Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm Not Normal

Sorry it's taken me so long to get this blog up.  I wrote it on the plane on the way home, but haven't been able to actually post it to the internet until now.  This is not my final post about Italy...I have one more reflective post that I will get to before the weekend, so please check back for that one.  Until then, here's our last weekend in Venice.

Christine and I read in a blog about Venice of a new “People Mover” to transport people from the parking garage and the cruise ships to the island.  Since it was just the 2 of us this weekend, we decided to give it a shot and see what it was all about.  When I think “people mover,” I think of one of those moving conveyor belts at the airport where you just stand and it moves you along.  This Venetian “People Mover” was essentially a monorail over the water, connecting the mainland to the island, and is supposed to be much more efficient than the vaporettos.  It costs €1 for a one way ride, and there are 3 stops; The beginning, at the parking garage, one stop in the middle for the cruise ship passengers, and then the end at Piazza le Roma, where all the train traffic arrives.  Considering the price, ease, and speed of getting from one side to the other, the people mover turned out to be highly convenient.  A one way ride on the vaporetto (water bus) costs €6,50 and it generally takes at least 30 minutes to get from tronchetto (the parking garage area) to your destination.  The only drawback to the people mover was the location of drop-off.  The vaporettos obviously have more access to the areas in Venice, and you can generally find a bus stop somewhere within 3-5 blocks from your destination.  Piazza le Roma was easy for the location of our hotel, but if we had been staying on the other side of the island, we would have had a hike to get to our hotel.

In one humanities class I took we learned about Catholic churches and their belief/custom of relics in the holy places.  Every Catholic church has a relic of some sort, with the belief that preserving and placing a part of the body of a saint in the church keeps the spirit alive and pays homage to the saint.  Saint Francis of Assisi was a relic of sorts, and so was Saint Mark, but both of their bodies were in tombs and completely concealed, which is not normal for the traditional Catholic relic.  Christine and I paid to enter a certain part of Saint Mark’s, and we had no idea what we were about to see.  It was like the world treasury of relics, aka, body parts of holy people.  Don’t believe me?  See for yourself.

Yes.  That is a real hand from a real saint, and next to it is someone else’s shin.  Every single goblet or trophy you see contains some sort of body part.  The guards were standing nearby, so I couldn’t get many pictures, but imagine jewelry window displays in the mall.  Now put 20 times as many items in the window...literally as many as you can fit without them touching each other, and that’s what every single window looked like.  There were at least 9 windows with at least 20 body parts each.  We believe the round objects in this blurry picture are brains, but we couldn’t get close enough to examine because of the barricades.

As I’ve said before, Venice is probably the best place for people watching in the world.  Even better than the airport.  One of our favorite things to do is just sit on our favorite campo with a drink and watch the people and even create our own little stories about what we think their life is like.  My last trip to Venice definitely delivered on the people watching, maybe not so much from a comical stand, but definitely intriguing.  Christine spotted Ernest Hemingway chilling out in a window ledge by the water, and this guy could seriously sign autographs and pose for pictures in Harry’s bar.  Even his demeanor and attitude resemble what I would expect old Ernest to be like.  Really.  Shoes off, shirt unbuttoned, just hanging out with a drink and not a care in the world.
This next group just made me laugh because of the unexpectedness of it.  This group of  7 guys were American military, presumably from Aviano, the base nearby Caneva.  Their appearance just screamed military, and here they are, all 7 of them just chilling out together on the water watching the gondolas go by.  So cute! Sorry guys, not trying to take away your masculinity, it’s just cute in that touching kind of way.

This next guy was the topic of conversation for at least an hour.  Christine and I were both equally intrigued with him, so much so that we wanted to join him at his table and as him what his story was.  We guess, based on his disheveled appearance, that he is extremely artistic, probably in a visual or auditory way, such as film or record production.  He just has that artist look to him, and we also assumed that his outfit, black shirt with black pants and those glasses, is probably his standard outfit 365 days a year.  He might mix it up with a long sleeve shirt in the winter, or a black dress shirt for a wedding or event, but for the most part, he’s comfortable the way he is, and why change it.  We also figured that he was probably quite successful because his wife/girlfriend/lady friend was very well put together.  You could tell her clothes were quality, but she was also respectable looking, like someone who was just genuinely interested in him, and someone who helps to balance out his artsiness a bit.

My last people watching picture of Venice really needs no explanation...the outfit speaks for itself.  Please just note the too short purple shorts, murse, and the saying on this grown man’s t-shirt.  Style at its best.

Our last morning in Venice was absolutely the most perfect day ever.  The weather was beautiful, Sergio stopped by for a morning chat and to walk us to the people mover, and the sky was the most beautiful shade of blue I've ever seen before in my life.  I took some pictures to try to capture the beauty of the everyday sight, and they surprisingly did a good job of capturing the color.  Nothing compares to walking the streets of Venice with Sergio under this amazing blue blanket.

That weekend, my favorite thing about Italy was the sky in Venice.  And Sergio.  And Venice in general.  It's all too good to pick just one thing.

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