Movies, documentaries, and TV news take on a different context
and seem more applicable when we've been to the place they're talking about.
We recognize the larger scope of the surrounding community and geography.
It becomes more than what fits into the frame of the camera and the assumptions
we make to fill in the gaps. Mitch and Max are always more interested
in news about a place after we've visited it.
||Use Google and search on the words "Venice Italy" and
you'll find hundreds of images that looked just like many of the photos
I took. So I thought, why add more of the same images to the web?
If you'd like to see a picture of the famous Rialto Bridge or the Saint
Mark's Square search the web.
If you see the movie, "The Italian Job", see if
you can spot this scene.
||This photo has been added to my "favorites collection".
It was still early spring. I wish I could have taken this picture
a few weeks later when it was warmer, and all of the planters are full
of colorful flowers.
Venice is made up of half canals and half walkways.
Think of one as the street out front, and the other as the alley in back.
||See the people in the windows? I was wondering
"what are they thinking?" What is their frame of reference as they look
out on the plaza below? To me, the young couple in the upper window
sees a place of excitement, good food, friends, adventure and the future.
The elderly lady in the lower window is more reserved,
protected by the shades and shutters from the noise and masses of people
as she watches from within, like a sentry of her fortress with the perspective
of her past.
||There are no roads or cars in Venice. While most
of the gondoliers are taking tourists for a romantic excursion, some are
hired to simply transport passengers across the larger cannel.
Notice the pole that the fellow at the lower left is holding.
I'll discuss it again later.
|Venice is a paradise for someone that enjoys lunch on
a patio, an evening drink along a bustling canal, or a romantic outside
dinner in a softly lit promenade.
|It's true there are no roads, but you can walk anywhere.
It's just a matter of knowing where the bridges are.
||Most of the walkways are narrow. At the end you
choose, left or right. In either case you may not be able to see
a bridge or a canal. If you can see a canal, you may be surprised
to find the walkway dead ends with nowhere to go except by boat or back
the way you came from. On one occasion we had to back track several
minutes to find a path going in our direction.
||Even with a map it was easy to get lost in the maze.
But that was one of the most fun things about Venice -- getting lost over
and over again.
Clotheslines are common across the residential walks.
Much of the city looks like it's in need of repair.
I guess the salt air wears on the brick and mortar after a thousand years.
Remember what I was saying about having a larger scope
of a place. How's this?
||I put a circle around Venice. It was first populated
by locals that retreated to the swamps to avoid attacks from the Roman
armies. There is a bridge with four lanes of traffic and two rail
lines that extend west to the mainland. The two white areas on the
west of Venice are bus and train terminals, a very large parking garage,
and shipping and boat terminals. From there it's by water or on foot.
Mitch and Max had fun taking off on their own with a daily
boat ticket and a map of the city. They always managed to get where
they were going before Cheryl and I did.
|The Grand Canal can be seen S-curving through Venice.
It takes about 1 hour to walk from one side to the other. That is,
if you don't get mixed up in the maze of walks, bridges and canals.
We were trying to go from dinner to a Vivaldi concert and got completely
turned around. Even with a map, we almost didn't make the concert
||This is the equivalent of the city bus. Another
public bus (boat) can be seen pulling away from the stop ahead. These
boats run around the island, through the Grand Canal, and another smaller
canal that runs north off of the Grand Canal.
||We quickly learned that there's a stop for each direction
and you need to know which boats stop at which location. There are
also stops on each side of the Grand Canal which saves time since there
are only three large bridges that cross this canal.
||This spot is right outside Saint Marks Square.
If this was New York, you'd see horse carriages lined up near the theater
district or Central Park.
||This beautifully varnished boat is a taxi. It says
Taxi 291 on the yellow stick on the window.
||A local ambulance.
|The fire station.
||And the Police. We even saw a hearse carrying a
beautiful, flower covered casket, motoring slowly down the Grand Canal.
||Get the idea? Everything moves by water, and, as
you can see, there are no protective rails.
Max asked if anyone ever falls into the water.
He was trying to hang on to a pole to keep from being swept
down stream, (like the pole in the photo at the beginning of this webpage.)
I heard the commotion and went up a small bridge to see what was happening.
At first I thought he was trying to repair something since the crowd was
just watching. Once I realized he had fallen in and had a big gash
on his head from hitting the concrete step, I ran down and pulled him out.
But first, he handed me his cell phone as he shook out the water.
||This fellow is having the equivalent of a yard sale.
One evening we came home and told Max, "yes, people do
fall in the water and I even pulled the guy out." A local Venetian
was jumping off a boat, similar to this one, onto steps like these, when
he slipped on the layer of green slime. The tidal current was moving
swiftly at the time. His buddy was at the motor controls backing up to
keep him from being crushed by the boat.
||Although there is no water in this picture, it is about
the water. Several times a year there are very high tides.
In San Diego tractors mound sand along the entire beach to prevent flooding.
In Venice the walkways flood. See the short benches on the right
side of the walkway? During such floods the benches are laid out end to
end to form walkways over the flooded walks. As you can see, it doesn't
take much to flood the shops.
||Many of the shops have short flood gates that can be
closed, or they pack towels around the door and simply deal with it.
Our apartment was just around the corner.
At first I thought the water level went all the way up
the doors. Later, I realized this is a garage door. Once opened,
the boat can be parked for the night.
|By American standards Venice is an ancient city.
These concrete filled pads will line the bottom of the canals near the
mouth of the open water to prevent further erosion. A scuba diver disappears
into the murky water to correctly place each pad.
||Can you say Gelato? Here's a cute gal having two.
Gelato twice a day is a must. Beats any ice cream you'll get
in the states. There's always a gelato stand nearby and usually a
pizza shop not far from that. The boys loved the very thin crusted
Venetian pizza, and ate it for lunch and dinner.
||Here's the local market with fresh produce, meats and
flowers brought in by boat.
Copyright Nodland 1999
||And our last picture, Evening Lights from the Rialto