Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time to get out there and explore Venice. The thing is, I'm not really sure how to describe exploring Venice. There are a lot of streets, and even more alleys that the people here like to pretend are streets, even when they dead end at water, and there's nothing down there – you know Venice? It must have the most named streets of any pretend city out there. Seriously. Go around and name all the alleys in your city, then you can compete – but until then? Venice has you smacked down from left, right, up down, and any other which way you want to take it.

Now I say it's a pretend city it that it's not all built on real ground – a lot was man-made. Though, so was a lot of Toronto – that historic Fort York wasn't always guarding more and more land stretching on forever until you hit the lake.

But unlike Toronto Venice is sinking. The planks are still on the road from when it rained last week. It's cute that the city floods all the time. Cute in that, I didn't want furniture on the first floor anyway, type of way.

I did all the tourist things in the city today. Both of them. I went to the big bridge – which is just that, a big bridge. And not a particularly pretty one either, all things considered. But still, people stand there snapping shot after shot. The view is kind of alright if you catch it in the right light. I got a picture taken of me there by this charming lady in her seventies. She knew how to pre-focus, and move me out of the middle of the frame. I could have kissed her – but she was Canadian. No one wants to kiss a Canadian. Gross.

And then I went to the big church. There are lots of churches here – maybe seventy? They're all over the maps. But believe you me, you'll know when you're at the big one. In fact there are signs all over the city pointing to both the bridge and the church. If you happen to know where your hotel is located in relations to these two landmarks, you will never get lost. Even the most barren alley will point the way.

And this church? It's pretty alright. I was excited enough by it to take a picture or two. Ah church pictures – just like parade pictures, zoo pictures, and museum pictures. You can't not take them, but odds are you'll never look at them again.

Unless you collect them.

And why not?

Maybe you'd check out a zoo picture again. Especially if it was of a cassowary.

And that was that – the hot spots, hit. But I had more hours of sun to photograph under. And so I headed to the extremes of the map. North, south, east, and west. To the east was my favourite. There was a school there, and no tourists, and people going about their daily lives. The streets are mostly empty, and it's lovely.

To the north there's not much, but on your way there, odds are you'll pass through the Jewish Ghetto. The first, the original, and (the best? awkward.) ghetto in the world. The ghetto from which all ghettos take their name! Just like the geyser in Iceland. Except less uplifting.

Today it's the are most likely to provide you with potato pancakes, that – by all that is holy – don't you dare put ketchup on. Yogurt only. You'll also find the local synagogue. Only one to balance against the ungodly (ironic?) amount of churches.

Then you go south, all the way to the water, looking out at – well another island. But it's not a bridged island. It's a water taxi only island, and I don't want to discuss the prices for those (16 euro for 12 hours, 6.50 for one way trip.) So that's as south as I went. It was full of the tourists, and the little shops, and the overprices restaurants, and the benches made of stone, because all the wooden ones have planks ripped off of them.

But let us address the tourist shops for a moment. They are largely located in these areas, but they are also hidden amongst all of the little back alleys that no one would ever walk down, and if they did it wouldn't be so they could grab a little shiny mask, or something like that. So my question – Venice is not cheap – how do they stay in business? If McDonald's can't do business in Iceland, how can these tiny little shops that no one can see – no forty meter tall poll with golden arches indicating the position from the interstate, here.

Still – when wandering through the darkness it's quite delightful to see them every few steps, reminding you just where you are.

And that is perhaps the only downside to Venice. It is a dark dark city. All the buildings are tall, and the alleys narrow. Unless it's noon, you're in the shade. And not the fun, trees in a grassy park, shade. They “we get the sun for one hour a day, otherwise it's cold and distressing” shade.

But then you hit the little bridges and the light, and it's all just wonderful.

I really do enjoy the lack of cars, and bikes. I did see one unicycle today. I wonder if he was breaking laws.

There's a port over to the west as well. The docks. And that's a good place to be, for a little while.

Wandering done, I decided that I'd just take a break of things, relax, and read – watching the world go by. This was a fantastic thing.

Tomorrow I'll go visit the home of who-lee-et! WHO-LEE-ET! Nothing like a good day trip to get the travel juices going.

I know I had more things to say. I know because I told myself time and time again that I'd remember to say them. And I said – no, I don't need to write them down, because I'll remember. I remember that I'm supposed to remember – but as to what I'm remembering? No idea.

On the plus side, I booked my hostels through Switzerland. So that's done. Not an inexpensive country, that one. And why can't they use the euro? I mean – honestly now.

Ah yes! It comes back to me now, as I sit going through my pictures from the day. By the big fancy tourist church, there are lots of pigeons. Lots of pigeons that are not scared of people. And why aren't they scared? Because people are fools. They will pick the birds up, place the on their shoulders, heads, hands, arms, and just hang out with them. These are not nice parrots or anything like that. They're flying rats. That want to give you all their terrible diseases. You see parents laughing and smiling as their young child gets covered in live pigeons, oh isn't it cute – see how little Lucca likes it so? No! This is not o.k. But please, carry on.

In another bird note, I was pooped on twice in succession today. What's up with that? Twice – in one five minute period. My Tilly hat protected me. Gross.

1 comment:

  1. Switzerland isn't part of the European Union because they would have to subscribe to the Union's banking regulations. I'm not sure if you have to be part of the EU to use the Euro, but that may be a reason. Swiss Francs look cool, maybe that's the reason.


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