Herman & Judy Paris2Rome travel blog

Railway station-Venice

Causway-Venice to Mestre

Grand Canal-Venice

Romantic Venice

Sinking!! No high tides please

Main Street-Venice

Sunday 16th September 2007-09-17 Weather:-Venice, warm and sticky

(J) I have decided that Italy is like an artichoke. Some of the outer layers should be discarded the next layers picket at and the heart of it savoured.

In my dreams I only saw the ancient parts of the towns. I did not see the suburbs of cement slab apartment buildings, the very unappealing suburbs, the innumerable electricity towers spoiling the scenery, the graffiti that does not seem to be a priority to clean up or the smog. Today we had a 1 ½ hour drive from Mantova to Venice, we had fantastic toll roads most of the way. On our way out of Mantova we passed through a huge industrial area and in the distance saw? Fog, dust, smog. It turned out to be smog. The Mantova industrial area very nearly joined onto the Verona industrial area. The countryside in between was dotted with neat farm houses growing a lot of grapes (and corn of course).

The approach to Venice is a mess, you just want to get a big bucket off soapy water and give it all a wash. We parked the car on the Mestre side of the canal, stripped everything out of it, left the glove box open and the back seats down to let any potential thief see that there are no pickings inside, said a prayer that it would be there on our return then caught the bus and vaporetto (ferry) to the Ca D'oro stop and were met by Cristina and her family. Our apartment is about 3 min walk behind the Gallery Ca D'oro (and funnily enough 4 min away from one of Andrea Poggis' restaurant recommendations). We are delighted with our little home here, it is a bedsit with a little kitchen and it has just been renovated last year. It is just as I saw it on the Internet. The good thing is that it has air-conditioning. It is not very hot here but it is very sticky.

Arriving in Venice 'proper' makes all the previous layers fall away and you really appreciate where you are, it is one of the wonders of the world of course. We are on the third (top) floor of a building in a little alley just behind the Strada Nuova in the east side of the Cannaregio area. The Strada Nuova is part of the main path that leads you to St. Marks Square so it is shoulder to shoulder with tourists. The way is clearly marked with sign posts so getting to the St. Marks is easy. Just around the corner from us is the Rialto bridge and that is sign posted too (along another trail, so that the tourists don't have head on collisions during their walk I expect). We thought getting home would be easy, wrong, we walked around in a circle till we met ourselves again in St. Marks Square then finally we found our way home. There are so many little alley ways and little bridges over the canals that are not named on any map that trying to find out where you are at any one time is a riddle.

There is a mixed reaction walking around, there are so many splendid sights and you pinch yourself that you are here, then you see the graffiti on the Rialto Bridge (and in many other places) and it shakes you out of your dream. You feel sorry for the businesses that line the main streets, most of the restaurants and shops are empty of customers, the staff just stands there and watches the tourists flock by, all taking their photos. It must be very arduous each day and every day being the same story for them.

These are just my first impressions and I am sure that I will be shaken out of my melancholy when I really start looking around and not just seeing the surface, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

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