Posted by: jeanne | April 10, 2015

francis part two. our last week in venice

okay, i think i have the photos straight now.  i have to order them so i know what happened.  it’s all such a blur.

so, on friday francis decided to run around on his own, so we left him with a map and headed off to murano, because we still had to go there, and there were still gifts to be gotten.  but we’d been warned about the glass factories and the crowds, so we decided beforehand to take a different route.

but on the way, passing isola di san michele, i took this photo of the church we haven’t visited but which is highly rated.  oh well, too late now.


once on murano, the crowds all took the right hand path from the colonna stop, so we took the left hand path, and wandered around the back of the island.  this cute bridge is being repaired, and it’s interesting to see how they do it.  we hadn’t run across such a sloped bridge in venice, but here was one in murano.


then, to make it even more off the beaten track, we followed a local thru a little field and over a bridge, and found this painting by van gogh.  well, what might end up as my version of an orchard by van gogh.


and this led to a great view of the end of the island, where all the boats in the universe come roaring up past the tip of the island.  they left amazing wakes that splashed up at us as we stood there.  this was a little islet that had nothing but ruined factories and houses on it, with only one operating glass studio, and a gas station for the boats, as far as we could tell.  way off the beaten path.


but we went back to the path, and it was lunchtime, and way crowded, and every storefront had glass in it.  even there was some cheap shit from china, but by this time we knew better and turned up our noses at 3 euro bottle stoppers.

connor particularly loved the dragons, and there were quite a few.  every shop had a different style of glass on display, it seems there must be many studios in murano, because they were drastically different for the most part, and we were very content just to window shop.


we came upon a nice square with this enormous glass sculpture in it, and stopped to soak up some sun.


connor played around.  there were other kids there so he took advantage of it to run and scream as usual with a brand new batch of kids.


these kids, to be specific.


i may well paint this square; it was lunchtime and everybody was stopping for lunch.  we waited until we got over the next bridge, and i walked into a bar and got three sandwiches and a bottle of water before connor expired.


i stopped to take this rather abstract picture of the water underneath a boat.  it’s so lucid and limpid; probably impossible to paint, tho.


we saw this palazzo on murano; i wasn’t expecting one, but why not.  palazzo da mula – monet painted it.

and then we went back home and took naps, and waited for francis to come back from his wanderings.  where did you go, francis?  since i wasn’t there and didn’t record it, i forget where you went.


so saturday dawned with heavy clouds; it looked really ominous.  but we went out anyway.  our destination – the acqua alta bookstore, which is known as the most beautiful (read: interesting) bookstore in the world.  we’d been there twice or three times already, and couldn’t wait for an excuse to go back.


we took the vaporetto around to the north side of the island and got off at ospedale.  it was confusing enough that jim and connor sat in the front of the vaporetto, and francis sat in the vestibule of the back, while i stood on deck and looked at the lagoon, as ever.


i’d never been thru ospedale before, and in fact i misread my map and turned into the hospital complex, thinking i was going down the side of the canal.  later i found out that i hadn’t gone far enough, turning just before a bridge that should be there anymore because the canal has been filled in.  oh well.  the nice guy on the information desk told us how to walk thru the hospital to get to the campo of ss giovanni e paolo.

so we wandered along; the second time i’ve been into the ospedale.  the picture above was one jim wanted to take, because of the incongruity between the classical doorway and the plate glass door in it.  i was struck by the fact that the door says ‘bar’, which is such a good idea to have in a hospital.  the chapel, another source of comfort to the bereaved and worried, is in another wing, and we didn’t find it for a few more days.  more pictures of that later.


i’d actually taken a picture of this wellhead in the courtyard (one of the several courtyards) in ospedale.  the other side of it has a lion’s head, but i think this is every bit as beautiful.  one of the most elaborate wellheads i’ve seen.


and then we were thru to the other side, the camp of the basilica of zanipolo.  there’s francis watching connor running around, and admiring the great bass relief carvings on the building.


turns out it’s only a short walk from the campo to the bookstore.  venice is so small once you get used to it, and it’s always cool to reach a spot you know by a completely unexpected route.  this is the building and bridge where. we overheard a guide talking about window taxes the other day.


i would identify this canal as the one adjoining the building, but at this point i’m not sure.


and there we were at the bookstore.  jim went in, and i wanted to take a picture of francis going in, but he insisted he wasn’t photogenic, so i settled for jim.  this is the side entrance, by the way.  lined with books exposed to the elements.


connor got to climb up the book steps once more.  this time he looked for the same green plastic lizard (wizard, he pronounces it), but it had been moved when we were there one time and the guy was repairing the steps, removing some books and adding others.


and there was my opportunity to photograph francis in the bookstore.  at this point he turned to me and remarked that this – the armload of books – is why he doesn’t like going into bookstores.  oh sorry, guess you’ll just have to haul it all back to barcelona, huh?

so then we sent jim and connor home, jim having bought himself another dona leon book to read, and connor picking out three topolino comic books to read, and francis and i continued, deciding we wanted to go see the querini stampalia foundation, tour the palazzo and see the current exhibition.


unfortunately, we got to campo sant maria formosa just 20 minutes before the place closed, so we sat and had coffee instead, and then decided to wander down to the southern side of the island and go home from there – after all, the vaporetto around the island takes 40 minutes, but the one from san zaccaria takes 5.  so what if it’s an hour walk, if we go slow enough we’ll make it.


so, great little canals we passed without name or number.  up bridges, pause at the top to take photos and relax, and then down and into a small, narrow little calle to the campo.


repeat as necessary.


finally we arrived in campo san zaccaria, where this wellhead was being used as the prop for a family’s butts while they took selfies.  i waited until they cleared out.  and then we went inside.  it’s glorious, still.  and being right before easter, the dead guy had lots of candles in front of his garish display case.  i won’t bore you with photos.


but here, here’s a nice bellini to look at instead.


we passed a side chapel with the lights on, so i peered thru the door and saw this priest having a conversation on his cellphone.


then back out to the campo, and we gazed at a nice old house on the square which i’ve taken full setup shots of before, but did it again because the light was different.


while francis admired the topiary in front of the hotel next to the house.


and then we got to the vaporetto stop and i got this nice shot of the gondolas, and then we went home.


i’m not entirely sure when this shot was taken, but there’s connor and his scooter, having given the accordion guy a few coins, listening and watching to be sure he got his money’s worth.


i noticed that the flowers are all out now, because it’s spring in venice.


that evening, francis took us to dinner, or would have, but it was right before easter, and every place on sant’elena was booked out.  so we trod from one to the other looking for food, but had to go home in the end.  just as it was beginning to rain.  we made reservations for sunday night, however.  easter sunday; looks like nobody was going to dinner that night.

next post i’ll finish up francis’s visit to venice, and prepare to leave ourselves.  i probably won’t get to it until after we’re back home, tho, so have patience.


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