Posts Tagged ‘Venice’

Just For You

2010年 9月 7日

Linda's BoutiqueToday is just some friendly silliness. While I was in Venice I spotted a couple shops with names of people I know. Here are the photos I snapped. One is “Boutique Donna: Linda” for my sister. The other is “Trattoria/Pizzeria – da Roberto” for my friend, who I never met when we both lived in Seattle, but was drawn together with in Ichishi-cho, of all places.

da RobertoThe boutique seemed good, but we were rushing by on a mission so I just snapped a quick shot. It was on a winding alley a little off the normal tourist areas. The restaurant tempted me several times as we passed it on different days with empty stomachs. We never sat down and ate there, but maybe on another trip.

Gondolas and Rickshaws

2010年 8月 18日

Gondola 1When people hear ‘Venice’, they often think, ‘gondola’. Considering them the normal transportation for Venice is a bit of a misconception. Normally people travel around by water taxi, water bus, or boat; similarly, to how people in most cities would use taxis, buses, or cars/trucks. Gondolas are really a traditional item left over as a tourist draw. In this sense, I consider them similar to rickshaws, called jinrikisha (人力車), in Japan; which are normally seen around certain temples in Kyoto or Nara. Likewise, both of these modes of transportation carry high costs.

Twenty years ago I took an overnight trip to Venice while working in Sicily. At that time, I heard the price and flatly refused to ride in one. As a matter of fact, I would say you wouldn’t catch me dead in one… unless I was on a honeymoon. Us In GondolaHere we are being escorted around by Eros, recommended by Leslie of Genninger Studio. He gave us a 45 minute tour that kept to relatively small and unoccupied canals, but gave us a taste of tour by swinging past Maria Callas’ opera house and Mozart’s lodgings.

Gondola 2Gondoliers are a select group and are highly skilled. They maneuver narrow canals, sometimes barely wider than two boats. I have never seen their boats touch each other nor any walls or bridges. Their feet, however, will touch all manner of pylons, ledges, or even walls. I have seen some step completely off their boat in motion, leaving one momentarily wondering if they are setting the passengers adrift.

Water taxi drivers are also similarly skilled and given time in September, I may upload some shots ducking under bridges.

I’ll take a moment here to talk about the fact that Venice is sinking. When I was a schoolboy, we often heard tales about how Venice would soon be gone as buildings submerged and collapsed. Growing up knowing the history of Underground Seattle, it was not hard to fathom such a thing; however, the exaggeration was apparently the fault of one vocal person and a lot of wild imaginations.

Reportedly the nominal rate of sinking is 1 millimeter per year, which is one centimeter every decade, or ten centimeters in a century. Perhaps we will be able to visit Venice again in the future. My same school teachers insisted that the seas would rise horribly due to global warming but, decades later, the beaches and tides don’t really seem so different.

It is true that during high tidal seasons, various buildings and squares have ‘issues’.

Doling Them Out

2010年 8月 17日

Far to busy to sort photos from this trip and edit them, so I will dole them out one at a time for now. We arrived in Venice about 10pm and had debated spending the first night at the airport and staying in the Hotel Danieli only the second and third night. Being a five star hotel, the cost is quite high and we felt it might be wasted to arrive at midnight; however, the hassle of moving locations and packing and unpacking won out. We took a water taxi straight to the canal entrance to the lobby and managed to get situated around 11pm. Very lax security in Italy helped speed things along. For a few minutes we were really sheepish and certain that we had gone out a wrong exit or something.

Double Lagoon ViewThe lobby is in a 14th Century palace and was actually a courtyard garden. Entering through that historic grandeur definitely felt nice. Three palaces are connected together to make the hotel, our room was in a modern (19th or 20th Century) wing.

Our room was a double lagoon view. We had seen a photo of a different room we wanted, but found it was a junior suite. Gleefully, the desk clerk offered us that room and indicated the increased cost of just over 300 Euros. Staring into my wife’s beautiful brown eyes, I pondered anteing up until the travel exhaustion gave way to a deeper consciousness; which screamed out, “Didn’t you hear? That’s 300 Euros more, PER NIGHT!” Giving a friendly chuckle I said that was outside of our budget and we’d spend the money on food.

From the photo, the ample size of the bed chamber is fairly clear. Two of the floor to ceiling windows open onto balconies overlooking the broad walkway by the lagoon near Piazza San Marco. Apparently some guests complain about the noise: late at night the adjacent Piazza San Marcos leaks revelers onto the walkway under the windows; and early morning brings cargo traffic, cruise ship horns and tour groups. With the solid wooden shutters latched and ear plugs in, we were blissfully unaware. Off our entry hall were a marble bathroom and a dressing room, as well.

For us this was definitely a luxury expenditure, but on a non-honeymoon trip it might be nice to stay in one of the cheaper rooms there.

Being Italy, there were a few slips in service, but being the top hotel in Venice, we had a superb concierge staff who managed many things for us and potentially saved us a few hundred Euros on our Tuscan lodging. Yes, I tipped them handsomely.

Another Shot

2010年 8月 15日

No apologies this time. I left for our honeymoon in Venice, the Tuscan countryside, and Florence on the eighth and just got back this afternoon. Although I took my NetBook along, a reasonable opportunity to upload photos did not present itself.

Water TaxiWe spent a little time in four countries today (Italy, Holland, Korea, and Japan) so we are a little tired out; however, before I hit the hay, I thought I would upload one photo for you. This shot was taken the first night. We arrived at the Venice airport about 10pm, grabbed our bags, and hopped a water taxi to the hotel. My wife doesn’t like me taking photos and usually doesn’t smile for them, but I have convinced her that those look as good; so, I snapped several shots while asking her questions like, “Where are you?”, “Oh, where are you staying?”, “Are you excited?” I thought this one showed her level well.

Something about water taxis really sets them apart from normal taxis. It was really fun sliding up to the lobby of a 15th century palace turned hotel and stepping off the boat into luxury. The sheer convenience of the taxi made it worth the price. Had we taken the water bus at night we would have arrived confused, tired and very late.