to wait for more Venice. I will probably do a ridiculous round of Venice & London posts when I get back, after I see my parents!
& now I really do have to pack. And sleep. Love all. Ciao.