Posted by: facetothewind | July 14, 2014

Parting Glances: Venice

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In the end, I’d say everyone should see Venice. I don’t know that I need to see it again, though. Venice is so over-the-top in its novel architecture that it really has become a Gritty Disneyland. It’s overrun with tourists and ridiculously expensive. But it does deliver the charm in spades. Two or three full days is enough. If I do ever come back, I’d like to come with a lover or a close friend. And I’d stay in the city. On this trip I was in the suburbs and so I never got to see Venice at night because I just needed some down time and couldn’t repair to my hotel…it was a 90-minute venture home.

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And if I do come back, I’d come in off-season. The locals here are just mobbed to the point of indolence. They’re not that interested in talking to you or helping you, if you can find a local! And I can’t blame them. How many times a day can you give someone directions before you just want to tell them to fongul off and read a map! So I hardly spoke to any Italians at all out of respect for their feelings of being overwhelmed. I cannot imagine having millions of tourists crawling all over my doorstep and blocking the bridges that they need to run their own errands. And I think their unwillingness to learn and speak the global tourist language (English) is probably their way of saying, to hell with you all. Give us your money, take your pictures and scram, I have some centuries old plaster to repair and you’re in my way. Or they leave for the summer which also might explain why it was hard to identify anyone as a local.

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I don’t think the cruise ship scene has gone over well with Venetians. I saw a lot of graffiti trashing the cruise ships. Apparently they dump tourists by the thousands on the little city and they don’t patronize the local restaurants and bars for obvious reason that food’s free back on the ship.

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But honestly, who can afford to live well in Venice but the truly wealthy, anyway? A small meal is about $30 per person without salad, beverages or dessert. A scone and a cup of tea is $22. I ate sandwiches for about $7 each and drank tap water. And it was the same sandwiches everywhere. Pizza was ubiquitous and actually cheaper than in the States. A whole pizza for one person was about $11. But it’s tourist pizza…not lovingly prepared with multiple punchdowns by Mama in the kitchen. The kitchen staff here is from somewhere else and I’m not sure where. Turkey maybe? This is Italy since joining the European Union. My experience with Italy was before the EU and then Italian cooking was tops in the world. But in Venice they don’t have the space or time to finesse a sauce to perfection and hand make their pasta. So you’ll find better cooking in land-based cities or in the countryside.

Wow orange hounds tooth with paisley, stripes AND dots. Now that's daring. And it works!

Wow orange hounds tooth with paisley, stripes, AND dots. Now that’s daring. And it works!

As far as fashion, I was impressed. In this town that pretty much gives tourists what they want: pizza and gondolas, the fashion seems to have a mind all its own. See my gallery below for pictures shot in retailer windows. Especially check out the one of a kind eyewear. But mostly I didn’t see anyone wearing those styles. On the streets it was t-shirts and shorts for the most part with the occasional Chinese wild card played with extraordinary boldness…

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Here are some of my photos. Not my best work, I know. I was busy trying to avoid people and not get lost.

Here’s the video companion of my trip…

 

And now for something completely different: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My attempt at expatia begins on Wednesday. Wish me luck.

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Responses

  1. Such throngs of tourists drowning out the old magic and mystery of Venice…no wonder you breathed a sigh of relief when you finally got to your room and the stillness of the surrounding crop land, David.

    I loved the ripples of color in the water that you captured and the colorful if decrepit ancient buildings.

  2. What an endless Disneyland ride of gondolas – not all that inviting, but you did post a gorgeous photo of a bit of the extraordinary tile work on the floor of the basilica. Thanks for that, David.

    Venice evoked no black and white photography, I noticed, at least none that made the blog. Cacaphony doesn’t lend itself to B&W.

    And now – Malaysia and KL and a courageous experiment. Good luck, David.

  3. David, please post something and tell us you’re okay. We’re sick with worry — the news today about a Malaysian flight on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur shot down somewhere near Ukraine.

  4. Thank you for taking us on your journey, David. Yes, we are all wondering back here in the Fort about your plane itinerary. Please let us know you were NOT on the doomed Malaysian flight!!!


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