More Shiny Objects

Trip Start Dec 30, 2005
Trip End Jan 11, 2006

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Flag of Italy  ,
Monday, January 9, 2006

Just as Paris was curiously symmetrical in their planning, Venice has more of a Byzantine influence than one would assume. Trading post, gateway to Europe, rulers of the sea and all that, but lots of tile work and pointy arches. We started today with the ultimate example, St. Mark's Basilica. The different types of marble thrown next to each other almost seemed like a statement, a "booya, we've got sooo much marble, we can do whatever we want with it" instead of a planned aesthetic look. You name it, they could marbleize and tile it, and they most likely did.

On to the Girdi Palace; the Doge's residence. Pales in comparison to Versailles (a good thing), but then I guess that's a function of a) land valued differently on an ant hill of an island and b) they aren't French. Seems like the French were fabulous people and let you damn well know you weren't as fabulous whereas the Italians just seemed fabulous. Loooove the dark hair, olive skin and blue blue eyes. No blue eyes in France. (Notice the pattern of gross generalizations, but still...) Most of the docents seemed to be napping so we sneaked a few photos. I had my first cup of espresso in their cafe right under the Bridge of Sighs (the connecting walkway between the Palace and the prison where the inmates' wails could be heard awaiting execution). Venetians were apparently known for their torture tactics. Doesn't seem surprising... I wasn't planning on starting trouble after seeing the airport rent-a-cops left over from Nazi WWII.

Hopped a vaparetto to Lido (what song seems to have the Lido beach name dropped?). Slightly underwhelming for a world famous beach, but it was the Adriatic nonetheless. Blue everywhere. Did I mention the overabundance of marble these people play with - it was inlaid in the sidewalks. Vaparetto again to Murano Island - known for its glass blowing. Most things were closed by the time we hit the island but still made for fabulous window shopping. An old man still had his small shop open and we packed in another couple of shiny objects to add to our booty. He didn't know a syllable of English but we got with the universal system of grunting and pointing. (I even saw an Italian woman using wild hand motions when she was simply thinking to herself).

Again, the coolest dogs... all offlead and well behaved, probably even more fashionable sweaters than the French and here they understand Italian! Fascinating.
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