Venice - "... is a city in northeastern Italy sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline, between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon. The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC."
We took a water ferry (like a public bus) down the Grand Canal to reach San Marco.
My initial impression was very disappointing - the waterways filled with litter, jostling crowds of people, dilapidated old buildings, graffiti and junk everywhere giving it an air of neglect - it was simply a place to live as everyone 'got by in life' as best they could. I'd been indoctrinated with the idea that everything had to be clean and well looked after - I was, after all, from a young westernised country where nothing was older than a couple of hundred years - culturally or architecturally. I'd forgotten about the ageless culture of Europe where many man made objects had been around far longer than I could even begin to imagine.
This disappointment made me irritable and grumpy. I was not happy to be there. My mom noticed this and asked what was wrong. I told her. She seemed surprised as she found the place charming and encouraged me to look beyond what I could see. It took a while after the initial shock, but I did manage to get past seeing the grime and decay to find the timeless romantic beauty of Venice which I wholeheartedly embraced, thus changing my mood to a happy one. This change in perception has been with me ever since. Nothing is ever as it looks once you scratch beneath the surface and it is our choice whether we enjoy it or not.
After wandering around the very overpriced crowded tourist parts of Venice, especially the glass blowing and beautiful masks, we had an expensive bite to eat sitting on the steps of a church and then took a walk down the 'side canals' to find the real Venice. We got horribly lost and found many dead-ends but in getting lost, saw so much including a tower that seemed to be the Venetian version of the leaning tower. Not using a map and getting lost always produces amazing results. I'd highly recommend it!
|Basilica San Marco|
|Bell tower of St Mark|
|Stopping for lunch|
|Piazza San Marco|
|Santa Maria della Salute|
|Can you see us in the crowd?|
|Greg and I|
|The children and I|
|Venice's own leaning tower - Basilica|
|Via Guiseppe Garibaldi|