Posted by: jeanne | March 2, 2017

the end of carnival (yay)

okay, this is two days, and a whole lot of photos, but not a tremendous amount to report.

jim and marie went out on monday, the second-to-last day of carnival. and there was hardly anybody out. a few people. connor and i slept in, as is our custom now.

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they went out extra early, and got the earliest of the costumers, who tend to dress lightly (sorry).

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this one poor girl decided to bare it all, and she must have been very cold, because it’s still in the low 40s in the early morning here.

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this group paraded about like they were a marriage party. i can’t tell if the photographers were part of the procession, or just latched onto them for the morning.

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jim was bored enough that he found this excellent model to capture against the early morning clouds; she took a pose and kept it. we should do more with her…

so later on, while marie had a nap, we decided to make a quick trip to murano to take in the glass museum. unfortunately we forgot to leave a set of keys with marie, which effectively marooned her in the apartment. our three hour tour took five hours, and she was desperately bored by the time we got back. sorry, marie.

perhaps on purpose, the glass museum is all the way the length of the island from the first vaporetto stop. there is a museo stop, but we didn’t figure that out, and so walked the entire length of the island, past all the glass shops in the world. we did that last time we were here, so this time we only sauntered past and weren’t really tempted (except i did manage to get two of my final round of gifts there at decent prices, making me wonder if they weren’t chinese instead of italian).

eventually we wanted something to eat. i remembered that there was a coop store somewhere, so we stopped and asked a shopkeeper, who told us to go straight, two bridges, and then to the left. these are the kind of directions you get in venice.

when we got to the big church with the huge glass sculpture we stopped a policeman who was talking to a very imposing santa claus type guy. i interrupted him to ask where the coop store was, and he told me (the big bridge, then right, and it’s on the left), but the santa guy said he wasn’t going to tell me where the grocery was because he owned a restaurant. i apologized, and said that we were artists, and can’t afford to eat in restaurants, or else we couldn’t stay for two months. then he mentioned that his is the oldest restaurant in the oldest building in venice, built in 1000 or thereabouts. i remembered that restaurant from last time; i wanted to paint it then, so i told him that i would paint it and send him a copy. and went around and got a card at the restaurant so i won’t forget. it’s the busa alla torre trattoria, and it’s really cute – see?

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but we continued on to the grocery store, and for 7 euro we got bread, meat and cheese, and a bottle of milk, and dined al fresco in perfect comfort. others also had the same idea.

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from that point it was straight to the glass museum, which has a wonderful back yard full of well heads and other fun things for connor to run around on. he made friends with the entrance guard right away, a woman who spoke enough english to delight him, and enough to tell me about her children, girls all, who don’t behave like that. she thought he was precious.

the glass museum is divided into two floors, and the ground floor is all modern stuff, glass produced today. these pieces are made in the old style, and we really liked the quality of the work.

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but when we went upstairs to the historical part, we were struck by how much more accomplished glassblowers were in the 19th century. there was an obvious difference – more challenging pieces, more delicacy.

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then we moved back in time, to the 15th-17th century, when glass was really developed to a fine art. someone in venice discovered how to make clear glass around 1450.

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of course, you have to look up when you’re in these palazzi-turned-museums, because the ceilings are usually stupendous. and this ceiling had three murano glass chandeliers. massive.

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as ever, the guards loved connor. he couldn’t care less about the exhibits, or the floors, or the ceilings, but is always looking for someone to talk to. and cadge candy from…

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on the way out we went cruising thru the modern modern part, where i’m not happy at all. like modern art, it’s less skill and more splash, more concept. like primitive art. bleah.

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even connor was tired of it by the time we left.

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so, onto the vaporetto back to venice. we sat in the back, outside. i was too tired to stand for the ride, but didn’t want to be in the stuffy cabin, and there was nobody out there when we got on, so we all hustled to the back, where connor could actually see over the railing and watch the water go by. the seats filled up, and then a french couple came and i badgered connor to give up his seat. the woman sat down, and he climbed in her lap. of course. we talked a little, in my broken french, and it turns out they live in dijon, which is where my grandmother was born. nice coincidence.

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i took this picture as a reflection in the vaporetto doors as we cruised down the grand canal. it was very bright and warm that afternoon. and we got home in time to free a trapped marie to go out for awhile.

we went around for frittelle, and found this great musical family entertaining everybody at campo frari, with the kids casually joining in, one with a noisemaker horn, and the other acting as director.

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across from the conad store, we finally stopped into a shop i’d been eying for weeks and weeks, with a changing display of beautiful wool and silk clothing. they tempted marie with some silk stoles, and then showed us a knit scarf that i’m going to copy as soon as i learn how to knit…we put off buying anything yet, tho – always a wise practice.

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then we got marie and connor in costume, left jim home to rest and make dinner (he was thoroughly sick of the tourists at this point – the crush!) and went down to try to get to san giorgio. there were a few people out, a few flashbulbs we could see, but mainly we were too late to get there in time for sunset, so we decided to stay in san marco.

it was a little difficult keeping track of connor, but there were already fewer tourists out, and the square was less crowded. thank dog.

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connor was somewhat cooperative this night. sometimes he really doesn’t want to pose and let people take pictures of him, and sometimes he’s a natural; a real ham.

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because there weren’t many costumers, marie was immediately swamped, and that’s good, because when she’s in front of a camera, i know where she is, and can concentrate on where in the world is waldo (connor).

this guy wanted to know where she was from. i think he wanted to date her. he didn’t have a camera…

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these blackbirds were processing thru the piazza, and connor ran up to them and allowed himself to be surrounded by them.  they adored him, but i couldn’t get a picture of their fluttering white hands as they expressed their delight.

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but mainly what connor wanted to do was to treat the antique gold-tipped ebony cane as a gun…

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so as it got dark, there was nowhere to go for marie to pose, so we headed over to where there were a lot of fairy lights, and found some more costumers to photograph.

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and then we discovered the porch of the campanile, where several people were gathered under a street light.  so we went there, and connor found a friend.

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and we found cyril, who was up on the railing.  connor wanted so badly to go up there with him.  no.

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but he did interact with cyril, who graciously interacted back, and started posing with marie, and soon they were all in it together.  mostly connor wanted to race up and down the bench seats and play boo with marie, but okay.

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yes, connor, it’s a real sword.

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marie did some delicious poses as the light continued to fade, and when it was completely dark, we went home and ate jim’s delicious chicken fried in soy sauce.

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the next day was tuesday, the last day of carnival. jim and marie got up to do the morning shoot, and were incredibly surprised to find nobody out there. just a bunch of photographers looking lost. if she had dressed in her costume, she would have been the belle of the ball. as it was, there were a couple of costumers who showed up after dawn, and all of them were dressed in black.

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then we wandered dorsoduro just for the hell of it.  the water was pretty rough by the time we decided to get our last frittelle and get ready to go down to do photographs.  we tried the shop that sofia the boatwoman recommended as the best frittelle in town; our verdict was okay, crystal sugar instead of powdered, and thicker and richer crema, but i liked the taste of the fried dough better at our usual place, and it was 30 cents more apiece.  so yes, better, and full of locals, and a change is good, and it meant that we had double the usual dose of frittelle for the last day of carnival.  pasticceria tonolo, near santa maria margherita.

after tea we were off for our final showing.

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campo san zaccaria had about a dozen costumes, and it was a break from the wind, which was funneling like a tornado thru the sotoportego leading into it.

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connor got tired of posing right away, so i let him play on this jungle gym made of passarelle bars.  jim went into the church, and then into a neighboring art gallery.

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those guys in the policeman costumes marched by, but they don’t pose like regular costumers, so it’s hard to get a decent set of photos of them, and they’re not interested in posing with either marie or connor.  wtf.

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imagine being a doorman in venice during carnival.  there’s just no way to get that much confetti out of the welcome mat.

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i found the photographers as interesting as the costumers.  like artists, there’s a look, and you can see them coming.

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harlequin here is a local, and was up there in front of his friends, making rude gestures and posing like a professional, but with more character in his poses.  he didn’t speak much english, so i couldn’t ask, and anyway he was very busy.

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finally marie got into the act, and took photos of harlequin up on the well head.  and people took pictures of her taking pictures.  of course.

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this fun clown played with connor for a few minutes, to the delight of the photographers, and then she pulled out some bubble juice and let him blow.  she tried to give the bottle to him, but we weren’t having any of it.

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people started leaving, and it was cold because of the wind.  so we adjourned for a coffee, which only jim and i could drink, because marie was in her mask (sorry, marie).  also, they didn’t do hot chocolate, so connor got a drink of water from the tap.  and we ran into some americans (the woman was an artist, we could tell) and had fun while we warmed up a little.  marie stood outside and got some pictures, and gave some pictures.

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then we made our way back toward the vaporetto stop via the piazza, where it was becoming seriously windy.  this guy was well sheltered, but even he needed a break.

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first we ducked under the doge’s palace to get away from the wind, and that worked for a few minutes, but it got pretty crowded under there.  and connor made a friend…

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this green guy had perhaps the most elaborate costume of all, and processed slowly down the gallery letting all and sundry look at his magnificence.  connor wanted to go touch the various animals he had on his costume.

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and then he found the tons of confetti, being pushed into one place by the wind.  he did his best to disperse it again.

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and it got windier and windier.  and still they were stopped in their slow path to the vaporetto time and again by photographers, selfie-takers, and tourists mad for the last chance to get a carnival picture.  and marie was ever gracious about it, even when it hurt.

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not so most of the costumers, tho.  people were rushing to get out of the piazza and into somewhere behind closed doors where they could relax and take a load off.

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and finally we were at the vaporetto.

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we got a direct line, only available during carnival.  it runs from san marco to ferrovia and piazzale roma, and it’s an amazing thing.

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it’s like your own private water taxi.  no stops.  you cruise up the grand canal without stopping, and all the magic is revealed.

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especially when you sit up front, and there’s a family from napoli next to you, chattering in italian and asking everything from what’s your name to how old are you and where are you from.  i forget the middle kid’s name (sorry kid) but the oldest was luigi, and the youngest was francesco, and their baby sister was teresa.  they were wonderful.

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we walked home from piazzale roma, and stopped by the pastry shop just to say goodbye to michela and her coworkers.  then we had more chicken, and piled into bed.

i’ll chronicle wednesday and thursday as soon as i get a chance.  marie goes home on friday, so i’ll be a tad busy doing last minute things with her tomorrow.  but i’ll be back.

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