ITALY AND SPAIN 2010

 

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.  Comments added AFTER real time are in [square brackets].

 

Trip Log 8.  Day 8.  Third and Last Full Day in Venice

Wednesday October 20, 2010. The Fish Market and the Produce Market. The Guggenheim Museum.

It's 8:15 and our last full day here. We drive out and on to Tuscany tomorrow. The ever-changing feel of the bridge below us takes another turn this morning.

Sister Shirley has found a sober discussion of the future of Venice in Rick Steve's Italy 2009 travel book. The population is 62,000 (2009 estimate), and that's less than half what it was when I visited in 1978. People are leaving at the rate of about 1,000 per year. Of those who stay 25 percent are 65 or older. The young people can't afford to live here, and/or they can't find suitable work.

OK, I finally found my digital voice recorder. That record is my memory of our trip as it threads through the every-changing portal of that which is called NOW. I figure I'd forget about 80% of it on my own without that little electronic wundergadget. {As it is, he forgets most of the time which of his 100! pockets he put it in. OK, that is probably an exaggeration, but he doesn't put it back in the same pocket of his multipurpose vest every time. So he then has to search every pocket to find it for the next use. Many times, he is convinced that he has lost or forgotten it at the apartment, and then Hooray!, he finds it again.. Also with his money clip. I told him that he has had his pocket "picked" at least 6 times so far, (that is the look on his face as he is trying to find his money and fearing that someone has taken it) but then when he searches all his pockets, he finds it every time, with relief.}

We take some photos of our apartment, for your benefit.

(L) View from the loft into the kitchen/dining area. (R) View from living room across the table and into the kitchen.

(L) View from the kitchen sink, across the table, towards the living room. (R) Same view, camera tilted up towards loft.

(L) First door on left is to Lutmans', door straight ahead is the Lewis's, stairs go up to storage area. (R) Lutmans' bedroom {Can you see the special feature of those stairsteps? Every other one is cut for right foot, left foot, etc. You can only go up the stairs if you start on the right foot (literally)}

Lutmans' bathroom. Shower just out of sight to the left. {Jerry is convinced that the basin on the left here is a "foot washing tub" I can't convince him that it is a bidet for washing "other things"}

Jerry gets a terrific straight-down shot on a gondola.


Last night Sharon dug into the section on Venice, and came up with the fish market, the produce market and the Guggenheim Museum as possible things to do on our last day. One other anti-romantic, practical thing to do is instead of crossing the Grand Canal over one of the bridges, you can take a gondola across, operating just like a taxi. There are four or five permanent crossing points, roughly in between the existing bridges. So instead of spending 100 euros for a romantic ride in the early evening {instead, spending that money on a new camera. Bob has tried valiently to take pictures using a safety pin to depress the mechanism on his broken camera, which does take the picture, but is a royal "pain-in-the-you know what}you can take a mid-day trip across for one-count-it-one euro. With our other expenses, Sharon has said she will go without the cool gondola trip (and avoid possibly contracting gondolerria - the sickness of never wanting to get off), and use the money for other things instead. What a girl. Of course, all you guys know that this will cost us another pair of round trip tickets to Venice someday because we saved 100 euros this trip, right?

Leaving the apartment, we get a good shot at the dangerous, be-careful apron you have to stay on to get into the elevator.


Sharon is standing at the edge of the flood water on the sidewalk outside our apartment door. That's our outside door to the left, recessed back from the outer wall. The dark, wet-looking stuff is, how you say, aitch-to-owe.

One of my favorite photos, taken through a small flooded doorway as the front of a gondola is just visible, with flowers in the background.

As we walk away from that gondola shot, and turn back, we can see Jerry, looking out one of the kitchen windows. {Isn't this just the most romantic place to stay?}



At nearly the same instant, Jerry gets a shot of us, down on the sidewalk. Then we make our way to the bridge below our apartment, where Jerry gets us again.

We go out to the Grand Canal walkway, and make our way downstream, or should I say downcanal from the Rialto Bridge. We take a gondola taxi across the Grand Canal.



There is some kind of sight around almost every turn you make. We see this beautiful narrow four story building. "I want that!" - (Napoleon Dynamite, the movie.)



We get out on the far side, with the fish market on our minds, but this morning the water level is very, very high, and we have to reroute ourselves around some puddles, where in algebra, for example, puddles = totally under water.

Asking as we get closer asking for more exact directions, we come around a corner, and there it is. A couple asks us how to get to the Rialto Bridge, and he means the vaporetto pickup place, so we tell them. They are very friendly, and just off the plane from Chile. {Look at us, being able to tell other tourists how to get around Venice!}

More corners, more sights. We can't figure out what this is, or was.


There is always time for a little window shopping.


And finally, here we are, at the fish market. That's Sharon heading in. {As with everything in Venice, this is hundreds, if not thousands, years old; with locals coming here to do their daiy shopping for fresh ingredients}

We spend some time, amazed at the variety and quantity of fish and seafood,

Some of us (I won't say who) saw this swordfish head, and thought it was caught in the year 2000, but it was actually more spectacular than that. The head, itself, cost 2,000 euros, about $2,800. As somebody once said in the old west, "There's a price on his head." Photo by Jerry.

Yech, eel. Mmmm, sashimi.

and right next to it the produce market.

{That is a bouquet of peppers that I am holding.}

A small white pooch is wandering around, looking for its owner.



Not to be outdone, the meat industry waves its flag. As does a little food market.

We continue on, looking for a gelato place. I am walking a little in front of the girls, who are window shopping every interesting store. When they pass, a gelato guys ask if he can sell some gelato to them. They say no thank you, we're just looking, and one of the fellows says, "Yes, but I get to look at YOU." Smoooooth.

It's about 1:30 when we backtrack to a pizza place we saw earlier. We give them our orders and tell them it's for takeaway. After proceeding to this small piazza, we take seats on a one-foot tall barrier around a fountain. The sun feels good.



More sights, including a spark plug bear.

After that, we head back for home, shopping along the way. It's up and over the Rialto Bridge, and it's like floating in a dream because we don't have to carry all our luggage.

Shirley buys something in the Pinocchio shop, while we wait outside. There are Halloween things around.

While waiting for Shirley, I watch a small boy trying to keep his baby brother entertained in his carriage. As long as the boy is dancing around, the baby laughs. But as soon as he stops, the little baby kicks and squirms, screams and stretches, so the brother gives up and glumly watches the baby bawl. After a bit, the mother comes out and takes control, then off they go.

Shirley finishes up her shopping and we head for home, though sometimes we are blocked by flood waters, and have to search for a go-around, via a slightly higher path. Trial and error. Pretty amazing, being right on the verge of flooding every few days. {In the plaza San Marco, we had seen things we thought were tables but they turn out to be platforms you walk on when the water is so high that the street is flooded. I guess it is all dependent on the tides here and at times the San Marcos Plaza is totally under water.}

I'm having a ball with Sharon's new camera. One cool thing about it is that if you turn the camera sideways to take a photo of something tall, like an obelisk, or a tower, as soon as you take the picture, it rotates to be properly oriented for human eyes. "How do dey do dat?" - Johnny Carson

We make it home, and Sharon and Shirley decide to go see the Guggenheim Museum. Jerry feels like they will need him to guide them home, since the vaporetto 72-hour ticket will have expired by the time they head back here. {Peggy Guggeheim had a "retirement villa" here that is now the museum. We read that she used to scandalize the locals by going around topless and by swimming in the Grande Canal. She loved the arts and has a great collection of modern art including many Jackson Pollocks (I think they were lovers for a while) She is buried in the garden along with 10-12 of her favorite dogs.}

I do a series of experiments, varying methods of embedding photos in AOL emails, but there is some problem with all of them, so I decide to send emails without photos. To read the report WITH the wonderful photos we're taking, the reader is instructed to click on a link, which then takes them to the photo'd report on our website, www.24birds.net.

Here's what my three travelmates saw on their trip to and from the Guggenheim.

When the Guggenheimers return, they tell the story of Yoko Ono giving a tree to the Guggenheim{in 2003}It's an olive tree, and anyone can take a piece of paper, make a hole in it, write a message on it, and tie it to the tree.

I stayed home because my back is killing me, plus I haven't quite recovered from whatever is in the water here that's knocking my energy out, though I've started a course of cipro, and am definitely starting to feel much better.

In the evening, I finish Report #2 and after Sharon reviews and adds her bit, I send it out. There's Report #8, and more soon I hope. G'night all.

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