Category Archives: Venice

Transport Sciopero (Strike)

My feet hurt.

Last night we took a walk along the bay discussing our time in Venice. We decided the one thing we didn’t do that would be good was to take a boat down the Grand Canal. With just our luck, there was a Vaporetto station close to where we were walking and we figured out that a public water bus would be leaving in perfect time the next morning to take us up the Grand Canal to the train station in time for our 10:27am train. Even better was that it would save us the 2 mile hike with our heavy packs on.

So we woke up this morning, got ready and set off for the vaporetto stop. Only to find a group of disgruntled and confused tourists. We went to the ticket window and the teller pointed to the sign on the window and in broken English said something of which I only caught the word “Strike”.Of course today would be the day the Vaporetto union decided they would not drive anyone around without more money.

So, with a hour before our train left, we took off to trot the just over 2 miles to the train station. It was a sweaty, back breaking 3o minutes, but we made it to the station, got our tickets and made it to our train with 12 minute to spare.

It was a bit stressful and now I am left with some aching feet.

Notice

In a couple hours we will be on a train taking us to Florence. We will be there for three days and while we are there, our apartment will not have internet connection. We will attempt to write/add photos when possible, but posts may limited for the next couple days.
Have no fear however, when we make it to Rome, our apartment will once again have constant internet!

Italian

I will say that I have been impressed by John’s mastery of the Italian language. All it takes to get around here evidently is 20 free lessons on ‘My Daily Phrase Italian’ Podcast and a good Italian/English Dictionary, as well as the time and memory to learn all your new words.
From the moment we got off the plane, John has been able to buy us tickets, order meals, ask questions about things, reply to the answers and get directions all entirely in Italian.
One woman even asked if he spoke Italian, slightly surprised when he answered only a little.
I, on the other hand, don’t have the natural propensity for language, I have a hard time sometimes with English let alone another language. However, yesterday I ordered a “One scoop, in a cone, of Mango sorbetto” all in Italian. My performance even received a “Brava!” from the sweet old lady in line behind us.
Score one point for me!

The Mysteries of Art

Gallerie dell’Accademia e un edificio antico – Oh, sorry. Three days in Italy, and I’m already lapsing into the language. As I was saying…

The Academy of Venice is housed in an ancient building, once home to a church, a monastery, and the headquarters of a prominent organization. The walls and ceilings are now cracking, showing signs of repair, and the modern bathrooms are a prefabricated addition, but it retains its dignity as a piece of living history.

Today, we found its halls mostly filled with religious paintings of the kind only art history buffs and the highly devout care to dissect enough to understand. Why is this man gushing blood? Why is that angel red? Why is this man toting around a miniature model of a church?

Are we to assume that these mysteries were actually evident to contemporary audiences? Did the average lay person really understand all the iconography and the significance of the details in each painting? Or has most of the commissioned art throughout history really just been for the sake of the patron and the artist?

Don’t worry; we didn’t spend any time concerned with these questions. We quickly moved on from the Academy to find lunch.

Anyone listening?

September 5

Beneath a sky as grey as that of Giorgione’s painting The Tempest, Laura and I emerged from our apartment this morning on a course for the Galleria dell’Accademia. Our only detour (in a city full of diverging paths) was a small cafe where we scanned the pastry cases for something delicious for la prima colazione, breakfast.

A heavy-set, middle-aged man greeted us: “Buon giorno, ciao, prego,” he said. “What would you like?” His hair was greying at the temples, but he moved with the vitality and exuberance of either youth or excess caffeine. He stared at us with eyes a little too large for his face, magnified by his black hipster glasses.

I pointed at what looked like a quiche and said, “Che cosa questo?” Which I think means, “What is this?”

“Una pastina, a rice cake,” the caffeinated, youthful man replied.

“Is it sweet?” I asked, unsure how rice fit into an Italian pastry. When he looked at me blankly, I explained further: “Zucchero? Sugar?”

The man’s oversize eyes looked left and right, up and down, as if bewildered. He lifted his hand to his head, thumb and pinky extended, in a pantomime of a telephone, said, “Ring, ring. Hello, anyone listening? Of course it is sweet, it is pastry!”

The lesson: Don’t ask, just try it. I think.