Finally finally. The end of my 15 days trip, Venezia was my last stop. Waking up at 4am, took a cab to Prague airport for a flight departing at 6am. Sounded like fun especially for the fact that I looked like a zombie afterwards. But I got the perks of being an early bird, and for the first hour I was in Venice, there were actually space around me and not just layers of people after people.
It was also my lucky day for so many strangers extended their helping hand for a day that I was really distressed. Stranger 1 lifted my luggage up the upper head compartment, a charming married woman.
I was starving by the time I got there, and I had my last cup of cappuccino in Italy and a ham baguette. Everything in Venice was overpriced. And with the big crowd, it wasn’t hard for me to run into familiar faces at all. It’s a small world after all!
Basically, all of Venice looked like that, bridges, big and small, canals, big and small. Sharp buildings (just like in James Bond movies.) It was perhaps the most difficult city I have been to in terms of navigation. I crossed every bridge I saw, took every turn that came to me, and walked down every alley that my feet stumbled upon. In less than 4 turns, I was completely lost. Disorientated, surrounded by water.
Can you believe actually having a boat, to your door and that is the only way of getting home? How could that be? It was like a parallel universe, no cars, just boats. Big and small.
Good thing about this was I got to see the residential part of Venice, (yes, there are actually people living there full time, not just selling hats and masks on the street.) away from tourists and most of the time was just me and my minute shadow, under the almost mid-day sun.
Eventually, I got to some sort of end and with one more step, I will be walking into the sea. My phobia for water suddenly sinked in and it took me 3 seconds to figure out that if I fell, no one would notice and I will just sink to the bottom of the ocean. Or I will float to the end of the world, joining Jack Sparrow, Captain, Jack Sparrow.
That was when I wanted to go back into the crowd and do tourist-y things, getting to the Marco Polo Plaza.The signs were super confusing. Stranger number 2 appeared and asked if I am lost. He did not seem kind enough and I dismissed his “concerns” with a smile and quickened my pace.
I was just passing by alleys after alleys, chapels after chapels, and canals after canals. Everywhere looked exactly the same. Stranger number 3 tapped on my shoulder not long after and spoke to me in Italian holding out 15 euros. Oh my, I must have dropped it somewhere, I thanked the nice old man and carried on walking. That was the only cash I have on me left. It was a preventive measure against more shopping. (Thank god I would still be able to get home as I have already bought return bus ticket ;)) Learning from my mistake in Rome.
And as my shadow disappeared, I was joined by endless tourists instead. The square was indeed rather captivating. It was unlike the Spain or Belgian squares, where all buildings kind of looked the same, here there were different kinds of architecture: corridors, clock tower, church, arches everywhere.
I felt suffocated, perhaps it was the mid-day heat, or the people. When I was away by myself an hour ago, I felt insecure, and then when I was enveloped by people, I felt unease. How contradicting? So where else should I be really?
Ah, perhaps I should be like those seagulls, resting on ancient statues’ heads, as if that’s their territory. Removed from the crowd, but still watching closely. Hey, just one more spot left for me on the far left!
Anyone see what I saw? Those glaring eyes under bold eyebrows, watching the postman. The huge almost wolf-size “pet” resting by, being protective of his master.
Afterwards, I went into the glorious church, but did not take any photos. I was tired from walking 4 hours straight and I sat inside for 30 minutes, just absorbing the atmosphere and catching my breath. Perhaps there really is something about churches that calm people. Is it the flickering candle lights? The elevated dome shaped ceiling, perfectly smooth arches, solemn religious paintings on the wall, subtle sunshine through the miraculous windows or the faint scent of …incense I think?
After that I wandered off to a park with a sparse number of people, and wrote my postcards. One to myself was lost and I completely forgot what it was that I wanted to tell myself. It was quite sad not knowing where my personal message from past self to present self is now 😦
Venice was such an artistic place, and I am not even referring to their famous glasses. I stumbled upon a very special photographic exhibition in a worn out house. In the 2 floors building, Latvian culture was displayed on photographs all over the walls. The photos were so vivid yet impeccably staged in a way that I was convinced these scenes, 100 rooms, actually reflected Latvian homes.
After more walking (or perhaps getting lost is a better word), I saw the familiarly ridiculous moustache of Dali. There was an exhibition on him, The Dali Universe, and since I so regrettably missed out his museum in Barcelona, I went in although it was rather pricey (even for students!). And man, I certainly made the right decision.
That famous melting clock, I finally understood what it symbolises: the ticking of time can be so precise, yet the speed of time really only depends on us. That’s why it’s in a liquid form. Time is not absolute. His sculptures were full of recurring images of snails and eggs and ants. These all demonstrates nature’s greatest paradoxes, soft and hard, strong and weak all in the same object. It was intoxicating to be introduced into his great mind. He was a cocky bastard and I loved him for that, like how many others did.
That statue focused on what he was always interested in, femininity. Women’s true beauty is their mysteries. The drawers, where she store them are left ajar. He thinks these are not to be feared by men, but they should understand. hmmm.
I don’t do drugs, I am drugs. Take me, I am hallucinogenic.
There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.
I was chuckling to myself reading his oh so proud quotes of himself. No wonder people loved him so much, you have to love yourself before people grow to like you.
I have lots to write about Venice because I went alone. People say your travel-mates are the filter between you and the local culture and surroundings. I was able to see more and go by my own pace.
I stopped a lot just to watch people, no matter they were just walking their dogs while getting busy on their phones, or sitting/lying under the sun savoring the beautiful day.
It was a lot of fun to be by yourself to some extent, but I could never do this all the time. It is too tiring to be alert at all times and I hate that I had no one to talk to. Stranger number 4 offered to help me take a photo when I was setting up self-timer. If I had a mate, it would be much easier 🙂
At the end it finally occurred to me I should start finding my way back to the shabby hostel. Since I had absolutely no idea my whereabouts, I resort to a rather non-scientific method. When I walked into the heart of Venice in the morning, I was walking towards the sun… so now I just have to walk towards the sun again because it is setting… and it should be right? Luckily, I was right and after 45 minutes, I was on the bus ride heading back.