Posted by: jeanne | January 21, 2017

another 3-hour tour

this morning i wanted to avoid stewing about unfortunate national events, so we went out for a long walk right after going to the store for the groceries we needed.  i thought it would be a good day to go for the art supplies we couldn’t bring on the plane, namely turpentine, plus jim found he needed some white pigment.


so we crossed the grand canal at rialto bridge, after taking yet another non-main path there.

a shop premises near rialto bridge being considered by potential shopkeepers

they’re renovating the bridge, and there’s a blocked off staging area with a husking, and on the boards was a nice explanation of the restoration process in italian and english, so we spent a minute looking at it, and then snuck up the outer stairs trying to avoid the crush at the top – tourists taking selfies.

connor examining locks of love. they regularly remove these weighty symbols from the bridges

after that it was guesswork.  i’m amazed at how well i know the city after 2 years away.  i was so confident i almost didn’t take my phone (maps with me), but went back for it once i realized i really didn’t know how to get to the pigment store.  damn, i lost the receipt, so i don’t know the name of it, but it’s on salizada s. francisco, and looks like a hardware store from the outside.  oh well.


anyway, the phone was almost out of juice, so i pulled up the map only when i was sure i was lost.  we got to the church of san giovanni e paolo, and jim took one look at the island of san michele – the cemetery island – and wanted to up to the fondamente on the north shore and take a picture, so we marched up the canal, got our photos, and then wound our way back thru the hospital (the one with a bar in it).  on the way we rephotographed the nice decorated well head, and connor got to chase one of the garden cats.




we kept going.  i knew we had to go the main route to arsenale, but i wasn’t sure which one it was, so we went straight.  any right turns would take us the wrong way, so i wanted to get as far down castello as possible before turning.


amazingly, we found it. the most amazing store, just chock full of art supplies, beading supplies, mosaic supplies, even some household supplies.  an artist’s paradise.  we found our turpentine, we got our pigment.  connor didn’t get anything, and for this he threw a minor fit.  he keeps stopping at shop windows and asking santa claus to bring him whatever he sees in the window.  it’s getting tiresome, but he can’t understand why we won’t buy him a water pistol, or get that 40 euro captain america, when he’s got several at home.  there’s no explaining to a five year old.

connor reminds santa that even tho grandma won’t get these toys, he still wants them.  ALL

i finally admitted that i was lost.  we were wandering around places i didn’t remember.  however, we came to an open gate, with a courtyard, and another courtyard beyond, so i walked right in and went straight to the back, where we were in the presence of a very old and very grand palazzo with an external staircase and a pozzo.  it was almost as grand as ca d’oro, so i was enchanted, and took lots of pictures while connor climbed to the very top of the staircase.  that was when the guard hurried to where we were and said we can’t be there, that it was a school.  well, that would explain all the high pitched chattering i could hear thru the windows.  i shrugged and apologized, and then we all had to wait until connor made his way down the stairs;  bless him, he was slow and hesitant coming down, which gave me time to learn from jim that he wanted to get shots of the rooftops from the outer courtyard, and for me to take them as we left.  oops.  then connor berated me for a minute about going into places i shouldn’t, and i quite agreed.  in principal…


we kept wandering down streets we sort of remembered from last time, and finally came to the dalmatian school with all the carpaccio paintings, and salizada san antonin, where several stores i remembered were still – banco lotto no.10 where the ladies from the prison make really expensive designer clothes, bragora where they make really interesting t-shirt designs and everything is recycled, and the home store where we got plastic food containers last time.  banco lotto was closed, so no temptations there, bragora was open, so we got a t-shirt, and the home store was also open so we got some food boxes, since we seem to generate leftovers with every meal.  we spoke with the guy in bragora about a t-shirt design we’ve been considering for the past 2 years.  the theme is ‘dead tourists in venice’ and it shows a nice little bridge with a tourist in the process of falling off it, brandishing his selfie stick.  we like the theme a whole lot.  the guy was a little dubious.  but i think it could be a big seller.

then we kept walking, toward the southern shore and the vaporetto home.  we got to riva degli schiavone, where the walkway widens way out and tourist stalls flourish.  connor could run again, and he could thump his way loudly over the rampways, and he could hoot.  he found a lady feeding pigeons and had some fun there too.


we walked past the forecourt of san marco and stopped for a moment to sit and rest.  they’re still working on the facade of the church, and so there’s still scaffolding and fabric blocking any photos i might have wanted to take.  so we proceeded past the outrageously expensive tourists trinket booths (a scarf found everywhere else in venice for 5 euro was 10 here), and made our way to the vaporetto.

it took a few minutes to get there, so we sat in the shelter and bobbed with the waves; the lagoon was rather choppy, it’s been a few days of windy weather, but it’s actually warmer today than it has been.  connor got to run and jump from the ramp to the pontoon, and of course at some point fell and scraped his hands, giving me the perfect opportunity to remind him not to do what he was just doing.

then we came home, had lunch (it was 2:30), and i took a nap while the boys played.  except that the moment i lay down, the doorbell rang.  i had to ask the landlord to come back over to decide what was wrong with the hot water heater again; the lights blinked indicating something was wrong with something – call for service, it said on the instructions – and he came over and checked it out, frowned when he saw the blinking light, turned the temperature down a little and declared it fixed.  so we’ll see when i have the courage to run another bath.  back to sleep, my dreams filled with pointless confrontations and actors telling me they knew how to cook because they’d played cooks in a movie…

when i got up, i discovered that playing meant grandpa lying on connor’s bed trying to take a nap while connor directed a complex show around him.  so i made grandpa get in our bed and take a proper nap while connor and i went out for fritelle at the shop near the frari.  the art gallery we were rejected from yesterday is closed, perhaps for the rest of the winter until carneval starts.  but the pastery shop had a fresh batch of fritelle, and they remembered us, and connor had to tell his name and give high fives to everyone working there.

and then we walked back a different way than last time, different also from the tourist path.  we found a place where our rio joins with several others in a four-way confluence, but it was getting dark and i didn’t have my camera, so we’ll go back.  i’d seen it on a map and thought it would be interesting, and it is.

then we got home and i put on tea, and connor pitched a fit about something and proceeded to run into the bathroom and lock the door.  this was a mistake.

i heard the rattling as he tried to unlock it.  he kept trying to insert the key and kept missing the actual lock inside the door cavity.  it was going to be bad.  i was going to have to scrounge around in the junk drawer for the key and then call the landlord back to come rescue connor, who might have to spend the night in the bathroom.  but there’s a little clerestory window between the bathroom and the laundry room, and i remembered it, so went to check it out.  the window latch is on the laundry room side, thank god, so i got out the folding stool and got up there.  the latch actually worked, so i went and found a length of rope, tied it to a grocery bag, and lowered it into the bathroom so connor could put the key inside.  and i got it and unlocked it, and went on a hunt for any other keys that might be in locks, and put them all away.

and then we had our fritelle and tea, and now we’re doing evening things until i heat up the leftover spaghetti and we do night things (connor playing with jim, me sitting with a cup of tea reading my book).  i’m of two minds about drawing a bath…and of course, it still didn’t work, and i had to email the landlord one more time with a transcription of the warning light message.  maybe they’ll call a gas guy to come check it out.



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