My newest favorite place in the world is definitely Venice. We arrived on the train and water bus, eventually finding the convent we are staying at(Istituto San Giuseppe) on the main island, Castello. The Nun who answered the door bell on our arrival, who doesn’t speak English, greeted us with gestures and Italian banter. She insisted on addressing her requests to Colin, who had no idea what she was trying to say. He just kept shrugging his shoulders and pointing to me. In the end I managed to understand that we cannot exit or enter the convent without a Nun removing or giving us our room key, we are to be inside and quiet by 10.30pm and that we were on the 3rd floor of a rabbit warren. We feel like we have gone back to being teenagers. The next morning, Colin was asked to go to the Mother Superiors office to pay the bill. She spent 10 minutes writing it carefully into her ledger book and proudly presented him with a receipt. No computers or English speaking people here so it is as far away from ‘the norm’ as we can get.
It is such a quaint place to stay. We have twin beds in quite a spacious room with our own bathroom. Colin will go insane as there is no TV and when he wakes at 5.30am, he usually goes out for a walk so I can sleep. He has nothing to read or do. Arrrggghhh!!! Mind you… the only TV (in English) he has seen so far is the BBC news, which is repeated every 15 mintues. The awesome thing about the convent is that it is right on the island a block from San Marco. It is definitely a unique experience, not to be missed. All of our accommodation is within walking distance from the main transport system (thanks to COlin’s careful planning and skillful internet usage) and this has really made a difference to our ability to get around easily and see everything.
Venice is a lovely peaceful place, especially after the traffic in Florence and Rome. There are thousands of tourists, but we are not in fear of getting flattened by a car, bus or motorbike, since there are none.
WhyThe gondoler operators charge about 80Euro for a 30min ride ($160.00 Aus) but I am still hoping for the romantic serenade to happen. I may pass out holding my breath for that one!!!
Every ‘street’ or alley I go down is a ‘photo moment’. I have so many photos my camera is about to explode. The shop windows are so quaint and beautifully displayed I can’t stop photographing them. I am in love with Pinnochio and the beautiful face masks and costumes which are EVERYWHERE! The shop windows are a sight to behold, especially the stationary and mask shops. I stood outside the ‘oldest papershop in Italy’ with my bottom lip dropped (it was closed). Each shop window is a work of art. Sometimes the windeows are only about 1 metre wide so they are very quaint. I can feel a shopping frenzy coming upon me. I may have to throw some of Colin’s luggage out to fit the shopping in. What I would love to purchase is BOOKS. The art, costume, pinnochio and photo books are just stunning, but of course much too heavy to lug about.
While we were standing at San Marco square, an old Italian guy persuaded us into going to an island on a boat ‘no obligation’ to see the glass factory. After 20 mins on the boat we started to wonder if we were being abducted and would never see the world again. This was one of those moments my mother always warned me about. I am glad to say, we really DID go to a glass factory and were amazed at the gorgeous artistic work they had created. It was quite unlike what I expected. A lot of it was very ‘funky’ and Picasso like. Most of the work was $2000 Aus upwards so we didn’t fill our suit cases and true to their word, we were not pressed to make a purchase. Otherwise, we would be sleeping under the bridges for the rest of the trip.