White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Journey to Venice, Part 1 of 5, Venice, Veneto, Italy

With the G7 Summit taking place in Lucca and closing off much of the city, we decided to make a trip to Venice.  I have never been before.  And Venice is like nowhere else I've ever been.

I don't quite know what to make of it.  I was attracted to it's storied past of world leadership and riches and glory but, equally dismayed by its current state of decline, crowds even in the off season, selfie sticks, and the generally overpriced adult amusement park feel.

It is odd to be in a location where transport by gondola is so common. Although most of the trade is tourists, local residents also use the gondolas  (called traghettos) to cross directly to the other side of the Grand Canal when they want the direct route.

One advantage of Venice over Lucca is that because the streets/alleyways are narrower, and there are hundreds of pedestrian bridges also, it makes bicycles and other vehicles not viable transport. There are no cars, buses, trucks, bicycles - just the legs of humans to propel the masses forward at sometimes a snail's pace.  Boats are the only mechanized transport - and muscular folk pushing handtrucks laden with all manner of goods for delivery.

We made the 180 mile/300 km journey from Lucca to Venice in about 3 1/2 hours.  This view is from atop the Ponte dell' Accademia near where we stayed ("ponte" translates as bridge in Italian).

These two folks are either looking at a ring box or a smartphone - could be either.

It's quite a skill for the gondoliers to navigate through these narrow canals.

And sometimes it gets mighty crowded.

Over in Piazza San Marco, not many diners are out just yet as the afternoon light fades on the Basilica di San Marco.

I did get to hear the live outside restaurant band play that stereotype tune, "Volare."

Kids of all ages enjoyed feeding the pigeons.

Or posing with them in the foreground and the Basilica in the background.

Sunset light reflecting off part of the Basilica.

A gondola parking lot on the Grand Canal just off San Marco Piazza. They were bobbing on the the waves while tethered and they looked a little bit like pigeons, too.

Peeking in this church as I walked by, I caught a glimpse of this group rehearsing for a Vivaldi concert in a few nights hence.

The last golden glow of sunset on the Grand Canal.

Hours later, as the moon rose, I dragged myself out of the house again for a night image from atop the Ponte dell' Accademia.  I used the railing as my tripod with a shutter speed of 1/20 second and I still picked up some vibration and blurring from the pedestrian footfalls across the bridge. Maybe I'll have better luck tomorrow night.

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