A Stop in Venice

      I trained up in Ferrara and got off in Venice.  If you look way back in time, you can see my first trip here in July 2011.  That time I saw this tree growing out of a wall.

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    This time I thought I would look for some new sights.  I wandered down the narrow alleys.  I crossed a few bridges and I found this.

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I may need to improve my spontaneous wander skills.

     Honest, we were just walking down the street and I came across it…again.  It doesn’t seem to grow much but there were a lot of years in between these shots.

I decided to check out a new neighborhood but the big streets were flooded so I had to take a boat.

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Wet Street

                        Oh yeah!! Venice!!  That’s the way it is here.  Lots of water, no cars. 

     First stop, Murano.  A small island in the lagoon.  It’s easy to take the waterbus from Venice and arrive and a new group of islands connected by bridges.

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Murano Blvd.

Murano is best known for its glass.  And this hottie.  A real cutie but she looks a little fragile.

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Metropolis in Glass

This place has beautiful and delicate public art.  Where else can you find a garden like this?

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Or this thing.  I think I saw this wig on kid at a punk show in Berkeley.

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Blue Fizzy Blowout

                                    Or maybe it was a bottle of blue Gatorade exploding.

          Next it was time to hop back on the boat and head to Burano, another group of islands.

The buildings are very colorful and they are best known for their lace shops lining the main street.

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This lady had a big wad of thread.  She tied some knots and came up with a lace thing to stick under your Grandmother’s lamp.

The amount of work going into these lace items was amazing.  A true art form.

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I thought about buying some glass in Murano or some lace in Burano but ended up with this instead.

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The Good Stuff

                                        Gelato in a waffle cone.  Life gets no better. 

I took the waterbus back to Venice and bummed a ride in this smaller boat to look around the city.

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                                           Marco gave me a great tour of the waterways.

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                                        He took me by the Venice Casino.

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                     And I waved at this guy who seemed to be waving his fist at me.

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Fist Pumpin Lion

                                                       I don’t know what his problem is.

Marco took me down some side streets.  A quick right here, followed by a left, and down the narrow shortcut.

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Dark Alley

 

And stopping at a little Trattoria.  I felt like a real king…or maybe a Doge sitting on the seat all by myself.

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King of the Canal

 

                                                  Marco even let me handle the oar.

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My gondola trip was over.  Time for some food.  Besides, these people jumped in the boat and I didn’t want to share.

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I’m afraid my trip to Italy is at an end.  I left some sights unseen on purpose so that now I must return.  I have my medal from the Vatican to remember the trip and insure my safe return.

 

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Vatican Medal

 

     Venice has long been a place that I dreamed of someday, maybe someday, visiting.  I never thought it possible to actually go there, it seemed to be a place that only existed in books or TV travel shows.  Now, I not only find it possible to go there, I find it is possible to go there twice.  The people are way too nice for the number of tourists they encounter.  Marco the gondolier was very accommodating for the little yellow plastic guy and let us all pile down to one end of the boat so we could get pictures of him on the seat.  Posing with Bubba was just icing on the cake. 

     All through Italy we met wonderful friendly people.  From Marco in Venice to the Priests at the Vatican, to the guide in Pompeii, everyone was willing to spend a quality moment with Bubba.

              The impossible trips are actually possible.  All you need to do is take the first step.

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Lucca to Rome

     Since Bubba has a bad habit of falling into the sea and washing up elsewhere, we decided it might be best to head inland.  We stopped in the walled city of Lucca.  Inside the walls, the buildings date back centuries and space is at a premium. 

Strolling through Lucca felt like being transported to the time of my Renaissance ancestors.  People like Legoangelo and Legonardo Di Vinyl.  Churches and towers are scattered all over.

Lucca Square

Inside these buildings are some masterful frescoes showing off the art of the age.

St Groucho, St Chico and St Harpo

But, being the being that I am, I wanted to dig deeper into the history of this city.  So I went underground.

UnderChurch

Down below you can see the roots of the buildings.  They didn’t take care of the floor so they just built on top of it.  This piece of floor looks like the place at home where I dropped a pot and cracked the tiles.  Only the tiles here are older, better, and just plain different.

Floor Mosaic

When I’m not going below, I like to go up.  The tower built above us gives a chance to get a good view.  Lots of steps, tiny legs, this may be a trip in itself.

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This tower has been here for centuries so I guess it is safe enough to go up.  I’m sure it is structurally sound.

DIY Tower

That looks up to code to me.  Maybe da Vinci code or the code of throw-more-wood-at-it.

Everything seems to rest on this one beam with a giant nail sticking out of it.  It should be fine as long as … no one makes sudden moves…or kicks the beam…or breathes.

See Cure

Okay, get to the top…nice view… time to leave.

Tower View

 

In a city like this, garden space is at a premium.  You plant where you can.

High Garden

You really have to look up to find a park.  This tower looks like it needs a haircut.Curly Top

More stairs but these look a little safer.

Good Stairs

BAIT AND SWITCH!!

It looks fine until you get to the top.  No turning back now just tippy toe the last few steps.

Shaky End?

Once you do get to the top, it is a view from a forest you will not see elsewhere.

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Lucca View

Tower View

Going down the stairs is faster than going up.  I get one last look of the forest on the tower from one of the narrow streets below.

Narrows

I think I’ll hop back on the train and shoot south.

On Time Trains

Since I have been on the road for a long time and since I am something of a road dog, I think I will go to where all the roads lead.  Even the railroads.

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Pigeons and Venice

Bubba saw some amazing mosaics in Ravenna.  He really liked the idea of putting little squares together to make big things.  Bubba said it reminded him of his childhood.  From Ravenna, he jumped a train for Venice. 

       Venice is a little scary to me.  It is a maze of narrow alleys crisscrossing tiny canals.  That is the scary part.  I can float, but I can’t swim.  I was deathly afraid of falling into a canal and being swept away.

        Actually, in the evening, and away from the big tourist areas, there is a family feel.  Hidden in the warren of narrow walkways are several piazzas; a church surrounded by a few businesses and a restaurant or two.  You can see the opening to one of the piazzas in this photo.  It is at the end of the street and the big clue is the tree.  There are not too many places for trees to grow here.

The trees take advantage of any place they can get a foothold, even a crack in a wall.

The most famous piazza is Saint Mark’s Square.  It is the home to the fabulous cathedral and the home of the Venetian Doges. 

This is where my problems started.  In addition to all those feet to get under, high tide came.  Venice is a low lying island and sea level rise is causing a great problem.  At high tide, this square begins to flood.  The church has a moat built around it but, at times, temporary walkways have to be put in place.  When I saw the water coming up through the drains, I panicked.

I hopped up to the base of a statue but found a new danger.  PIGEONS!!  To them I was a small morsel to provide a light snack.  I was terrified!!

A quick swim back to the hotel to pack and I was outta there. 

As a note, if you are ever in need of a hotel in Venice we highly recommend Hotel Al Duca di Venezia.  Friendly staff, and great location.  But back to Bubba.

        I needed someplace a little drier and without the pigeons.  I hopped a ride on the first wheelie bag I could find and boarded a train to Verona where I met up with Rick and Spider.  They decided to drive for the next few days.