30 PICTURE ALBUM
Tuesday, September 30
Paula and Katie: We enjoyed a full day in Venice today.
We walked and walked! By the end of the day we had been through all six quarters
and David counted 57 bridges that we had crossed. This meant that today we
had been on over 1/8 of Venice's 410 bridges - an accomplishment that we were
very proud of. We also had fun getting lost in the little side streets and
narrow passageways-this is one of the best things to do in Venice. We basically
decided which direction we wanted to go in and then looked for any possible
street or alley that would lead us towards that direction. This included many
smelly and dark passageways that we could barely fit through! Our map doesn't
have any streets labeled, and we often found ourselves in totally different
areas from where we expected (we've since seen maps that have street names,
so this would have made things easier but much less fun
). It is a very
strange way to get around, but we have found the lack of cars in the streets
to be a nice change.
It was very interesting to see the different areas of Venice. The Dosoduro
area around where we're staying is very quiet, and filled with many small
and winding passageways. There are many neat shops, cafes and restaurants,
and this was our favorite place to explore. San Polo is also a lot of fun,
and contains Venice's largest fish and produce market. This is also where
the Rialto Bridge is, and so there's also a fairly large concentration of
tourists and tourist shops in the area. Cannaregio is on the other side of
the canal, and is very residential. We really enjoyed seeing Venetian
homes, complete with "alley cats" that roam the narrow streets,
laundry that hangs over the canals (visible in the picture here), and the
tiny shops where people go to buy there food. San Marco is dominated by St.
Mark's Square, and we found this area to be much more crowded with tourists.
There were some nice shops here, and we enjoyed shopping for some of the glass
jewelry that Venice is famous for.
the morning we walked to Venice's largest market (near Rialto Bridge) containing
produce and all kinds of very fresh fish and other seafood. The atmosphere
of this bustling market was incredible-Italian fish sellers singing opera
and calling in loud voices was quite a scene! They sold all sorts of seafood
scallops, live crab, octopus, and much more. The fish was
so fresh that there was hardly any odor in the market and many of the shellfish
were still squirming around. The variety of different types of fish and shellfish
was enormous even for our seasoned New England taste. We saw whole swordfish
being cut and squid and octopus prepared. Steve couldn't stop taking pictures
of all the varieties of fresh fish (check out those beautiful scallops and
that handsome swordfish head). We have seen many markets on our trip so far
but all agreed this was one of the best!
the market, we crossed the Rialto Bridge and wandered around until we came
to St. Mark's Square. The square was crowded with tourists and we stood in
line waiting to enter the beautiful cathedral. We thought St. Mark's Basilica
was impressive inside and out because of its distinctive mosaics which even
covered the floor. St. Mark is buried here. In 828 A.D., his body was stolen
by Venetian merchants from its original resting place in Alexandria, Egypt
to be placed in a crypt here. Legend had it that an angel once appeared to
St. Mark and told him that he'd be buried in Venice, and the merchants believed
they were performing an important duty.
After visiting the cathedral, David and Katie decided to feed some of the
thousands of pigeons in the square. Cracked corn is sold by vendors and the
birds are well feed by the tourists. As soon as the kids poured out their
corn, they were attacked by pigeons from all directions-landing on their hands,
shoulders and even Katie's head!
After some pizza for lunch, we explored other parts of the city on foot before
winding back around to the Gallerie dell'Accademia. This art museum highlights
Venetian art from the 14th to 18th centuries and included works by Bellini,
Giorgione, Tintoretto, Titian and Paolo Veronese. It was fun to use our new
knowledge on Renaissance art from Florence to interpret the works of art by
these famous Venetians.
We enjoyed a nice dinner and again each selected seafood-something we have
been missing. We realized it was our last dinner in Italy but fortunately
have the Provence food to look forward to next.
One final note, it was a special day for Katie's favorite stuffed sheep (Sheepy
Sheepy). It was her fifth birthhday and she received a cute straw hat just
like the ones worn by the gondoliers.
Although our time here in Venice was short, we felt like we had enough time
to see and get a feel for much of the city. David and Katie particularly enjoyed
seeing a place that was so different from anyplace they've been before. Tomorrow
we drive to Nice, France and will begin our 2 ½ week stay in Provence.
Distance Walked: 7.43 miles
David's Download - My Favorite Things in Italy - continued
This is a continuation of my last download on Italian food. My other favorite
things about Italy include the marvelous Tuscan landscape, the ancient Roman
ruins, and the importance of football (soccer).
The landscape of Tuscany is extremely hard to describe. The everlasting
rolling hills, olive groves, vineyards, distant mountains, and walled towns
on the hilltops create an unforgettable memory for all. The wheat fields seem
to extend far past the horizon and the small farmhouses on every hill look
as if they are sitting on the
edge of the world. The multicolored fields divide the dense forests and create
tiny islands in the middle of a sea of wheat. The infinite blue skies and
the long rows of Cyprus trees are truly jaw opening. Hikes through the dry
tilled fields leading down to small ponds that seem like oases in the middle
of a desert, are something we all will never forget. The beautiful landscape
of Tuscany is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my entire
life, and is already enticing me to visit once more.
The Roman ruins are also something that I will always remember about Italy.
I love standing in the middle of ruins and trying to imagine what it was like
2000 years ago. I find it unbelievable how the ancient ruins are still standing
today, and how much their accomplishments have shaped our world. I especially
liked visiting the Coliseum, the agora (market place), and Ostia Antica (ancient
city). In the Coliseum you can see the underground chambers where wild animals
such as lions, tigers, elephants, and giraffes where kept waiting to be slaughtered
by the gladiators. The floor was made of wood and covered with sand. The animals
were let out through trap doors in the floor, so when they were released dust
was thrown into the air and suddenly a beast appeared. The ancient agoras
were entirely made of marble and several parts are almost completely in tact.
My favorite ancient city was Ostia Antica because it was almost completely
preserved. Sediments from a river bed near by completely covered the city.
Mosaics, baths, toilets, temples, apartment buildings, shops and outdoor eating
areas can still be seen and freely explored.
I also liked seeing the aqueducts, the ancient amphitheatres, and the marble
roads. The aqueducts brought fresh water to Rome from the mountains and stretched
for hundreds of miles. In some of the amphitheatres, a coin can be dropped
in the center and can be heard from the highest seat! It is said that if all
the roads built by the Romans were put together, they would circle the world
twice! I love the ancient Roman ruins, and will defiantly visit them again.
The importance of football (soccer) in Italy and all over Europe is another
of my favorite things. To the Italians, life is football. Everyone is so enthusiastic
about football that it seems as if that's all they care about. We tried multiple
times to get a ticket to a football match in Siena, but failed. We were in
Siena the day of a soccer match and watched the small stadium that only fit
2000 people fill up. Everyone was wearing black and white (Senesce colors)
and singing at the top of their lungs. The tickets sell out months before
a match and no one sells tickets by the entrance to the stadium. I think it
would have been great to get to a game, and feel the energy and enthusiasm
of the crowd. That leaves a reason to come back!
Italy is my favorite country that we have visited so far on our trip. I
love Tuscany and Rome and most of all the food! I can't wait to come back