The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Wednesday Wanderings: V Is For Venice

Yes, I know, it’s Thursday but I experienced a technological glitch yesterday. So here is Wednesday Wanderings … a day late ….
Venice 2005 (10)-1
Our first visit to Venice was just a day trip. We took the ferry from the mainland at Tronchetto. As the boat slowly chugged its way across the murky blue-green waters of the Adriatic the haze of a hot morning in mid-September danced before our eyes. Then, almost like a mirage, the towers and spires of Venice rose into view, impaling the sky like spears. It seemed as if someone was slowly raising a curtain as she revealed herself to us – La Serenissima: one-time queen of the Adriatic.
Venice 2005 (12)-1
We docked at Riva degli Schiavoni and emerged on the quay, blinking in the sunlight and feeling dwarfed by the majestic buildings. Across the Canale di San Marco we could see the islands of San Giorgio Maggiore and La Giudecca guarding the cabal like protective arms. It felt surreal to finally be in Venice after all the photos and postcards I had seen of it throughout my life. Like all first-time visitors, we did the sights:
the Bridge of Sighs, Venice 2005 (19)-1
the Palazzo Ducale (the Doge’s Palace),Venice 2005 (28)-1
the duomo of San Marco with its Byzantine-inspired architecture, Venice 2005 (91)-1
the Rialto Venice 2005 (57)-1
and the view of the Gran Canal. Venice 2005 (58)-1
We had to share all these places with hundreds of other tourists all intent on taking the perfect photo. It felt chaotic, and a bit suffocating. I felt that Venice was losing some of the lustre that I had attributed to it.
Venice 2005 (70)-1
We walked away and queued up with the Venetians at a little hole-in-the-wall paninoteca (sandwich shop) with no seating space. So we headed to the side steps of Piazza San Marco and ate our delicious tramezzini in the square that Napoleon dubbed ‘the most elegant drawing room in Europe’. After dining like paupers, but feeling like princes, we decided we would leave the crowds behind us and lose ourselves in the warren of alleys, streets, canals and bridges that make up Venice. It was here that I fell completely under the spell of  this water-bound city.
Venice 2005 (65)-1
It is hard to pinpoint exactly what is most attractive about this place. Certainly, part of its charm lies in its slow decay. Every year, Venice is sinking back into the cold waters of the Adriatic from which it rose. Its buildings have been patched and re-patched, the sometimes mismatching colours giving the place a delightful character and quirky charm.
Venice 2005 (49)-1
Here in the back streets,  Venetians were going about their daily life in a place where every errand has to be done on foot or by boat.
Venice 2005 (44)-1
It felt strangely liberating not to be surrounded by cars of any sort.  We were lost, literally and figuratively and it was one of the best feelings ever – discovering hidden little gems, uncovering secrets, wandering and pondering; walking with the ghosts of yesteryear. Because here in the shaded pathways that are known by such romantic names as sotoportego and calle, you will never walk alone.
Venice 2005 (87)-1
Almost reluctantly we found a quaint sign pointing us to the Rialto and soon we were back in the crowded, jostling streets.
Venice 2005 (95)-1
But Venice had done her work well and the spell she laid on us did not wear off. It was love at first sight and, as we boarded the ferry while the first rays of sunset burnished the waters of the Venetian lagoon, we vowed we would be back soon.
Venice -  June 2007 (70)-1
Indeed, we kept our promise and returned just two days later, preferring the silent seduction of the alleyways of Venice to the more commercial  Gardaland amusement park. Both of these visits were what I call ‘whirlwind visits’. I knew we had to return for a longer stay with enough time to savour the place and visit its monuments. A year and a half later, we were back. So I suppose it means I have more of Venice to share with you some time in the future.
Venice 2005 (38)-1

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for the lovely and magical trip to Venice, that was a great read : )

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  2. Wow Loree...this might be one of my new favoite posts!! every photo is like a dazzling postcard..simply gorgeous..stellar and wow-factor..I am entranced! Thankyou for this magical adventure!
    HUgs..wowness!
    Kiki

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  3. How fun that you could wander the back streets as well as take in the famous sights. All very fascinating!

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  4. ah, to be lost in venice —— you do great justice to this magical city, loree in both words and images.....it makes me long to return. you mention how touristed it was when you first arrived - i hope you had an opportunity to have it to yourself for a few blessed moments while walking the backstreets and canals! thanks for this memorable virtual tour ;-)

    have a great weekend♡

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  5. Thanks for the tour... great post and pictures!
    Sue.

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  6. Your post reminds me of a movie I recently watched (through Netflix) called "Bread and Tulips." In the movie a woman "finds" her true self on an unexpected stay in Venice. It's a sweet and quirky film, definitely capturing the spirit of the "real" Venice you described here.

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  7. 'So we headed to the side steps of Piazza San Marco and ate our delicious tramezzini in the square that Napoleon dubbed ‘the most elegant drawing room in Europe’.'

    I like this very much.

    The photographs of the architecture are just amazing. You see more in a week than I have in my entire life. So grateful for this blog, but it also makes me hungry for more!

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  8. I've been to Italy but never Venice. My daughter went for her honeymoon. Your pictures captured it beautfully, thanks for sharing, Loree.

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  9. Venice doesn't change ! I have been there several times because it is not very far from where my husband's family lived.
    For the moment I enjoy the Egyptian sunshine and we have a lot of fun.

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  10. How amazing that you can just take the ferry to spend time in Venice! Your photos are just fantastic and out of the book dreams for me.

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  11. Oh yes, yes...do share more! You know me and travel photos...mine or those of others. I can't imagine Venice but I do know I would have probably done the same as you...moved out of the touristy sections and meandered the back streets.

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Thanks for stopping by. I read and appreciate every one of your comments. However, I prefer to go back to your blog and leave a message rather than reply to your comments here.

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