Thursday, 4 March 2010

Day 122-124-Scrapbooking Venice

18th-20th Feb 2010

Early Venice

On the bus ride in Genoa to the train station for our trip here, Rosanna was trying to give me a condensed history of Venice in 10 minutes. Apparently, it started as a refugee camp of people fleeing from the conquests of the Germans and Huns as early as 400 years after Christ. By the 9th-12th century however, Venice had grown into a city state so powerful, it was one of four Italian thalassocracy i.e.empire with control over sea .

In continuing her little lecture, Rosanna informed me through my comment box when I was in Venice that interestingly, one of the other four Republicca Marinara was none other than Genova,then a bitter and violent enemy of Venice.

For my friends in Genoa, you may be happy to know that of the 4 maritime republics, Genoa was ranked higher than Venice in terms of dominance, being 3rd after Amalfi and Pisa, and Venice taking the last place.

The Doge Palace

When we were in the Doge Palace, we saw a scale model of the foundation of this monument showing that it was supported entirely by beams of wood pile. Isn't it incredible that the palace is still standing after all these years ? Even more amazing is the fact that the whole of Venice was built this way.

Do you know Venice is the single reason why Kars which is situated at the most western part of Slovenia, remains barren even till today? This is because most of the wood pile for Venice was cut there.

"We were so outraged that we decided immediately to pop over to Slovenia for a look." Now wouldn't that have been such a swell answer whenever someone asks "Why are you going to Slovenia?" Yes, we were asked that frequently.

The Basilica
Some things never change though. A thousand years later, Venice still floods frequently. It was raining when we arrived and raining when we left. We walked into the Basilica after dancing through the Piazza de St Marco because FaiZ was asked to leave his haversack in a locker room about 200m away. After the Basilica, we went to the Doge Palace and by the time we came out, the entire St Mark's Square was knee deep in murky lagoon water.

Inside the Doge Palace where we walked across the courtyard to the exit

2 minutes later, outside and snailing along on a planked walkway between the Doge Palace, the Basilica and a row of buildings where the locker room was situated.

By the time FaiZ collected his bag, he was about 3 hours late (the man at the locker room had told him to come back in 1 hour). Some pretty rude words were used to tell poor FaiZ off. So, a word of caution here if you want to be spared his wrath, the locker rooms for the Basilica and the Doge Palace are at 2 different locations. Go collect your bag first before you visit the next monument or bring an umbrella prepared for battle!

Now did I sound like we had a rotten time in Venice? Let's see..

After we had lunch in an un-flooded restaurant that became flooded after lunch, we walked into il Papiro and I bought some of the most beautiful scrap papers I have ever seen. Some of them were on sale for less than half price. I will be using these papers for the frescoes and walls of my mini havelis and palace.

We then sloshed our way back to our hotel, Ca'Angeli. Now, most of the "Ca'" hotels in Venice are palaces. This is our palace:

It really was much nicer than what the picture seemed to suggest. Lovely breakfast and a magnificent view from the dining room. The rooms were cosy and their pillow chocolates, yummer yum-yumst! Best hotel we had in Italy.

After I dried my shoes with the hotel hair dryer, we walked out for dinner at a most charming restaurant.

Not only was the fish platter delicious, they were served on the prettiest plates!

The next day, we decided to set off early so that we could take a slow stroll to the train station and enjoy the alleys and canals of Venice

be it across the little bridges with no name

or the big one called Rialto Bridge.

The Venice I Will Always Remember

Gondolas I wasn't allowed to ride (tourist trap/too expensive/bad weather)

Crazy carnivale I missed by one day (phew!)

My pistachio gelato and cappuccino just before boarding the train

Do I love Venice?



Susanne said...

Dear Sans!
Such beautiful pictures from Venice. Italy is wonderful and very inspiring. For my sommerhollidays,I will go to Pisa, Montecatini Terme and Firenze, I can´t wait!
Love, Susanne

Meli said...

Sans, So lovely the photos and pictures!!! I also love Venice, so much that my last trip to Italy was only to stay there for two weeks!!!
Venice is a dream!!!
You also had the luck of having Rosanna with you!!
Warm regards,

Sans said...

O Susanne, I am so excited for you :):). Those are places I will go the next time I am in Europe, I hope. That and San Geminiano. Too many destinations, not enough time!

Sans said...

I wish, Meli but no, Rosanna did not go to Venice with us.

What happened was that she took the bus with us when we were going to the train station in Genoa to board our next one to Venice. So on the bus, she was telling me a bit about Venice When I was in Venice, on the 1st night when i could not sleep, I read my blog comments and Rosanna wrote again about how Venice & Genoa at one time was always fighting!Her comment made me do a bit of research on Venice's history.

Anyway, we met another traveller from Canada. He's a seasoned one. He too had to admit reluctantly that it is hard not to love Venice.

Pubdoll said...

Poor FaiZ! I hope he loves Venice too, despite being yelled at by that rude man!

But oh, seeing these pictures and fabulous scrapbook papers brings back memories! I have also been on a flooded Piazza de San Marco. When we were there the tide water came in about midnight so we used to go to a bar before it flooded, so we "had to" stay there until it was safe to go home at about two or three a clock in the morning :-)
You asked me in the previous post if I had taken a trip in a gondola. I haven't, but when I was in Venice it was together with my whole class, and my room mate and I got aquainted with a cute looking guy from the local rowing club and he took us both on a trip in his rowing boat, in gondolian style, singing Edith Piaf songs and arranged a nice picnic for us as well! So yes, I absolutely love Venice too :-)

And great reason for going to Slovenia! :-)

Norma said...

Thanks Sans!! Wonderful wonderful photos - I adore Venice, it's like a painting come to life I think. The patina on the building facades is soooo gorgeous.

We took a little gondola ride on the 'shuttle service' that runs from behind the Rialto market to the other side of the canal, cheap as chips and a 'daily life' experience.

If I'm ever lucky enough to return perhaps I can stay at 'your' little hotel...

BTW that paper is fabulous!! How great that you found it.

Lize said...

What a lovely trip you took me on! The music was perfect too! Beautiful, beautiful images and photos, Sans. (You?/FaiZ?)

What a pity about the festival you missed by one day!

Is the Ferrari still in its box? OR Has it been 'destroyed'? I always buy a smaller one (to play with, it is easier to handle), and then the big one for the shelf. When Xander was 2, the neighbour's daughter came over and played with his 1/18 scale Ford truck. He was very upset because she didn't listen when he asked her not to play with it and then she broke the mirror off. Since then, he looks after his cars very well, we started collecting when we knew we were expecting a boy) so he has several.

I don't know why they like crashing/breaking/destroying things. Sometimes I think it is because they don't know how to play with it, they do the same thing with dinosaurs/ Barbie dolls! But then: They are from MARS! I suppose that explains it all!

Sad about the trees, lets all go to Slovenia and start a new forest.

Ara said...

Wonderful photos Sans!!! And a great story - its fun to hear the history of things! Sorry everything was flooded but it looks like Venice was prepared! And I think Gelato has to be some of the most heavenly stuff on earth!! hugs, ara

Gemma (Gempo) said...

Beautiful pictures Susan and lovely coments. I love Venice and all Italy is a beautiful country. Ciao cara

Liberty Biberty said...

WOW!! Venice and the papers are gorgeous as is your little 'palace'!

Sans said...

You know, Meli, in re-reading my comments, I think it is still confusing the bit about why Rosanna was with us on the bus. So to explain it once and for all, dear sweet Rosanna sent us all the way to the train station and waited with us till our train arrived. :)

Sans said...

Ahhh, Helene, you had a "summer romance" in Venice! LOL Yes, I know how a vacation like this could be etched in your memory bank for a long time. Mine was when I was 18 in Port Dickson, Malaysia, just after the A levels exams. LOL

This was FaiZ's 2nd trip to Venice and yes, I believe he thinks Venice is out of this world. Didn't matter that the "f" word was used by the man..haha! We were not with him when he collected the bag as we waited round the corner..there was really too much water to walk some more. I was wearing my running sneakers so they were not water proof (eventually left them in Milan :) reluctantly, mind you since I ran in them for my marathon ).

Anyhoo, you must show me your pics on Venice. I bet you nothing much has changed.

rosanna said...

Poor FaiZ. I apologise for Italian rudeness. I cannot understand why you were told to come later and to leave your backpack behind. It never happened to us.... may be things were changed in the last 5 years.Yes, Venice is absolutely out of this world, a dream come true and floating on waters. And even high water is something to experience to understand why the city is in danger.I'm happy you had your pistacchio gelato at last even though it looks too much green...uhm....No Bronte pistachios in it. A decent reason to come back to Genoa and have a proper one :o))) big hugs Rosanna

Debbie said...

Sans I've been to Venice twice, amazing all the little alleyways.Beautiful buildings. I must have been lucky as it didn't flood while we were there. But smelt quite bad in the late afternoon, after a really hot day..Phew xxx

Sans said...

Norma, would you believe I am still suffering from a little jet lag. This is too funny, I remembered replying to you one day when I was in Slovenia and saying that I was feeling sleepy and I am still feeling sleepy! Since 6pm today :):). O please, of course, it is not you! ;p

FaiZ said there was a certain melancholic air about Venice. At least in the pictures he has taken. You know, the downcast sky, the peeling paint (he doesn't appreciate shabby chic, I am afraid), if you are not 1000 years old, you are young!

I don't find Venice sad at all. I think you are right likening Venice to a painting coming to life.

Venice is proud, strong and elegant, it is a miracle. It has outlived them all even when everyone says no way. There is no more need for Venice to hide her flaws because even at her "worst", Venice is unsurpassed in her beauty as a sea empire. That's why it is so unbelievable, something that has been around for so long and yet remain so beautiful.In that way, time has stood still for Venice. Just like a painting.

When I grow old, I want to be just like Venice :)

Sans said...

Ah yes, speaking of gondolas, I must tell you how I was soooooo looking forward to taking one and you know , do the whole drill with the gondolier singing Santa Lucia etc etc. When I found out that we were going to Venice, I told my friends we HAVE to take a gondola like in the movies. Of course, the idea got shot down in a second by FaiZ who had been to Venice before and knew how expensive a tourist trap it was.

Rosanna shared his views and even advised me not to buy a mini gondola for my dollhouse (she knows me so wellll) ..LOL! It was too funny!

By the time I was in Venice, I was well and truly turned off by gondolas and I even laughed at drenched tourists rocking in shaky gondolas. :)

Speaking of shopping, the gift papers can be bought online. Just click on the link I gave at il Papiro.

Sans said...

Lize, all the pictures after the heading "The Venice I Will Always Remember" were taken by me. Those and the 'dishy' fish The rest or the better ones are FaiZ. Except for the Venice scrap paper. Those were scanned into my laptop. Compliments from the artist herself is high praise indeed :).

Yes, the 1:43 car is still in the box that says :For The Adult Collector. The box is still in the red Ferrari paper bag.

Nathaniel's birthday is in 2 weeks on the 17th. I bought him a vintage black "herbie" (VW beatle) with a 60s flower print all over when I was in Bangkok and he loves it so much, he wanted it on top of his cake.

His mum is not happy that despite me having spent so much money(by our standard) on the Ferrari F60, I will still not be able to make her son happy since he cannot play with it :). I told her how can I leave Italy without buying my car crazy nephew a Ferrari? Who cares if the car was "Made In China".

Right after I bought this car from the airport Ferrari shop, I walked into the duty free and saw that the Ferrari perfume comes with a toy car for free ! LOL

Sans said...

Hey Ara :)! O yes, they were very prepared. Silly me was wondering what the planks were for when I 1st arrived at St Mark's Square and it wasn't flooded.

When I was in the paper shop, I asked the shopgirl how they coped with the floods. She showed me the store room where all the stocks were placed on shelves higher than the last flood level! You can tell where that was by how badly teh walls were stained :). All the furniture in the shop were made of marine wood, same wood used for making boats.

Wuv gelato. Before I left Italy, I had another one in Milan. :)

dale said...

Oh, my dearest Sans, thank you so much for tucking us all in your backpack for your travels. :)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the updates on your leaving post.

Venice, is absolutely beautiful. So sad it's sinking and flooding so much. I think I'd still want to see it with hip boots. ;)

And, how wonderful to have met up with two blog pals, so cool! :)

Thank you for sharing with us. :)

Sans said...

Gemma, you too? :):)So many of you have been to Venice. Is my Venice like yours?

I must really thank blogging because before this, I don't ever bother taking pictures on our vacation. With digital camera and the ability to snap snap snap and then pick the best ones, I now have a record of my travels. Just hope Blogger never closes

Sans said...

Hi Merce, thought you may like the papers :)!

Sans said...

Rosanna, no need for apologies. I have always preferred people who are upfront and "real" :). I find Italians passionate, sincere and open. So it goes both ways. You guys will swear too if you are I know you can't tell, but all 3 of us swear like a bunch of sailors. The incident is very small. FaiZ has already forgotten about it. (He doesn't read my blog)

For security reasons, all backpacks must be kept in a locker before you can enter the Basilica. The locker room is not in the Basilica but at another building. Since the Doge is only next door, we had thought the bag can be left there in the same locker room.

I always remember what you said on the bus about Venice being an impossible dream come true.:). The bit about the flood is exactly how MarG feels. She was very happy but she had water proof Actually, I am always happy with whatever experience I can get. Good & bad. Just as long as I am safe :).

I had 2 pistachio ice creams. None had Bronte nuts. :) Maybe the Singapore gelato has them. I go find out.

Sans said...

Debbie, I got both the flood and the smell but I think the smell of flood is probably more bearable than the smell after a hot day :).

We are having a extremely hot and dry spell here in Singapore. Worst in 140 months.So give me the flood and rain in Venice anyday.

Sans said...

Yea, it was one of my greatest trips :). Dale, we wanted to buy really chic Wellington but know we'll never wear them in Singapore :). They have really gorgeous ones in the small shops. Probably Made In China

Eva said...

Venice....oh Venice...different atmosphere right?
I have been there twice, one in winter (close to Carnival) and another one in summer and it is quite different.
I love the old palazzos (palaces, the masks (I have been collected them for years!!), the roofs, the art, the gondolieri...I have to come back, but this next time with Alex

Sans said...

Carnivale was just over when we arrived. The staff at the hotel told us that just days before, Venice was so crowded that people couldn't walk!

So, Eva, I guess I am glad we missed Carnivale.

I really didn't want to buy any masks because I thought I can always get them back here. But the ones in Venice were so different. The picture of the masks on this post is the shop I bought 2 masks from. The artist was manning the shop and she signed my masks :). I really love them . You must show me your collection some day, Eva.

And on your next trip there with Alex (by the way, you both make such a beautiful couple :), never got to tell you that, I think), remember to show us your pics.

Jean Day said...

Interesting! Great about your papers. We are going to Venice for one day as part of a cruise later this year and we were wondering if we should go early and stay a few days. You have convinced me, it looks so wonderful a shame to just spend one day there. Sorry you couldn't ride on a Gondola. Thanks for sharing your terrific photos.

Sans said...

O yes, you should, Jean! I was there for 2 nights and 2 days but there really weren't enough time to visit the museums. I also wish I have days to just walk the alleys and get a little lost, sit in the cafes, have lunch at Ca Rialto, mostly for the views. There are so many little palaces and villas for stopping and staring. You will not regret it, Jean.

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