Venice – Final Thoughts

I’m writing this as I’m sitting on the train on the way to Florence. Went to the train station this morning to catch the 12:43 train to Florence. Got there and checked the board but it didn’t show my train. Evidently they just show the final stop (in this case Rome) and don’t show the train number, which would be useful. After I got that figured out I grabbed a quick bite to eat and found my car and seat. It’s a window seat which is nice, although the view from the aisle is just as nice.

Some random thoughts on Venice:

– Really glad that I did the workshop and did it at the beginning of my trip. Will try to take what I’ve learned and discovered and apply to the rest of my trip.
– It was nice to ease into being in Italy with a group, as opposed to being totally on my own.
– The gondoliers don’t like to have their picture taken. We grabbed a traghetto the last day across the Grand Canal to photograph the church and the gondolier was very adamant (in Italian) about having his picture taken (I wasn’t trying but he saw all our cameras). We joked that it’s because there’s no revenue in it for them. They have a mainly cash business, don’t pay any taxes, and many wear Rolex watches (not sure if real or fake). They’ve got quite the racket going.
– I saw a Burger King and two McDonalds in Venice while I was here. There should be a law against that. It’s a travesty and the fact that people eat there and that they are still in business is even worse. It’s also true that McDonald’s doesn’t have a quarter pounder with cheese (somewhat obscure Pulp Fiction movie reference). It’s a metric system thing. So it’s called a “McRoyal” with cheese.
– They also don’t have coffee to go (Italy, at least in Venice). It comes served properly in ceramic cups. If you want a quick coffee then just get an espresso vice an americano.
– Many things in Venice (and probably many old European cities) aren’t easy. If you’re disabled Venice is incredibly difficult if not impossible to navigate. Only a couple of the bridges over the canals have ramps (and they are very steep). Otherwise you have to deal with steps. It’s also difficult moving boxes (packages, etc) around the city, dealing with narrow alleys and bridges with steps.
– Not sure if I mentioned this earlier but the city floods sometimes, not from the tide but from winds (I think that this is what Jonathan said). Evidently if you get strong winds (sustained?) from the southwest(?) it raises the water level in the lagoon which is where Venice is located. Anyway all over the city they have these portable boardwalk type sidewalks that they can deploy that looked about 3-4 feet high. Not sure how often this happens.
– To truly appreciate Venice one needs to get away from the tourist traps and off the beaten paths. There are possibly hundreds of squares (campos), many of which have a non tourist feel. Without sounding too poetic or cheesy you can literally get lost in time in one of these off the beaten paths. Very European.
– Even though Venice is a tourist mecca (including curiously enough Italians) you sometimes forget that it is also a place where people live and work. There are schools with schoolyards where the children play. At lunch time you see them out and about, either going home or grabbing a bite at a restaurant. I saw a couple of young girls sitting at a coffee bar (forget what the correct name is ) having an espresso in the afternoon with their school backpacks.

Not sure when I am (where the train is), however the coffee on the trains here is INFINITELY better than airplane coffee. Countryside is pretty, mixture of new mixed in with random very old things. This train only stops a certain train stations enroute but we pass numerous smaller, very picturesque stations.

Garbage Collection in Venice

Garbage Collection in Venice

Delivering the Mail

Delivering the Mail

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~ by l on October 5, 2008.

2 Responses to “Venice – Final Thoughts”

  1. Nice job, Robert and nice to meet you. Hope you have a great rest of your trip.

  2. Hi Robert, looks like you’re having a fantastic trip. Really enjoyed meeting you on the workshop. Keep up the great photography!

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