HAUNTINGLY BEAUTIFUL: VENICE PICTURES
My Venice Music Playlist
MY VIDEO LOGS & JOURNAL
Venice was truly an astounding experience that had a haunting beauty. Its not an easily forgettable place. No cars, no streetlights, no sidewalks. Take a wrong turn down a walkway and find yourself in front of a staircase into water. Its as surreal as you can get. The shops are beautiful and the city is surprisingly quiet for all the activity surrounding you. Watching the water taxis was a perfect thing to do as we made our way through the city. I would advise walking instead of actually taking a water taxi. The city is small and walking the alleyways of Venice is a big takeaway. Taxis and especially Gondolas are heavily overpriced and crowded. A single Gondola ride was priced at anywhere between 50-70 EUR or 80-110 USD which I found to be absurd.
I'll never forget the first evening we were there walking through the alleys at night. They were bathed in white light and opened up to big squares with no rhyme or reason. The locals we're fashionable and attractive, at least the night crowd was. Apparently, the squares served as the nightlife with bars on the outer limits of them and football on the TV of course, and by that I mean soccer. It was pretty classy, a bunch of well dressed beautiful people drinking wine under the lights.
They can't party like we do though. We found one bar in a tiny alleyway. It was busy and seemed like it was worth our time. Indeed it was, ....well sorta. The place was a themed "American" bar. It was loud and rowdy so I give them credit for that. Everyone was drinking at least beer or shots, no wine drinkers here. Once again, good job Italy, they we're actually getting close. The only thing was that there was no music. To make an American bar you better have some music. The place looked like your perfect hard rock bar, leather gentleman's chairs, dark cherry wood bar and tables, dimly lit, a fire place, shots everywhere.
Just as I thought I was gunna hear some sweet American rock or blues music what to they play. Of course, Missy Elliot "Get Your Freak On". That's right people, it was 2009 and they are playing a Missy Elliot song from when I was in high school. I guess they are so good looking they figure they can do whatever they want, lol.
We sat back, shared a pretty good laugh, and watched these Italians think they we're badasses, getting down to that shit. As the song ended we got our second round and wondered what we would hear next. Immediately we realized we made an error; Missy Elliot, again.....the entire album actually. We did not get our freak on, we got drunk though, and that's what counts, a great night in Venice.
The next day was an all day walk of the city. The part I loved about it was that everything was old, the buildings, the cobblestone squares, and the overarching lights. It is it quite literally, walking through a gigantic piece of living history. I was told there are very stringent zoning, construction, and advertising laws there. The place looks like if one building goes down then they're all gunna go down. As for the advertising, I only saw one (and I mean one) billboard in Venice.
And interestingly enough, since there is no space for advertising they covered two buildings over a waterway. The picture is a bit confusing since you can't see the scale. The black top is not a ceiling its the sky at night. The arch is actually real and connects these two buildings. I guess people sold their window space. It just goes to show you capitalism will always find a way, crazy.
While I am on the topic of advertising I might enumerate the endless handmade crafts and art works you can find there. It can be easy to get carried away, especially with the talented street artists can create. I would advise holding off on bigger purchases until you get to Florence. One that is excellent to get would be the Venician masks. They range in size and price. I purchased a bunch of smaller porcelain ones for family members. They are authentic and unique gifts, representative of the areas historical background.
One of the most prominent features of Venice is St. Mark's Square, which is the largest open square in the city. As I have said, Venice is relatively small compared to other cities like Rome so we got to see the same places during both the day and at night. I got a great shot walking into the square during the day and another atop the actual structure. Even though they were doing some restoration to the tower at the time the view was still spectacular from the roof. In Italy you have to choose wisely as far as what you want to pay for since most historical sites have fees to go inside or on top. This one shouldn't be missed in my opinion. .
Leaving the square we made a few other interesting stops including finding graffiti, a concert hall, a church mass, and some interesting alleys. I have heard the complaint from some people that Venice is "not what it used to be" because of graffiti. I don't know what they're talking about. The only areas that had graffiti on them were shopkeepers gates that they pull down after closing at night. Honestly it isn't that big of a deal. I did come across one piece of graffiti on a wall. Ironically they wrote "IRAQ UNDER NEW DICTATORSHIP". I say ironically because they probably didn't expect a group of U.S. Army officers to be reading it.
Above is the church mass I was talking about and below is the concert hall we passed by which is located right off St. Marks square.
Besides the structural grandeur of the city, I would be re- missed if I failed to mention the incredible dining in Venice. Fresh cheeses and meats and especially seafood. One should not pass this up. If Florence is known as the shopping capital of Italy than Venice definitely takes the title for food (at least for northern Italy). The pizza I had here was like nothing else I had including in Rome. Street shops and cafe's tend to have better food than "high dining" establishments. You go to the country to experience the people's food, not overpriced food. That doesn't reflect what the common man eats every day.
Many stands like the one I pictured above offer some great food. Pannini are very different in Italy as they have a lot more bread and a lot less cheese and meat. The other difference is that most of the time it is all fresh. If you consider yourself lactose intolerant, you may have a bad day. Even for the average American, your body will have to get used to this as many other countries have different pasteurization standards than we are used too.
Venice was in my eyes the "quintessential Italian city". The architecture, food, and atmosphere were magnificent and set the standard for everything that followed. We left by train for a place known as Chinque Terre. Sitting in the train station getting hammered was liberating. Europe got that policy right. As long as you don't get rowdy there won't be any trouble. The other two Italians should have taken that advice as we watched their drunk asses get taken away by the Policia for fighting. FYI, technically public intoxication is still illegal, they are just much more lenient and walked by us with beers in hand. Don't sue me if you try it and get arrested though, it worked for us!