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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Venice

Monday, August 27, 2012

Venice, Italy - 2012

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 27/08/2012 03:38:01
Updated by Joel Dixon at 27/08/2012 04:05:16

Venice was poo-pooed as a terrible and smelly place to visit by a few people I know. I wish I had have paid as little attention to them as I did my dentist when I was in primary school (I have already suffered through four root canal surgeries in my short life). Venice is an incredible place and I have loved it here - I deeply regret allocating less than a day to this beautiful city. Sure, I wasn't in Venice during the "smelly season" - maybe I wouldn't have been as enthused had the whole town smelt like Hulk turds.

The scene as I exit the train station, my goal of finding the Metro station (as I have in every city) seems a little stupid now

As soon as I stepped out of the train station I was completely shocked by the Grand Canal flowing past. I'm not sure what I really expected, as everyone knows that Venice is built on a lagoon, it was still a huge surprise to see it up close. It is such a foreign concept and something that is impossible for other cities to replicate. As my plan to get the Metro to my side of town was no longer applicable I looked into a private taxi boat (50 Euros - quickly discounted that idea) and decided to walk. The walk was actually quite interesting and it was fun going through all the small roads and over the canals bridges (although the stepped bridges do get annoying when carting your luggage around).

When I finally arrived at my hotel my room was upgraded to give me a canal view and I started regretting my decision to stay in Venice for only the one night (while Ducky Poos chastised me for booking a room without checking if they had a bath).

The view from my hotel room balcony - damn, it feels good to be a gangsta

Due to my lack of time I high-tailed it out of there and caught a water bus to the Murano island - to catch some glass working. The water bus was another unique experience - something that probably bores the local but keeps tourists amused. Actually, speaking of locals - there probably is only one or two. Pretty much every person I saw in Venice had their heads buried in their maps, trying to navigate the confusing streets - apparently Venice is one of the few cities that has more tourists than locals. I appreciate the irony in this statement - but Venice would be even better if it wasn't for all the tourists.

A few seconds later he pulled up the line and there was a boot on the other end. I can think of better fishing techniques

I got to see one of the glass master's apprentices (apparently you need to be an apprentice for two years until they even let you remove the glass from the oven) make a few items at the Murano Glass Factory - which was pretty cool - but the most amazing part was going through the gallery. I wasn't allowed to take photos (they don't want to lose their precious glass making secrets) but some of the pieces were breathtaking. My favourites were paintings that were actually created with glass, items that were incredibly expensive as the only guy that knew that particular technique was currently on his deathbed. I'd love to be a glass master - not only would working with glass be fun, I could speak really softly for the first syllable when I tell people I'm an glass master.

Note this is a red-hot ball of molten glass, and not a delicious looking Chupa Chup (as I was informed repeatedly while being physically restrained)

I have witnessed the birth of a Horsey Sorehoof. It was kind of like watching porn, but with more molten glass and less sobbing on my behalf. Well, slightly less sobbing

I didn't have time to go through the glass museum on Murano island - so that's something for when I eventually return to Venice. Fortunately I did have time for a quick gondola ride out to the Grand Canal and back to my hotel. I was initially unsure if I'd give a gondola ride a go, being that I was on my own in Venice and they are quite expensive, but I'm glad I still did it. It was fun going through the "back alleys" of Venice where people can't walk - albeit a little dirty.

I'm the king of the world, on a boat like Leo. If you're on the shore, then you're sure not me, oh.

What is this? A gondola for ants? You'd need to be at least ... three times bigger Ducky Poos

I had an interesting dinner including Venetian-styled squid noodles, jet black but actually quite tasty and some delicious bruchette. I retired to the room a little early as I had some work I needed to complete. What would normally be an annoying holiday interruption wasn't that bad because I was able to sit outside on the balcony watching the canal with my laptop.

My final morning in Venice included a "Secret Itineraries" tour of the Doge's palace before my scheduled flight to Prague. This tour was actually really interesting, going into the history of Venice and the Venice Republic as well as permitting us into Casanova's jail cell when he was imprisoned (and escaped) in the 1700s. Again, immediately after the tour I had to rush to the airport (via water and normal bus) but made it in time for my flight.

In general, Venice is an amazing place although very expensive. This can kind of be understood considering the unique challenges caused by the numerous canals that wind through the city. What I did find a little strange was the large number of dogs that were in Venice. I saw a few strays, but it was mostly the people that had dogs with them, walking them down the street or having them sitting next to them at dinner. I never did see one of the dogs in the water either - and dogs normally love jumping into anything that would make them dirty. This bears further investigation.

This is the 10th in the EuroJoel - 2012 series
City 1 - Lisbon, Portugal - 2012City 2 - Porto, Portugal - 2012City 3 - Madrid and Toledo, Spain - 2012City 4 - Valencia, Spain - 2012City 5 - Barcelona, Spain - 2012City 6 - Naples, Italy - 2012City 7 - Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012City 8 - Florence and Pisa, Italy - 2012City 9 - Milan and Bologna, Italy - 2012City 10 - Venice, Italy - 2012City 11 - Prague, Czech Republic - 2012City 12 - Dresden, Germany - 2012City 13 - Berlin, Germany - 2012City 14 - Legoland, Denmark, 2012City 15 - Edinburgh, Scotland - 2012City 16 - Nice and Monte Carlo, France - 2012City 17 - Lyon, France - 2012City 18 - Dijon, France - 2012City 19 - Provins, France - 2012City 20 - Paris, France - 2012City 21 - Ireland - 2012City 22 - London, England - 2012City 23 - Killarney - Ireland, 2012City 24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - 2012City 25 - Brussels and Bruges, Belgium - 2012City 26 - Warsaw, Poland - 2012City 27 - Krakow, Poland - 2012City 28 - Vienna, Austria - 2012City 29 - Budapest, Hungary - 2012City 30 - Bucharest, Romania - 2012City 31 - Nile Cruise, Egypt - 2012City 32 - Cairo, Egypt - 2012

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