Final Day in Venice
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On Wednesday night, we had our farewell dinner with our tour group, and our guides brought us to a lovely restaurant. My tour mate, Don, had a great scallop dish, and I had grilled mackeral -- both were really delicious. We toasted each other, and thanked each other for a great time.
I really did luck out with this tour group. There were only five of us in the tour group -- five! (It was practically a private tour.) And we had two tour guides, Nacho and Antonella, a local Italian who was in training. Both were unfailingly gracious hosts during our stay in Italy.
The most fun part of the evening was the after dinner search for this place which served great grappa. Grappa, as I've mentioned, is an Italian after-dinner drink that is made from fermented grapeskins. It's colourless, strong, and...I think I've gotten a taste for it! We didn't end up finding the place, but found another tavern instead, and exchanged funny stories and toasted each other again. I'll miss both the tour guides and our tour group. I wish them all well.
On Thursday, my final day in Venice, I did more souvenir shopping, then visited the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. That visit was worthwhile. I especially enjoyed the sculpture garden. Modern art has a very different, cleansing effect, and I can really understand why modern artists broke with figurative realism. They had the weight of the Renaissance behind them, the weight of hundreds of years of cherubs, angels, Madonnas, Michaelangelo's bodies. They had to do something different!
I especially liked the sculptures by Giancometti, of tiny figures in a plaza, and Henry Moore, of a woman standing. And I was astonished and delighted to find three of Cornell's shadow boxes arranged above a fireplace in the Guggenheim. I've never seen a Cornell box up close. One of them had a grey parrot, with collages of a fortune-teller. Another box, called Fairytale, contained a linotype (?) of a Paris palace, along with tiny mirrors and silvered twigs. The third was a box filled with glass medicine bottles that were, in turn, filled with curios.
Cornell and Yayoi Kusama were "platonic" lovers for years, and upon Cornell's death, Yayoi Kusama used some of the collage material that Cornell to make her own collages in honour of him. I saw Kusama's collages at the Tate Modern, four weeks ago, at the start of this trip. In this sense, I feel as if my exploration of European art is complete. I've come around a big circle to start again at the beginning.
Having said all of that, I'm excited to come home to Vancouver! I miss my parents and home. I feel a renewed determination to get back to my life, work hard, and really enjoy it. The world is indeed a beautiful place.
I'll be flying out of Venice to London. I'll spend a night in London before flying back to Vancouver. A bientot, Europe!