Posted by: jeanne | February 13, 2017

parade down rio cannaregio

after some horrifyingly intense dreams reminiscent of terminator, i got up to fresh coffee and connor chafing to tell me his dream. but first jim had to tell his dream, and then hear mine, and after that connor’s dream sounded more like a movie, with zombies and captain america. we always listen, but i’m not sure he has the concept of dream analysis straight yet.

all the cameras and spare batteries were packed into the backpack, along with a hat and coat for connor, and i had made him wear leggings and extra layers because were planning to be standing around in the shadows for several hours. jim gets to wear the backpacks. i usually take the big camera, but its weight has been hurting my neck and giving me headaches, and i’m quite alarmed at my fragility.

we left at 10 and took the short way to riva de biasio, which runs thru campo giacomo dell’orio. we passed a small group of american tourists, whom connor accosted with ‘why aren’t you speaking italian?’ they were lost and trying to get to ferrovia, the train station, so i used the venetian joke on them – just go straight – and then pointed them to a bridge off the campo, tho at that point all streets lead to ferrovia. again, despite the mazelike structure of the streets, there are really only a few through ways, and once you’ve been down them you go without thinking about it, cutting corners and passing people like a local.

we were there quickly. there was nobody else there, so we picked the best-feeling spot and set up. i attached the backpack to the railing, we put on the zoom lens, we told another bunch of americans who were looking at the crowds on the other side of the river that there was going to be a parade, and pointed out our alternative spot in case they wanted to brave the crowds and go over there (they didn’t have a zoom lens). and then i realized i had forgotten to bring the little silver camera. but it was only 10:30, still half an hour before the official start of the parade, so i walked back home, leaving jim and connor by the side of the grand canal. of course they’d be okay.

at the start the vaporetti and alilaguna boats still cruised the canal, but not later

i went home, passing some american guys who were saying how they’d like to go to greece, but one arguing that americans weren’t well liked there at the moment. i laughed; america isn’t liked anywhere at the moment, but they would probably like them personally because that’s how it worked. they were shocked to find a stranger listening and responding to what they were openly discussing. it amuses me.

it only took ten minutes to get home and grab the camera and spare batteries, and ten more minutes to get across the city back to jim and connor, who had collected a bit of a crowd, including an italian family from somewhere else who had come to venice for carnival.

connor took this photo of the family next to us at the railing

he had been in florida with his family, so we talked about atlanta, and i gave my usual response to the political scene there, pulling my usual face and giving my usual gestures. their boy played with connor during the entire time we were there. i stopped and bought connor the cat mask he had been asking for, not hesitating to bargain with the guy in the shop.

connor on a rampage

even tho the whole thing started at 11, it was mainly some guy on a loudspeaker somewhere on the rio cannaregio that started, while the canal remained empty of boats. there were several police boats at the mouth of the canal, warding off traffic. the vaporetti that usually go up and down that canal had to turn around in the middle of the grand canal and go back – why don’t they just interrupt the schedule and go around the other way, i wondered.

the crowd around us grew. mostly italians, but i was ever unsure about whether they were locals or tourists like us. an ambulance came by, casting a wake up over the side of our embankment, and i was filming its impact on the steps and trying to tell connor to get his coat out of the way when it got splashed – he was saying ‘what?’ at that moment. i had forgotten that my gopro was down on the istrian stones just outside the railing, and it got a little wet, but it was fine in its waterproof housing, yay.

jim and i had a disagreement about which way the boats would come. he remembered them coming from the grand canal and up the rio, and i remembered them coming from the north side down the rio. our argument became public when various tourists understood what we were saying and told the people around them. it seems nobody was certain which way they would come.

but finally we heard music and the police launches moved slowly out of the way of the mouth of the canal, and a giant rat came into view. a boat dressed up as a rat. the rat is the mascot of venice. jim has a t-shirt that shows a rat’s outline, and says ‘venice at night’ because rats used to take over at night. and there were many more cats about too. but now there are boxes of rat poison everywhere, and that has probably done for the cats as well.

the boats came, from the grand canal (i lost that bet). jim had the big camera and i had the other two, and we did our duty.

connor’s wearing his cat mask, and the old man in the wheelchair is watching the parade, while the italian family not from venice takes the same photos we’re taking

connor continued to play with the kid, tho the kid’s parents wanted him to watch the parade, so the playing was stifled. and the crowd pressed around us. a hard object bumped my leg, and i found a guy in a wheelchair and his wife, who took momentary interest in connor and his mask, and then watched the parade with enjoyment.

the rat that opens the parade every time



the pink ladies in the foreground.  i would be with them if we lived here





a nun with a beardSONY DSC
the winged lion of san marco

the white bits on the red boat are reflections of sunlight on the water



jim and i independently got numerous shots of this guy’s energetic rowing

there was a real logjam of boats waiting to get under the bridge.  some have shipped their oars in a sort of ritual motion

it must be difficult to do the tango on a boat

it wasn’t all that long. for the wait, it was sort of anticlimactic. we were very grateful to not have been on the other side of the canal and having to deal with all those crowds.


back to normal on the grand canal

we were actually the last ones to leave the riva, and we sauntered slowly home past a duo of musicians with guitar and fiddle that we made sure to give some money to.

no straight lines anywhere in venice


locals in campo dell’orio

i want to paint this next

from where we were, the road to campo san polo (our apartment) was the same length as the one to campo dei frari (frittelle), so we got frittelle. connor spent the whole trip insisting that michela wouldn’t recognize him with his cat mask on, and was careful to whisk if off as he entered the store. she wasn’t able to give him the usual mess of big hugs this time, because not only was the owner standing around, but there was a line at the window, because it’s carnival, and everybody has frittelle during carnival (and then it disappears once lent starts).

our frittelle shop

the first actual bike we’ve seen in venice, belongs to a guy from spain. did he ride here?

and then home, a great long nap for me, connor and his kindle, jim and his drawing. and then frittelle and tea, and now chicken for dinner. tomorrow we’re going to see some art.

ps, i forgot to include this earlier in the post, but the italian guy not from venice who was next to us during the parade, the one whose son played with connor, insisted when jim told him about seeing shiny silver fish in the canal next to ours, that there were no fish in the canals in venice. hah. as we got to our campiello after the parade, we saw seagulls next to the istrian stones. the largest had a fish on the pavement. he’d just finished killing it with his beak (there was blood everywhere), and as connor and i watched (jim lagging behind as usual), the seagull started with the head of the fish – a good 10″ long fish – and gulped it down inch by inch until he swallowed the tail. we approached him until he flew away, still arching his neck to get it all down, and his neck was distended with the body of the fish. wow. and last night, in the dead quiet that is venice when the boats aren’t passing, i heard a plop that was a bird diving into the water, and then maybe two seconds later, a flap of wings hitting the water as he took off again. and a couple of seconds after that, a squacco squawked from his perch on high. so there are plenty of fish in this sea.


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