Wednesday, April 16, 2003

European Whirl - Day 7

April 16th

Venice … Camping Fusina

clip_image002To Venice! Heard lots of legend about it, the gondola, the masks festival; my teacher said, “you haven’t been in Venice if you enter it not from Piazza di San Marco” … lucky that we did enter Venice with water boat (is there any land boat? ^.^). We departed at around 8, and should take another water boat back at around 5, so approximately 8 hours in Venice … I was thinking about staying longer there and going back to the camp myself, if it was necessary.

It took approximately 30 minutes to arrive the land of Venice. I tried to recall what Mrs. Lu told us about the city planning of Venice 7 years ago … too long! I squeezed my eyes trying to spot where Piazza San Marco was. I saw the bell tower! Few tips about Venice, if you want to feed the pigeon, be prepare that there’ll be thousands bird attacking you! It’s true somehow; never did I see in London a pigeon dare to land on strangers’ shoulder.




Our trip began with the introduction to Venetian glass, which is pink. In almost every street lamps have this Venetian pink for the glass cover. We went to a hot glass workshop. I saw a video about how to blow glass in V&A Museum before, so not really surprise by what I saw. But I was surprise by the way the man ‘introduce’ their product. While he put the glasses on the top of a mirror in the table, he made very loud smashing sounds, just to prove how original their products were that they wouldn’t break easily. It’s more fun to see his performance than the blowing master ^.^

clip_image010Then we went to lace workshop. The building was a small monastery before. Until the government began to realize that the tradition of handmade lace was almost extinct, they decided to build a lace school, and keep on subsidizing it to encourage young girl to learn it. They put another 3 layers after the cotton while making it, and then they have to torn it off one by one, leave only the oilpaper and the cotton … needs a lot of patient … amazing!

Began the journey into the maze! Looking the map of Venice, I decided to fold it and kept it in my pocket. It is not at all a well-planned city, with blocks and parallel roads. Ji Su, Gillian and I left San Marco, followed our feeling and got lost. It was fun though, after all Venice is not a big city at least still on the walking distance. The whole city has a very bright color for its architecture; mainly orange and red. There is piazza in each corner, most of which has fountain. I remembered Mrs. Lu taught us something about Italian couldn’t live without water (who can? ^.^) We saw lots of shops, mainly sells tourist’s goods … surprisingly, we did not see any single Mac Donald, no free toilet. The toilet in Italy is the most expensive one in any cities we’d ever been, 50-60 cents, no matter you do the pee-pee or the poo-poo!


A real pig’s head in the market


Lots of such sculptures by the same artist, might be an exhibition


The bright Venetian walls

Being a city with canals, of course I didn’t see any bicycle or cars. There’re even taxis and busses, which means traffic lights and speed limit are required here. Pity that I didn’t see any water traffic policemen or water ambulance ^.^

clip_image018clip_image020We walked and walked; find the 2 famous bridges, Ponte di Rialto and Ponte della Accademia. There we met some of our group (I thought I wouldn’t meet anyone considering Venice as a maze city). Ponte di Rialto is a place where Venetian can make money from tourists (I bought my second gelato here, a tiramisu flavor). Ponte della Accademia is only a bridge with coffee shops at the both ends.

clip_image022Almost every single person in our tour took the gondola ride. It was not as exciting as what we imagine. Frankly speaking, it’s quite boring. The rider was a middle age guy who never smiled or talked to us, he didn’t even wear the strip gondola uniform and hat. What I thought was kind of guiding tour, like the one I had in Cambridge. But the riders talked to each other in Italian, no “oye oye”, not even songs. For me, it didn’t make any different with walking by myself. Quite an expensive ride, 18 Euro for a 30 minutes ride! Any gondola was painted black now, but not in old days. It used to be painted in various color, especially gold. The art of gondola painting grow more and more glamour that the king decided to apply this black rule, so that only him could have the golden color.

By the time the hand clock hit 5 at the afternoon, I felt so exhausted that I decided to go back to the campsite with the rest of the group. If we missed the water boat, a water taxi back to the campsite would cost 40 Euro. There were busses, but it’d take 2 hours. Back to the camp earlier was the best choice, since the campsite restaurant had prepared a dinner for us, chicken and pork barbeque with French fries, plus wine, though cheap ones.


No comments: