Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Venice day two ...

Quite a long day from a photography point of view; one gets the feeling that the shot of ones' lifetime is 'just around the corner' but I haven't found that corner yet. It's there somewhere but I can understand film-makers fascination with Venice; it feels like you just have to point and click anywhere but of course, that isn't how it actually works.

Venice is unusual as a tourist destination in that there isn't really any 'must see' museums or sights and the fascination is in the city itself but it really looks like the end of the road is approaching. Most bottom floor flats are not occupied and those that are have had to raise their floors a couple of feet making the lower storey a little low; maybe in a couple of hundred years there will be a race of Venetian dwarfs ideally suited to life on the bottom storey! This hasn't stopped the prices of flats being between 400k for a backstreet flat to 800k for a grande canal flat. Andre thinks of this as a sunken investment which could detract from ones' liquidity! *Groan*

Going through the day chronologically, we proved that bad taste is not limited to those living in oranje; it exists here as well.

... and I really hope kim doesn't have to move to oranje!

First up on the tick list was the basilica of San Marco on piazza San Marco which, considering I feel myself to be church overfed, was pretty amazing. The inside was covered with mosaics depicting various scenes from the bible but the skill and care that has obviously gone into these is extraordinary (Someone sent me a new adjective - thanks!)

Although photography is explicitly banned in the church, these are brought to you by Caron who is capable of ignoring pretty much anyone when she feels like it. The pala d'oro was also illegitimately captured by Caron and is made up of 250 gold panels inset with precious stones.

All of us came out of the church together bar Caron who remained MIA for about an hour before she finally emerged. We thought that maybe she had decided to confess her sins of the last 40+ years or that she had been caught by the inquisition for taking photographs she took so long. While Caron was busy in the church with her illicit activities I was waiting anxiously outside and Andre was scouting in various directions in case she had somehow escaped my eagle eyes. Jessica and Celine were thankfully occupied chasing and feeding the pigeons the whole time and only gave up on the feeding after being warned for the third time that a 50EUR fine was imminent for feeding the birds. Nicki felt that they weren't feeding the birds, the birds were stealing from the children!

After Caron emerged from the church and had made the requisite journey to the toilet, no mean feat in Venice, not to mention getting lost on the way back to the square we headed off to the same restaurant we went to yesterday for yet another outstanding meal. If anyone goes to Venice we would highly recommend the restaurant below.

It doesn't look like much but the food was simply superb and I have eaten in some pretty awesome restaurants! I recommend the Cannelloni de Pesce and the eggplant and parmesan starter in particular but check that they have it because they don't always.

After lunch we retired for an afternoon nap before venturing out on a gondola ride where Mellman proved that giraffes' don't have any sea legs to speak of and ended up with a gondola injury.

The gondola ride is pretty expensive (80EUR) but it's one of those things that one has to do. How can one go to Venice and not go for a gondola ride? Celine, the pink gondola pirate, comforts the wounded Mellman.

On the way back to flat, we passed the mask shop and Caron and Andre could no longer resist so we now have a very fragile mask to cart around with us. I have to admit that it is beautiful but I fear that it may be in several flat pieces by the time we get back!

Supper was Caron's famous potato and leek soup along with the requisite quantities of wine. This wine every night thing is something that I am really getting used to and afterwards Andre and I took a load of bags and food to the car so we had less to carry tomorrow and while we were out we took some time to do some nightime photography of Venice. I have to admit that Venice really could do their nightime lighting much better, in fact, it is really quite poor. Nonetheless I managed a couple of acceptable shots.

If you look carefully you will see that the sea comes right in over the first floor level and apparently, the piazza San Marco had just had the boards removed because it was recently flooded by a high tide. Looking at the floors of buildings not to mention the vertical and horizonal lines, one can really see the effect of the city as a whole settling into the mud. The floors are all lumpy, the 'vertical' columns not and the horizontal balconies anything but. And they want and do get people to part with a million euros for these flats. Amazing!

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