Posted by: jeanne | April 11, 2015

francis part three – arrivederci venezia

so on sunday we went to dinner around the corner from us, let me think of the name of the restaurant.  oops, can’t right now.  anyway.

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connor had no trouble reading the menu, even tho it was upside down.  it was in several languages, but jim couldn’t find english until it was pointed out to him.  which was good, because he was going to be pretty disappointed with the vegetarian lasagne.

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in the end, tho, he didn’t much care what he ate.  as long as it wasn’t what francis and i ate.

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we ordered cicchetti for starters, which were fried calamari, steamed shrimp, some polenta, sardines in saor, and something else too yummy to remember.

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and then we ordered big clams for him, and big shrimp for me, and had a great time eating it all up.

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and while connor ran around trying to help the owner – and getting shushed out of the kitchen – we ate tiramisu and panna cotta with coffee for dessert.  it was a lovely meal.  in general the best food we’ve found has been right here on sant’elena.

thanks, francis.

the next morning i took connor out to the playground, where a dad was sitting on the bench with a bag of stuff he was more than glad to share with connor.  so connor and his new friend had ninja turtle masks and pirate hats, and hooks to play around with.  he was very happy with it all, and didn’t even minding giving it back when it was time to go back to the house.

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i had been keeping track of the cruise ship schedules, and was on hand to see this big behemouth come around the corner and go cruising up the giudecca canal.

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connor learned a new word – abomination.  five syllables, and he picked it up the first time he heard it come out of my mouth.  i was so proud.

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here it is going around the back of san giorgio, way larger than any of the buildings.

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then, let me see, we ran around to the north side of the island again.  don’t really know why, let me look at my photo stash for a moment.  why did we go anywhere on easter monday?  oh yes.  francis decided to do something on his own in the afternoon, so jim and connor and i went off to find out that the scuola where the carpaccio paintings are was closed until the next day.  it would have been open, but it was a holiday.  so we strolled until we came to the area of the printmaking studio, and wandered up the canal on the way to the ospedale vaporetto stop, instead of going thru the scuola next to the basilica of zanipolo.

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on the way back, we passed this effigy hanging from part of the arsenale.  i think it’s an art school, which would make perfect sense.

the next morning, i was to take francis to the airport around noon, but in the middle of the night i discovered that a cruise ship was due into port at 8:30 in the morning, so i got up at 7 and dashed out without even a cup of coffee.

if you’re interested in marine traffic, here are three sites – this one charts the boats, this one lists the boats and the ports, and this one also tracks them live.  fascinating, and very helpful.

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so i took a vaporetto to san giorgio so i could catch it obliterating the view of san marco as it passed.  it was a beautiful morning.

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and the full moon was still visible going down over the salute.  i’m going to miss this place.

unfortunately, the schedule seemed to be a little off.  i was there way early, and it was cold out, so after finding it too early for the bar on san giorgio, i took the vaporetto back to san zaccaria and wandered inland a bit to find a cup of coffee.  then, togo cup in hand, i took the vaporetto back to san giorgio, and sat around inside the church for awhile.

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it was very peaceful, and very quiet, and i was the only one there.  then someone (oops, not the only one i guess) turned on some recorded music of presumably the monks of san giorgio doing their chants, and playing the organ behind the altar.  the sound came from many speakers around the church, and echoed wonderfully, so i took this video to capture the sound.

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at 9 the campanile opened, and i thought, well that’s a good place to take a picture of the boat.  so i paid the 6 euros and took the elevator to the viewing platform.  it’s about on the level of the campanile at san marco, and the view is stupendous, but not the same at all (see a future blog post for details).  but i did get this great photo of men working on the roof.  they made a lot of noise.  it was entertaining.

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san marco looks great from this vantage point.  the schedule was wrong.  i realized this when i realized it was close to low tide at 8:30 in the morning, and that wouldn’t do for a cruise ship.  so i stood around in the campanile for 2 and a half hours, waiting for the cruise ship, gazing out to sea, standing in the warm sun and being buffeted by the winds at height.

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finally i saw first one tugboat and then the other cruise on down the canals toward lido, and knew that the spot on the horizon i’d been watching must be the cruise ship.  it was larger than anything else in the adriatic.  so i watched from the campanile as it came past sant’elena and turned to come up the chanel toward me.  than i went down the elevator and took my spot at the edge of the campo in front of the church.  i could already see it breasting the towers on the marina at san giorgio.  i set up my gopro, and my phone on timelapse, and had out the big camera to take action snaps.  the sun was out and it was lovely and warm.

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so i got this lovely horrible shot of the cruise ship that swallowed venice.  was it worth a three hour wait in freezing wind?  well, yes.  i loved standing in the campanile and watching the traffic going up and down the waterways.  i loved the look of venice from above.  i enjoyed the sun.

the moment the ship turned to go down the giudecca canal, i jumped on the vaporetto and made it home as quick as possible, to find francis beginning to panic, because jim and connor had gone to the store, and he was alone and time was running out to get to the airport.  so we rushed off, taking the number 6 instead of taking the more leisurely trip up the grand canal.

besides, francis had spent one whole afternoon on the vaporetti, cruising up and down and going everywhere in style.  i remember now, that’s what he did with one of the two days i don’t remember.

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as we cut down to the station, we passed a line of little huts that artists have put graffiti up on, mimicking the designs of warehouse signs, including a police station.  and there’s the damned cruise ship parked in the bacino behind them.  mammouth.

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we had enough time after we got off at piazzale roma to stop for a pizza at the local cafe/bar there.  we had hot chocolate and a diet coke, a four-cheese pizza, and two coffees, and the bill came to 40 euro.  that’s what happens when you sit down…

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i got this nice shot for francis of the grand canal as seen from the edge of the glass bridge.

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and he got this one of me in the same spot.  so all my friends can stop asking for photos of me, because here it is.

unfortunately, the inspectors came by while we were on the bus to the airport, wanting to see our passes.  and i had brought the wrong one for francis, because he clearly wasn’t my daughter.  we had to pay the fine, which is steep, and endure the embarrassment of the other passengers looking at us like we were criminals.  sorry, francis, mea culpa.  next time i’ll examine the pass before i tuck it into my pocket.

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but we were at the airport, and francis was thru the security gate before we knew it, and he’s now home and remembering his trip fondly.

and then i was loose on the streets of venice once again, feeling the same depression whenever i drop someone at the airport.  a feeling of loss, and aimlessness.

but i still had presents to get, those bags for some relatives.  so i had to actually muster the attitude to go shopping.

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therefore, i stopped at the same irish pub off of strada nova, and had a pint sitting out in the sun, and really loved the view of this old palazzo in the background.  you can’t really see it, but in the near middle ground is a wellhead, and there’s a guy drinking from the fountain just in front of it.  as i sat there, i saw about half a dozen locals and tourists come up and drink from that fountain, fill their water bottles, wash their glasses.  and there were a bunch of locals coming past me, going into the depths of cannaregio with their shoping, their laundry, their dogs.

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i’m not at all sure where this campo was, but the buildings were so interesting, reflecting the light that way, that i just had to stop for a photo.  i don’t know who the kid is, either, because connor was with jim.

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as a measure of my slight depression, i found this guy very interesting, so i took his photo while he was staring at his phone.

and now it’s only a day until we go home.  perhaps i’ll be able to document our last several days in venice tonight (hah), but i’m busy packing and cleaning.  tomorrow (sunday) we go to the airport with our heavy bags, and leave them in the luggage storage, and monday morning we go with our carryon bags and check in, and leave for home.

waaaaah.

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