Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 7- Venice

For whatever reason this morning, I woke up at 6am, thoroughly
homesick. I miss everyone fiercely, miss my lovely house, my soft bed,
my garden, my dog, and curling up with those I love. As much as I am
enjoying seeing Europe, I miss home this morning.
However, that whining aside, it's a beautiful morning here. A storm
passed over last night, and seeing it roll in over Venice was amazing.
Today, we leave the hostel and head into Venice-proper, putting our
backpacks into lockers and posting home our purchases. Too many of
them are fragile to keep carrying around in our packs.

We had an easier time using the vaporetto this morning, but
encountered difficulties in Venice proper. No working ATM in the train
station, long line for the deposito bagagli, no poste ufficio in the
station, and an inability to use the ticket machines- and thus another
long line- to purchase our tickets to Munich.
Needless to say, we were both thoroughly cranky by the time we left
the station, and even crankier by the time we managed to send the box
home- unsurprising since it took 2 hours and €70!
Finally, though, we were free of bags and able to wander the city of
canals. In all honesty, Im not terribly impressed with Venice. It's
lovely, but has little else to recommend it. The locals clearly resent
tourists- unsurprising, though, when tourists outnumber residents. So
far, though, no one has been outright rude, but there's definitely no
pleasure in our presence- or our money. Also, a total lack of public
green spaces is killing me. I can't wait to get to Munich.
Eventually, though, we found a decent ristorante and splurged a bit on
some good food. I had a really lovely sweet wine with a strong
muscadine taste- delicious, and I hate wine!- while Chris ordered a
cheese platter of some mild yellow cheese, Parmesan, and Romano.
Absolutely delicious.
A note for inexperienced travellers- when seeking out restaurants,
listen for the local language. If you hear it almost exclusively,
you've found good food. Our server spoke about 3 words of English.
We watched a scow coming from Murano with glasswork, and their ability
to maneuver the 35' scow in the narrow canal, even pulling an
impressive U-turn.
Unforunately, when our food arrived, I discovered that there is indeed
food that I can't eat. Venice is known for pasta made with a sauce
from the ink of a local squid- pasta alla Veneci. It's black, and
heavily fish-tasting. Although I love fish, I apparently have
stronger preference for mild fish than I realized! So Chris ate about
half of it after my stomach threatened revolt on two bites.
His canneloni was quite good, though, a I had about 1/3 of it, and we
spent nearly an hour chatting with a lovely couple from California.
They were both older, and interracial, and told us stories of being
teens dating in the 1960's and 70's.
Later, we wandered more and stumbled into the old Jewish ghetto, where
re Jewish museum is located. They were closed for the day, but we
enjoyed admiring the beautiful artwork in the surrounding shops. From
Murano glass menorahs to antique stars of David, I at least was
enthralled, and have noted to myself to research the Jewish history of
From there, we headed to Cimitero, the cemetery isle. Chris wandered
there, exploring the 19th century graves, while I sat and read.
Perhaps it seems silly to read a novel while sitting in a historical
graveyard in Venice, but I gave myself permission to find downtime
this trip where I could, and sitting for an hour in the sunshine made
life significantly better.
Later, we spent a few hours just wandering some more and getting
thoroughly lost- we just kept going down random streets, surrounded by
old houses and green canals. It was lovely, and it seemed like every
corner we turned there was either a dead end or a beautiful square
presided over by a centuries-old church.
Eventually, though, I simply gave out, tired and having simply had
enough of Venice, so we returned to the train station where I sipped
tea and read for a couple of hours while Chris continued exploring.
It's frustrating not to have Internet everywhere like Im accustomed
to- the hours could have been more pleasantly whiled away chatting or
just catching up on email. Unfortunately, Italy has a singular dearth
of free wifi.
Eventually, though, our train arrived and we boarded for the night.

The only real blasphemy is the refusal of joy. -"Jeffrey"

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