Venice with Aussies

Some quick notes before I go on about Venice. One, I’m really very sorry about being so late on a blog post. School and moving has kept me quite busy. Yes, moving, Jeff is relocating to Paris and I’ll be moving to Basel, where school is. It is a 3 hour train ride between the two cities, so my total per-week commute is actually LESS than it currently is. Anyway, to remedy the lacking of blogging, I am going to make my new years resolution to blog at least once every two weeks. Hopefully once a week.

Two, I’ve noticed that the most non-Facebook traffic to this blog is through Google Image search. I also found one of my images (not from this blog) posted on another website while I was doing research for school. I am psyched for the validation of my images, but from now on I’m going to watermark my photos. If you want to use a photo, just email me and I’ll send the original. Large format and all.

Anyway, now to Venice.

After Lignano we went to Venice with Wally and Millerina, the Australians who Jeff knows from grass Worlds in Prague. Venice is an amazing city, it has green canals running though the city which are used as the main means of transportation. Thus, Venice is a completely car-free city. The streets are filled with cobbles and people, small bridges lift you over the canals, and there are plenty of “off the beaten track” alleys to try and find a shortcut through.

For our first meal after the train, all I wanted was 1. no pasta, and 2. no bread rolls. We went to a small restaurant near our hotel and I ordered cuttlefish with polenta, in a black ink sauce. I was brought a plate of black junks covered in black goo, and two squares of yellow. It was actually quite yummy, and cuttlefish just tastes like non-breaded calamari, while the black ink had a sweet, but salty flavor. The look of the plate reminded me of when Heinz tried to sell purple ketchup, I had a hard time putting it in my mouth even though I knew it would taste good. Cuttlefish belong to the same family as squids (no wonder it tasted like calamari) and when Jeff and I scuba dived in Australia, we actually saw two small ones. They look like this:

note the no-watermark. Not My Photo.
After lunch we took a nap, in a bed. A BED. It was awesome.
Then we went into the city with the Aussies. We made our way to San Marco’s Piazza, and in order to get there we had to weave through crowded alleys, abandoned alleys, and go over small bridges, and go over big bridges. Along the way we ran into some of our Currier Island teammates, which was actually kind of awkward. They were friendly of course, but the conversation quickly died after our hellos, despite having known each other for a week. Soon after seeing them we ran into another Aussie called “Silent George.” He was being really quiet, and now a sort of 5th wheel, so I tried to talk to him and be extra friendly to make sure he was involved, and that is when I remembered his nickname of “Silent George,” and realized he wasn’t uncomfortable, he was just being quiet.
We finally made it to the Piazza San Marco, and it basically is a huge open space with a church on one end as well as a large clock with astrological symbols on it. From there we met up with two more Aussies, named Neal and Natalie, and continued our walk as a big herd.
The whole time we just wondered around the city. We stumbled upon two galleries, one was very interesting and had paintings juxtaposing super hero characters with famous or scandalous scenes. This gallery also had a large amusement park like statue of David holding the head of Ronald McDonald. The other gallery was full of strange dinner jackets, some had rats on them, others had toilets. I am honestly not quite sure what the message was, but it was cool none the less.
By the time we finished with both the galleries, we decided we wanted to go on a Gondola ride. During our search for a Gondola driver, we stopped at a grocery store and bought 3 boxes of wine for 1€ each (red, white, and pink, of course).  Our quest for gondolas was rather fruitless, so we basically just walked around Venice in the dark, as a herd of 7 people, shouting “red box!” or “white box!” as we went.
Eventually we did find the gondolas though, only to find out that they could only take 6 people at once. Not wanting to spilt up, we said “so long” and decided to eat dinner instead. At dinner we all shared a nice seafood risotto, drank more wine, and had a really great time, celebrating and recovering from beach worlds. After dinner, we slowly walked back to our hotels, with full tummies and fuzzy heads, looking forward to air-conditioning and non-beach beds.
George, Millerina, Wally, Me, pink box, Jeff, Neal and Natalie.
The next day Jeff and I had to ourselves. We walked around the city the whole day, this time enjoying the sun and having nothing to do. We started by buying cheese, bread, juice, tomatoes and olives and going to a park for breakfast. All this food lasted us 2 days and cost about the price for one of us eating breakfast at the hotel. While we walked we tried to stay off the beaten path, because neither of us enjoy crowds and Jeff likes to be as non-tourist as possible. We somehow found a traffic jam of gondolas, and we sat on this small bridge for about 15 minutes watching gondola after gondola go by. Some of the gondolas had singers on them, so we even got to be serenaded as well.
After that we went to these funny public toilets that cost 1.50€ for me to use, but as citizens you can get a special membership card for.
Because a gondala ride is 100€ for 45 minutes, we decided to take a “traghetti” instead which is basically a really big gondola that cross the larger canals for you. It cost 1.50 € each, and it takes about 5 minutes. This seemed like a pretty good deal to me. While we were exploring we found some awesome speciality shops. My favorite being an art store that had a display of paint pigments in the front window.
Once we began to get tired we wondered back to our hotel via the “subway,” which are boats that continuously travel around the city and stop in various places to pick people up. Once we made it back, we grabbed our bags and ran to the train station so we could catch our train to Pisa.


Some facts about Venice: The city is known as the City of Canals, as well as the City of Masks. It is called the City of Masks because of the Carnival of Venice, a yearly festival full of masked guests, the masks are meant to hide any indication of social class. The festival is very similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It spans 117 small islands and is built atop of a marsh. This is the birthplace of the musician, Antonio Vivaldi. Venice has been a wealthy city throughout history, initially being a center for trade and then being a hotspot for art from the 13th to 17th century. The city is built on wood piles, which after centuries are still intact. Being submerged in water, with low oxygen conditions, the wood actually doesn’t degrade as quickly as it does on land. With the flowing of mineral rich water through the wood, the wood petrifies more quickly, making it more like a stone structure.

Again, all, sorry about not posting since forever. I’ll try to do better from now on. Thanks!

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