Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting Lost Is Not a Waste of Time

Day 355
Verona to Venice and Back
Time: All Day
Terrain: Rail

The line from one of Jack Johnson’s new songs is a perfect way to describe a day in Venice. We read in the Lonely Planet guide that it is practically impossible to not get lost in this Italian city. Not only was the book right, it was great to not know where we were at times.
It seemed like there was a picture perfect view around every corner; a gondola floating down a canal, laundry hanging from the line, or a church in the middle of a square. Venice seems to be a city of everything.
The city is actually made up of over 100 islands and became a refuge for the Veneto people in the 5th or 6th century. Over time, the Venetian Republic became very powerful and ruled a fair amount of the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. Tides and tourists rule the city today as nearly 20 million visitors flock to Venice a year. They shop for Murano glass and Carnavale masks and gaze at the multitude of canals from 400 different bridges.
We joined in the consumer craze and took a vaporetto (water ferry) to the island of Murano, the home of Venetian glass. After window shopping a bit we ventured into a unique looking shop. We entered the door and said a friendly "buongiorno" to the owner. She greeted us back and let us browse the different pieces available. As we focused our attention on the light shades, the owner engaged us in conversation. Apparently, the fixtures are the shop specialty. The business is a family affair – she designs and her father creates. As she explained the different techniques and styles, she showed each different shade. We settled on something with a modern technique and classic shape. Our time there was a great learning experience and I’m really happy we found a modest, family run business. Tomorrow we’ll be looking some serious packing material and the Fed Ex office.
After returning to Cannagerio area of Venice, we followed the signs to Piazza San Marco, St Mark’s Square. The beautiful Basilica di San Marco anchors one end of the plaza while arcades encapsulate the rest. An amoeba of pigeons and tourist occupy the middle of the whole scene. We kept moving so that we stayed out of others pictures and didn’t become perches for the annoying birds.
Finally, we strolled our way back to the train station. At times we expected to find ourselves going in a circle, but seemed to keep making progress in the right direction. Narrow alleys would occasionally open into church squares or end at a canal. Large groups of tourists would dissipate into random pairs of locals. Whatever the moment was, we stopped to soak in the atmosphere. Venice is definitely one of those places that you want to commit to memory.
Seizing the moments,

1 comment:

JennSean said...

Here's to the art of getting lost. (cheers)