Here are the last couple of pictures from our trip to Venice. At least, in terms of digital ones. After Rome, I didn’t really feel like taking a lot of pictures, though. It was weird but at an estimated midpoint through the trip, I kind of… stopped taking pictures. I bumped into my friend, Sonny, at the Kent Williams exhibit at Blanc about a week ago. He had been on a trip to London, and at some point, he also stopped taking pictures and just chose to “take it all in,” so to speak.
I don’t think I can stop taking pictures, ever, but it’s nice to stop and smell the roses once in a while.
The light in Venice is marvelous. It’s a treat for people who like color-grading their photos or videos. These pictures were taken on a cloudy day. I added a blue exclusion layer, much like how I made my icons when I made them for LiveJournal.
This iconic sculpture by Marino Marini called “The Angel of the City” looks outward to the water from its place at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. It was first made in 1948 with a detachable penis because of blushing ladies. (!)
My older brother, Luis.
My younger sister, Isabel, aka my Willing
“Is this all, Venice?” she asks. (Kidding, of course.)
My dad got my mom got a new camera for this trip. It’s a Nikon micro 4/3rds.
I also enjoy taking photos of people whose photos are being taken by other people.
On our last day, we ditched our bags at the train station and my sister and I hurriedly went out and sat by the water, because when you are in the midst of beauty, you must never forget to stop and pay attention.
(To get to our accommodations, you have to pass by a small doorway that leads into a bigger alley, which goes into the Jewish ghetto. Outside that doorway, though, is a canal and some sort of fish market, which I only see in the morning.)
I think it’s no secret that we, for some reason, have a strange fondness for feeding pigeons. One sunny day in Venice, we decided to stop by the Rialto (of course) and the Piazza San Marco, also known as the Pigeon Capital of the World. I mean, I would guess.
I loved going around Venice. It has a sort of labyrinthine feel to it, with a lot of narrow streets and ominous passageways that lead up to a beautiful piazza or a bridge to take you to another part of Venice. It’s a little difficult to get around, but you get to see a lot of wonderful things. Like this row of pretty-colored houses, for instance.
It’s quite nice to shop and look around, too. However, you kind of need to scout for the best price. A lot of Italian stores, especially the ones located near tourist attractions, sell the same things for varying prices, so if you spot a great deal, you should go for it.
We took a water bus or vaporetto to save time, and also to see some of the buildings from a view on the water. This, for example, is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, with a great Calder piece (it’s a dog!) visible from the canal. When my parents were last in Venice, people could disembark from water-based vehicles onto this side of Peggy Guggenheim, but I don’t think they do that now, since it leads right into the building, bypassing the ticketing office.
Santa Maria della Salute. We didn’t get to visit this gorgeous place, but I read more about it here.
Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark’s Square, is often called “the Piazza,” and aside from the Rialto bridge, this is where tourists flock to. According to Wikipedia (lol), “it is one of the few great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic.”
The thing I love about Italy is that they take their piazzas (and their pizzas, hehe!) very seriously. I had a hard time leaving Italy because I knew there would be no public spaces and squares—at least no pleasant ones—waiting for me in Manila. I remember filching a shirt from my sister, which was designed by Team Manila, with a slogan emblazoned on the front: We need more parks. Indeed-y, we do.
Like I said, we love feeding pigeons. It reminded me of a strip by a softer world, where a devious plan to feed pigeons some uncooked rice (they expand when wet), for a pigeon explosion. I did not try it out to see if it’s an accurate hypothesis.
St. Mark’s Basilica takes up most of the Piazza. I love this place. It’s a hodge-podge of aesthetic and cultural styles (Byzantine mosaics, holla!), and I LOVE IT. I know some people think it’s atrocious, but I am of the belief that it is wonderful. Because it totally is.
Sassy green pigeon, gnawing on a normal-colored pigeon.
Pigeon bath! We witnessed the assertion of territorial superiority. It was quite fascinating, but mostly it was funny.
P.S. I colored these photos quite a bit. As you can see.
On our first afternoon in Venice, we walked around the Jewish ghetto and the surrounding areas. Cut short by the rain, our exploration ended at a quaint coffee shop (which turned out to be a chain), where I had the most amazing lemon meringue. The rain let up, and instead going back to the hotel, we decided to venture out near the city center. We were met with the most amazing sunset.
Slowly, the sky changed from a brilliant orange into a vivid sort of purple. It wasn’t a bruised-up sky, but a bright, tinted purple. Somehow, as we found ourselves at the edge of Venice, as we chased the sun down. It was thrilling and somewhat romantic. Our sprint was cut short by the water, and the scene unfolded like something I would have liked to read about in a story or to watch in a film.
Taken with my iPhone 4 & Instagram
I know that people often consider Paris as the City of Love and Romance, but I truthfully felt this buzzing, swelling feeling in Venice. Crazy, right? Maybe it’s all the American tourists aboard the gondoliers at every turn, or something in the air (love?). But perhaps it’s sunsets like this, introduced by heavy rains and a rainbow, coloring everything with a wash of warmth. Or witnessing a man’s proposal to a beautiful woman on a random street corner, accompanied by “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on an accordion.
Sometimes, I witness something remarkably, undeniably magical, and I wonder how these things fall into place. I wonder about the possibility and the likelihood that I be a piece of these puzzles, and I think about how lucky I am to have been a part of this one little pocket of magic—in Venice, no less!—that afternoon.
Here be the last of Florence pictures; that is, aside from the Radiohead show at Parco delle Cascine that we were able to catch. That was an experience in itself—both good and bad—but I won’t get ahead of myself.
The thing about Florence is that it knows that it attracts tourists like moths to a flame. It also knows that it is a very, very small city, with only a handful of major attractions. Like I mentioned earlier, Florence is usually a “day trip” type of city, where people take the train there for the day (or the night?), with the bigger cities as their main stations. As a tourist, you want to maximize your short stay by hitting the “major leagues” of Florentine attractions. Understandably, of course.
But therein lies the problem, because everyone else wants to do that, too. Which explains why we did not get to see the actual David. The line to buy tickets and go inside the Galleria dell’Accademia barely moved. We waited for about two hours before giving up. (It was our last full day and we were not able to explore the city so much yet.)
We waited for an hour and a half to get inside the Uffizi Gallery (aka, the Botticelli motherlode), and we were not allowed to take photographs. They offer “reservations” for tickets that come with a price tag. Sadly, in euros, everything is more expensive.
Even eating out is more expensive. At a café, it’s the norm to be charged 4 euros for a cup of coffee if you opt to sit a table, as opposed to the 1.50 euros it usually costs if you drink it at the bar, standing up. Everyone knows that it’s better to explore on foot, which makes most tourists tired. Which makes them want to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee in the company of their friends. Which means that you have to pay more than double for the coffee. Che peccato!
But anyway, enough of that. Florence is still lovely, and that is how I would like to remember it. I guess that was just sort of a warning for anybody who plans to go there.
On this journey, I have acquired a newfound love for sculptures and installation art. Though I have no idea if I will try to venture out into this medium, I can at least glean some insight and inspiration from them.
Like I said, Florence is beautiful. I really love looking around and seeing small stone (?) sculptures and engravings mingled with contemporary brands and stores, as well as artisanal shops. Though I don’t have pictures of the markets, Florence had the best ones I’ve been to in Italy.
Dead bird a little outside a minor piazza.
Good-bye, Florence. I hope I get to see you again someday, on even slightly better terms. I really wanted to love you, but some stuff got in the way.
My sister is nuts.
From our second European morning, she had been bugging me to go jogging with her. She had coerced my dad to go jogging with her one morning in Paris, and another morning in Rome, where they did a Rocky in St. Peter’s Square, aka the Pope’s front yard. I, for one, value the little time I get to be sedentary.
Waking up at the crack of dawn to jog is absolutely nuts to me because a) we already spend the whole day walking around until our toes are numb from the tired and also, shoe friction, and well, b) that is the only reason.
Of course, when I had spent the previous day admiring the Florentine sunset, I figured I might as well see a Florentine sunrise for myself.
We crossed the Ponte Vecchio to the other side of the river. The sun was still low, by this point. We intended to follow the river, up to a certain bridge (I forget which one), but we had been jogging for quite a while before we decided to head back, since the bridge was farther than we anticipated.
Thank you to all my supporters and everyone who believed that I could rouse myself from sleep before seven in the morning, on a European vacation. Which is to say, nobody. Because nobody thought I would actually do this. So, thanks to no one for believing in me.
Just for the record, again, Florence is beautiful. I’m so glad I got to see it at all times of the day. It really stirs up something in you that inspires you to create something beautiful, just because you’re present in some place beautiful. While I was here, my hand rushed to finish scenes of a young adult novel I had been meaning to write for years. I think I actually have a plot line now.
I wish it weren’t such a tourist trap, because I honestly loved this city a lot.
All photographs were taken with a Lomography LC-A+ loaded with Kodak Ektar 100, aka my new love.