Posted by: jeanne | March 23, 2015

monday with renee (part 7)

so, renee’s last day dawned a bright, crisp and cool morning, and we were bound and determined to do three things – mail those countless postcards she’d been collecting, get some trinkets for her various friends and relatives, and go to the damned scuola to see the carpaccios.

we walked.  why not, it was glorious out.


renee was in fine form, in the beginning.  it’s so easy to overestimate your ability here.  after all, it’s a tiny place once you get to know it.


always as we round the corner of giardini, we are struck by the view.


at via garibaldi renee ducked into the post office where she spent a lot of time waiting in line while some guy mailed off a package that demanded a telephone book’s thickness of paperwork.


i hung out on the street, photographing pigeons, i’m afraid to say.  but then i saw a strange sight, a vaporetto stop being pushed either to or away from its place somewhere along the shoreline of venice.  it was probably going to the vaporetto graveyard around the back of san pietro.  later either that day or the next i saw either it or a new one being pushed up the canal.  how incongruous.


since renee was on a shopping expedition, i led her around castello, along the shopping streets of salizada san antonin and another one nearby that i always confuse with it.  i especially wanted her to see the indian store, and banco lotto no.10, a shop that sells clothes made by the women’s prison on giudecca, such an incongruity.  the last time i was there, there was this wonderful green raincoat in the window.  this time, it was hung on the racks, so i tried it on, and it was tropo piccolo, so i put it back, reluctantly.  the indian store is right around the corner from it, and renee tried on about a dozen kurta, but didn’t find anything she liked.  it’s rather expensive, i’m afraid, and the coats run around 150 euros, which is too rich for me.


so we wandered up to the scuola, but it was closed.  open from 2:45 to 6.  so we wandered back to san zaccaria vaporetto stop to go up to strada nova and continue shopping.


nice doorway, we both admired it.


at the vaporetto stop, looking at all the japanese tourists lining up to get into the gondolas.  there must have been 30 of them, and they all had the same trouble getting into the boats.  gasps and giggles reached our ears.  it was cute.


while i dawdled getting pictures of the tourists, renee had a great view of the lagoon, and the sun was bright in her eyes, so here she is in blissful repose, waiting for the vaporetto to cruise up the grand canal.


it’s spring now.  the guys in the beer delivery boat aren’t wearing jackets, and i just missed their wild gesticulations as they discussed something or other.


currently the gondola area by the santa maria del giulio vaporetto stop is being upgraded, with a little building going up on the dock.  i guess they’re putting them in all over, to give the guys somewhere to get out of the weather and make a cup of coffee.


if you look carefully, you can see what appear to be headless bodies surrounding the fanlight and the head in the middle.  i don’t actually think they’re headless guys, but their heads are squeezed flat into the triangular space.  it’s the first time i noticed it.  i’m always noticing something new.

now, something funny.  we got off at rialto, because i didn’t want to take renee up to the vaporetto stop at ca’ d’oro, because she would have wanted to go in, and i didn’t want her getting distracting when there was shopping to do.  and in order to avoid the crowds around rialto bridge, i ducked in and went down calle del carbon to campo san luca, and we ducked into black jack bar again, because the idea of trecking all the way to the osteria off of strada nova was a bit daunting.

and sitting there, renee began to wonder where all her money went, so i fetched into my pocket for my wallet, thinking to give her back one of the 50s she forced on me, and noticed that i didn’t have it.  and i was certain that i’d put it into my jacket that morning.  so we downed our coffees and marched back to the vaporetto stop.  the only place i could have lost it, unless someone picked my inside pocket, was in the clothes store on salizada san antonin, where i’d had to disrobe in order to squeeze into the dress that i thought was a raincoat.

i got off at san zaccaria, and renee went home to have lunch and rest up.  the lady in the store was very apologetic, and very nice, but a search didn’t turn it up, so i got back on the vaporetto and went home.  where it was sitting on the table near the door.  i had taken it back out to give jim my change so he and connor could go to lido to get a few things at the grocery.  renee kindly offered to buy us a pizza lunch at the other cafe on viale 4 novembre, (thanks, renee) which was great, but put us both to sleep for awhile.


while we were out during the morning, jim went around to get some more shots of that pine tree he’s painting on san pietro, and he took this picture of the tintoretto that is completely obscured by the icon in the foreground.  the painting is blank behind the icon, so it’s highly likely that it was painted as a background for the icon.  but jim was displeased (mi dispiace) by the lighting and presentation of the painting.


back to renee.  after our nap we were back wandering thru castello, and found this nice little window grate.


wandering around the back of via garibaldi, we came across a rather cheesy shrine to jesus right there on the wall of the communist party headquarters.  we both thought it was very ironic.


this lovely little well head with ivy is around the back of the arsenale, in a courtyard whose gate was open until i tried to go in and take a proper shot.  then the woman who lived there came up behind us and said permesso, went thru, and shut it firmly behind her.


as we rounded up to the gates of the arsenale, renee declared she wanted some pictures of her with the lions, because after all she’s a leo (dragon).  so i encouraged her to step behind the chains meant to keep the tourists off the statuary, and took a couple of shots.


renee doesn’t need much encouragement.  only just that her knees protested, she would have climbed up on the back of this one.

we stopped in the shop where i’d been back to ask about my wallet, and waved it at the lady, who was as glad as i was that i’d found it.  too bad that dress is too small…


as part of renee’s shopping expedition, we went into a pastry shop, where this enormous chocolate egg waited for some overindulgent parent to bring it home to the kids for easter.  i’ll bet easter is a really big thing here.  we’ll find out next week, i guess.


the gate to that wonderful garden in corte or ramo di something, i still can’t remember, was open again, so i took renee in there and we had a bit of a sit down, her hips beginning to hurt at this point.  i needed it as well, and it’s so peaceful in that courtyard that we didn’t want to leave.


lovely overgrown garden, with a tower in the background.


and another beautiful canal scene, so many to paint.  too many to paint.  this one happens to be right at the scuola, which is the nice white building to the right.  we went in, it cost 5 euro apiece, and there was no photographing, but this time the lady at the front desk was like a hawk, and i couldn’t even sneak a picture of the nice cycle of carpaccio paintings.  damn.


you could take pictures upstairs, of the little chapel, and it was madly decorated itself, but not the same.


so we stopped in san zaccaria (no photo) but i got a few of them anyway.


look at all the paintings.  all badly lit, all dim and impossible to take pictures of.  they remind me of the art salons of the 19th century, where the paintings are stacked to the ceiling and you need a card to tell which is what.


by somebody.  there’s a bellini in the church somewhere, but i don’t think this is it.


the central altar.  there’s a crypt you can visit for 1.50, and there are tombs all over the church.  it was one of the richest churches and monasteries of its day, and lots of venice’s rich young daughters came here to be nuns and also to party.  scandalous.


renee loved it, of course.


sorry, i just had to get a picture of the tomb of the dead holy guy because it was so over the top.


and look, we’re on our way back home from via garibaldi and the sun is going down on renee’s last day in venice.  she didn’t want to leave.  nobody does.




but she had the compensation of reading connor his bedtime story, which he loves.  (thanks renee).  and first thing tuesday morning, we got up and rolled her bag to the vaporetto stop, got on the number 6, went to piazzale roma, got on the aeroporto bus, went to the airport, and stood in line at the check in counter for half an hour.  i stood in line, actually, and sent renee off to sit with this nice american lawyer who’d just spent 4 days in venice and 4 days in florence, and a night in some castle in the italian alps.  but then we got to the ticket counter, and they put renee down for priority boarding, and i saw her thru to security, where she hugged me and wailed in my ear.

and then i found where the left luggage building is, out in the parking lot and totally difficult to find without asking someone because of all the construction going on.  but it’s there, so we’re going to schlep our checked luggage there the day before we leave so that we don’t have to struggle with 6 bags on the day.

bye renee, i hope you had a wonderful time.  we enjoyed showing you what we have learned of venice, and now there’s less than 3 weeks left and i’m starting to have nightmares about zombies.


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