Monday, July 14, 2008

Some Pay-off

I've been documenting the tough times (which actually continue) but we had a real break with a trip to Venice this weekend.

I wasn't optimistic--the reports of continual rail and service-worker labor strikes in Italy have been pretty constant, but we didn't have a single problem. Both the Swiss and Italian trains were right on time!

We met our son Ian and his partner, Crystal in Milan and continued together to Venice. Daria had found a well-placed B & B which was "climatised" and quiet since it was a fifth floor walk-up. We were close to the Grand Canal, not far from the Guggenheim Art Museum, and the Doge's Palace.

The weather was hot and humid, but sunny and being close to the water made it quite acceptable. The rain held off until we were actually in the train station on the way home when it let loose with a torrential downpour. Excellent timing for us, but I'm sure the many folks who were in gondolas at that time were drenched.

The city was amazing. Since we stayed in the heart of town, we had especially great mornings and evenings--before and after the crowds ebbed and flowed. It was a constant assault on the senses--sometimes vivid, sometimes muted, but always beautiful and interesting colors; the sounds of the church bells; the boats; the hawkers of goods and the constant hubbub of voices in the crowd make an auditory buffet. The smells of the sea, the canals and the people were constantly changing (sometimes good; sometimes bad but always interesting). The undulating stone of the plazas and walkways give a sense of movement not unlike being on the water.

Here are few pictures of the city:

The street where we stayed:

The plaza from our room:

From the Accademia Bridge:

The ubiquitous gondolas:

Peaceful canals off the beaten path:

The Peggy Guggenheim Museum (Modern Art--must see!)

Sunset on the Grand Canal:


And textures...

The Doge's Palace outside...

and in:

The outside of the Bridge of Sighs (for prisoners leaving the palace and going to the dungeon)

and their view from the inside:

Finally, the pinnicle of the trade the made Venice what it is--a Gucci bag ($2,340)

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