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Published: October 17th 2004
We arrived in Venice on Septmeber 10, in the middle of the film festival. Not having booked our accomodations in advance, we spent an hour at the train station, along with hundreds of other people, trying to book one of the few budget rooms left in the city. We finally found a room in a Christian hostel and were allowed to share a double with bunkbeds beacuse we are married. The first night we met up with Sarah, an old friend of Tracey's, in Sant Margarita Square (the student area) and shared stories and wine on tap until we had to return to the hostel for the 11:00 cerfew.
Sarah and her husband Giamba live in Venice, make paper mache masks and play together in two bands (pretty nice lifestyle). The second night we were there, one of their bands, Barbatrick, was playing for a wedding on a small, agricultural island in Venice named Sant Erasmo. Sarah generously arranged for us to accompany the band to the gig. We were fed a delicious meal with the band and enjoyed an evening of awesome live music. The band, which includes sax, trumpet, guitar, bass, percussion, drums and lead vocals, plays a
Tracey and Sarah
In Sant Margarita Square
combination of their own music and covers and could be described as funk/rock fusion. They are all very talented musicians, were a very tight unit, and had charisma on stage. We were very impressed and so were the wedding party and guests.
Following the performance, we witnessed an equally entertaining and impressive show: moving the gear back home. Imagine the equipment required for a seven piece band being moved from the restaurant, onto a small farm tractor to the dock, loaded into two small Venetian boats from a narrow dock, and driven across large waterways in the dark and through the canals of Venice, before being unloaded again. The entire process took several hours. We finished the night back in the student square and thankfully did not have a cerfew as we stayed with the sax player, Ducce, for the night.
The next morning, we woke up early and spent the day strolling around the city. We started with the main routes, including Piaza San Marco, and moved toward the smaller, less travelled side routes. Despite the mobs of tourists and tourist targeted shops on the main routes, you truly feel as if you have stepped back in
Laying out the grooves.
history in Venice. Pictures do not do the city justice. After hours of walking, we ate the best pizza slices we have ever tasted and visited Sarah at work. Sarah explained the history and process of making Venetian masks and we watched her decorate. Apparently the carnival, where the masks are traditionally worn, was held in many cities across Italy in the beginning. However, Venecians were unique as they wore their masks year round. Some people speculate this was for privacy purposes. The masks were banned at one point and most of the originals destroyed.
After a truly Venecian experience, we left that evening for Prague. Our first step out of the city, we realized how calming it is without the noise pollution of cars. We thoroughly enjoyed our two days in Venice, thanks to Sarah, Giamba and the band.
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