Venezia - 2nd June 2015.
Today we take a day off our travels to play tourists.
What’s the difference between travelling and being a tourist, you may well ask.
Sight seeing dominates a tourist’s focus.
As travellers, we want to taste touch, smell, hear, feel and even see life as it unfolds for ordinary folk in foreign circumstances.
For our day out we have chosen Venezia or Venice as we call it.
We are camped on the Italian mainland at Malcontenta. Now I am struggling with the Italian language. ‘Malcontent “ to me means unhappy. Given the Italian’s habits of putting a vowel on the end of a word to increase the meaning for anything ranging from plural or ‘ place of ‘ to female vs male of a species, I am beginning to think that ‘Malcontenta’ may be a place of vast unhappiness for both men and women.
Well we camped there and got eaten by mosquitoes.
But the wine we had bought – the last of our French stock, was good. So the mossies had a big drink of French vin ordinaire. Lets hope that both the male and
female mossies got many a great big Malcontented headache.
From in front of our camp we caught the first ferry of the morning to work through the shipping lanes that feed the port to the island of Venezia.
When we reached St Mark’s Square the celebration was about to start.
Celebration - yes . But are they ready?
We saw the Basicillica of St Mark and the Rialto bridge. But what’s all this scaffolding?
Notice had been given that we were arriving early in June. they were supposed to have all that work finished by the time we arrived. And here they are with the job half done. Welcome to Italy.
Anyhow they wanted to celebrate. We thought that it was for our arrival.
But unfortunately for us, it was a celebration of something they have been doing every ear for 68 years now.
Of course I should have known. 2nd
June 1946 was the beginning of their modern Republic.
So there was a parade and marching music and some smoothly flowing Italian words.
One thing I noticed about their marching music was that it seemed to end
abruptly – as if the band clocked off duty about 8 or 10 bars before the end. Ah, understanding the Italians.
Anyhow they had a fairly predictable parade and ceremony – representatives of all armed forces and veteran servicemen. Then a raising of the flags of Venezia, Italy and the European Union. We stood beside a Venezian lady. When I asked her what it was all about, she gave us a running commentary with pride in her city’s heritage - explaining about the symbol of Venice that we often see – A lion sitting on a book . Venizia has had many wars in its long history. When the book that the lion stands on is open – that represents a time of peace. When the book is closed, that represents a time of war.
When the parade ended, so did the history lesson together with the personal Italian language tutoring
The ceremony finishes and now it ia 10 am – the square is crawling with tourists all following little ‘follow me” flags held by their respective guides. In the way that tour guides entertain tourists everywhere, they put an entertaining, but canned version of the history
or significance of the surroundings , and the tourists go “ ooh” and “ahh” and “ isn’t that interesting” and line up for more like cows with full udders ready for milking.
Well, we wander a bit more through the crooked streets and of course some streets are in fact waterways, and just as crooked. What a crooked tale they can all tell. Perhaps the Venezian streets and alleyways are better publicised than the streets of other towns in this part of Europe - But in reality , take away the canals and you could be in many an old town of Italy or for that matter France. You can not see those little streets and alley ways when you drive the Autostrada. Our experience has at times been to turn off the GPS. Get lost and accidentally end up in a remote village. Get out. Walk. And a little piece of Venice will appear at almost no cost – but it may not have canals and that stale seawater smell – you know - like Redcliffe on a still hot balmy summer afternoon.
As lunch time approaches, the touts outside the restaurants are
beginning to feel hungry too, and up they ante to push a line to persuade the tourists with the fattest looking wallets and handbags to come inside for a bit of tourism clinic.
We get the general vibe . No place to sit down to have our packed lunch.
A sign on the footpath in front of one store directs people to not sit there as it is not a picnic area.
As we work our way back toward the ferry dock, more tourists are arriving by the minute and we are happy to leave them to the enterprising tour business operators of Venizia.
Tot: 2.194s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 10; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0134s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb