Weekends in Venice? Pretty decadent, eh? Unless, perhaps, you’re Thomas Mann.
We’re not, so we had a marvelous time.
I won’t try to list everything we saw, but I’ll give you my quick impressions, and force you to scroll all the way down to see the pics.
On Saturday night, a bit tired of the crowds of shoppers (I’m a guy, so I blame my lack of desire to shop on those Y chromosomes) I walked through San Helena and Giardini, sections of the Venezian lagoon outside of the normal haunts. This park was marvelous – felt like I was in Paris, and I had found where the locals (including the not-so-local college students) live. I stumbled upon a farmer’s market with plenty of fresh veggies and fruits marked as biologicale, which is the EU certification for organic…I also lots of happening spots, with music, and soccer (futbol) on tv with passionate fans. Thankfully, I didn’t see any soccer hooligans (I’ve had, er, unpleasant encounters with that type of crowd before), but of course this isn’t Great Britain. We finished the night with a delicious dinner, at which I had spaghetti alla vongole.
I have spent a couple of hours now in Venice being completely lost, and I enjoyed the experience (except when I had to pee). The close streets feel comfortable to me (because of my love of canyons, perhaps), and I’m fairly confident that as long as I keep walking in a straight line I will hit water, at which point I can get my bearings again. That’s a dangerous complacency, as a traveler, I’m afraid, but Venezia is ridiculously safe in a lot of ways, with a heavy police presence. I’m curious about the local politics, and the mixture of republicanism (with an intentional small ‘r’) and desire for order – as England demonstrates, representative government and omnipresent surveillance cameras are not mutually exclusive. Danilo told me about the city’s constant (?) desire to break away from the rest of Italy – driven by a desire to stop financing a federal government that seems to spend most of its money in the south – and I marvel at the ways in which we as humans take pride in our local organizations and communities despite the supposed inevitability of a global new world order.