Posted by: jeanne | January 31, 2015

a three hour (ok, 6) tour…

it started last night, when we saw the forecast for more acqua alta at high tide this morning.  high tide was at 8:30, so we had to get up early.  i left jim and connor at the house, and went to the vaporetto.  there was frost on the grass outside.  and it was close to freezing on the boat, but i sat outside at the front of the boat, and found that the wind cut right thru my wool army pants and woolen tights.  three layers next time.

i was out to get pictures of acqua alta, and take pictures i did.  a total of 844 today.  i couldn’t believe it.  i might have gotten every single water door, and focused out to get every single house fronting the grand canal on the right side of the boat.  i might have missed a couple.

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my ostensible journey was to recharge the transit passes, as they expired today.  and as i arrived at piazzale roma, to the hellovenezia office, i noticed lots of people in satin capes, with tricorn hats and carnival masks.  they were out to take part in the first of the carnival events – nordic walking in venice.  they all had walking sticks.  later on, jim noticed a troupe of them disembarking from a vaporetto onto sant’elena, presumably to walk with sticks on ‘our’ island.

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once i had taken care of business, i decided to get back on the vaporetto and take pictures of the other side of the grand canal.  this time i got a video of the boat tender securing the boat to the bus stop with a deft little twist of the rope, something i’ve admired since i first saw it.  i might post it to youtube, if it turned out.

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when the bus docked at rialto marcato, i got off hastily, just having remembered i needed to buy some peppercorns.  i found them, and took a couple of pictures of the high water washing over the edge of the pavement behind the market, and then crossed over the rialto bridge and headed off into the maze of streets, trying not to use my map app to find my way.

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that worked horribly, of course, and i decided to go see if the pigment shop was open yet.  it said it would be, but since my italian is bad, it probably said ‘thru’ instead of ‘to’, and we’ll just have to wait until next week to go inside.

around every corner was a photograph waiting to be taken.  it was tiring.  every single corner, and i had to pull the camera out of my jacket, switch it on, and compose my shot.  over and over again.  800 photos.

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once i found the pigment shop, i decided i might as well walk home, which i knew would take a long time, but i didn’t really care.  at some point i stopped in a small bar/cafe for a cup of caffe latte and a fried bit of dough and fruit, which were delicious, warmed my hands, and gave me an opportunity to use a bathroom.  while i was there, several guys in the striped shirts of gondoliers stopped in for a quick coffee, chatting with themselves and the bar staff, and then dashing back out again.  and i understood another customer as he came in and asked for coffee (espresso, of course) and a grappa, and then explained to the barmaid that he was just kidding.  yay for duolingo, i know enough italian to get a joke!

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i managed to circle about and come back into a camp twice, and was at first bemused, and then really happy when i turned around and looked where i had come from and discovered the most amazing little house at the edge of the campo, one i had not taken a picture of when i was on the other side of the campo.  a little old lady came out of the door just as i was backing up to compose my shot, put her trash out, and then noticed me.  ‘perche’? she asked me, wondering why i was taking a photo.  and in my halting italian i told her that her house was incredibly beautiful to me, asked if it was her house.  she told me she lived on the second floor, and i kissed my fingers to tell her i thought she lived in the most amazing fairytale house i’d ever seen, and thanked her.  and she said ‘prego’, and walked off.

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i was just arriving in the vicinity of san marco when the bells all struck noon.  if i had been in the square, i could have gotten film of the bronze men striking the bronze bell, but alas, all i could get were pictures of the masses of people in the piazetta.  it’s the official start of carnival today, and already there are masses of tourists clogging the main drags.

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so i got off the main drag, and had to use my map to get around the back way.  but it was so worth it.  another several hundred photos of bridges, canals, reflections, old old old houses, with a few tourists thrown in.  all of this is fodder for paintings once we get back home, and jim’s taste for beauty and mine happen to coincide, so it’s all wonderful.

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eventually i arrived at via garibaldi, and picked up the groceries we need for the next couple of days.  and with a heavy pack, i arrived back at the house, had a quick lunch, and went down for a nap, managing to burn the beans i was trying to cook for a soup i’m making out of the remains of the chicken we had a few days ago.

this evening we took connor out for his last chance to ride the rides of the luna park.  he loved it, and hated having to leave, but those suckers are expensive, and it was already getting dark.

tomorrow we’re going to go out early and try to catch the regatta, the second part of the opening ceremonies of this year’s carnival.  the first part is tonight, and none of us want to be out for that.  it’s supposed to rain, and we need to be there way early to get a vantage point.  connor may not last thru the event, so i am prepared to abandon jim there to take pictures and come back with connor, if necessary.

i’ll let you know how it turns out.

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