Sunday, October 4, 2009

weekend in venice - by b

we (KBD) just got back from venice where we met my parents who are traveling in europe. we planned the trip some time ago before we know that arel would have a school trip to Vall de Nuria in the spanish pyranees) so he couldn't join us. i think he would have really liked venice. i saw a few small groups of kids in boats there... and i imagined him as one of them.

i had a good, relaxed time in venice--- it reminded me in a few ways of our time in esouria in morocco last year. very very mellow, slow. elegant, yet a bit shabby --- my favorite sort of place.

day 1.
my dad has talked about glassblowing for as long as i can remember... and has always wanted to check out the glass blowers on the island of murano, just off venice. we headed out there. it is very touristy... but was oddly quiet when we got there---especially once we got off the boat and a few meters from the dock. an official-sounding guy stood on the quay as we got off the boat telling us the murano glass factory was the first right. of course there is no one murano glass factory... but several.. and his job was to make it sound like there was but one. the one he works for. no murano but murano! we found a factory that gave a demonstration of glass blowing and sculpting..... i love the rich orange color of molten glass..

my parents bought kristin a couple beautiful necklaces of murano glass. so it is definaely possible to find interesting work there. but for the most part and for my taste most of the glass i saw was runofthemill and not interesting. i did like this gate to a factory that did not seem to have a tour.

and this piece in a shop did make me laugh (not scream)

the stop just next to murano on the vaporetto (water bus) is the cemetery. it is on Isola di San Michele, a former prison island surrounded by walls. igor stravinsky, josef brodsky and ezra pound are buried there. i did not see one, but i imagine the special funeral gondolas are an amazing sight. here is my dad there.

kristin had the nice idea for dorian to water some plants at the cemetery with one of the watering cans for this purpose

we rode back and got off for some lunch in a restaurant in a large garden. i liked this ad nearby. so i got inside.

for lunch i stumbled into two local treats... one was sardines in saor. the other was a spritz made with Apero (you can get one with Campari.. but I prefer the sweeter Apero). During our time there we got an email from Ariege with tips for Venice. she asked us to drink an Spritz for her.....

we ended up in st. marks plaza which really is quite incredible. here is a requisite pigeon

four horses atop the basilica in st. marks plaza. local legend has it that the horses had eyes of rubies that were stolen. and on very very dark nights you can hear the horses whinying as they chomp at their bits and wish to search the plaza for their eyes

not your classic venice photo.. but i loved the way the water lapped on the steps.. and made the algae move. it reminded me of my general laziness and contentment there.

a more classic pic

day 2
my mom really wanted to go check out what is apparently the oldest jewish ghetto. it was a few blocks from our apartment in the cannaregio district. according to a guidebook i bought, the word comes from getti which were cannon foundries. the ghetto has a pleasant plaza with synagogues, a museum, an old-age home which doubles as a guest house serving kosher food.

we then made our way to the peggy gugenheim collection that no less than five people had recommended we visit. it is on the grand canal in the home of gugenheim. it was the perfect size for a museum... one floor... and a very very pleasant place to hang out.

here is a neon sign in the courtyard. at the peggy gugenheim.. "changing place, changing time, changing thoughts, changing future" apt.

one of MANY spritzes drunk for ariege. ariege, john, stella and hugo went to venice after we hung out together in barcelona and costa brava a few months ago.

a pollock in the peggy gugenheim. the blue is the grand canal through reflected through the windows

a man! on horse outside... overlooking the grand canal

my dad talking to some dude in the courtyard. i saw a book later in venice called "art addict" about guggenheim... on the cover she is sitting in this great chair.

a different angle reveals more neon. in english: "If The Form Vanishes Its Root Is Eternal".


the gate to gugenheim collection

i broke off from everybody who went back to the apartment. i just walked around. i went back to st. marks. and found a little bar nearby. the barman was making this artwork. i joked with him that it was for the bienale which was on it's last weeks in venice.. it is perhaps the most prestigious (if you're into that sort of thing---prestige, that is) art event in the world. he seemed to like that. and he offered me the venetian price on my drink (not the tourist price) ( a 50 eurocent savings)

i liked this shop's hours. honest.

a GIANT rosary on a church

day 2 was friday night and the first night of the holiday of sukkot---so my parents went to synagogue. dorian, kristin and i went for a drink. and then we cooked a tasty meal of pasta at the apartment. i bought a good bottle of proseco to go along with it. the five of us ate and drank. it was good.

day 3
we started day 3 with a gondola ride. and it turned out to be a great idea. dorian wanted to do it. a gondola can get you off the larger canals and into some really peaceful spots. we were able to see families getting going in the morning... get some peeks into little private courtyards.

we went for the gondola ride at high tide. the gondolier asked a colleague how this little canal would be before turning into it. he carefuly distributed us and moved us around a few times as he tilted and turned his way under a very tight bridge. the gondola belonged to his grandfather. he was very close

the gondola was relaxing and fun

ok.. i'm getting tired ... here are some miscellaneious pix

advertising overtakes the bridge of sighs. sigh.

my parents on a vaporetto, #52

i went for a couple of early morning runs. there is a lot of water. but there is place to run too.

dorian and i walked to the "end" of venice which was only a few blocks (two bridges) from the apartment. the light was different.

a quick game of bananagrams. i got the hang of it.

dorian jumping in the apartment
dorian jumping down the stairs in the apartment

the kurdistan pavillion of the bienalle... i live on this planet sometimes