Venice is like a wild swan: beautiful, unpredictable, the most lovely thing in the world.
The only problem is a major DUH that didnt occur to me when I decided to leave my computer at home. I have no way to edit camera RAW images on a public PC, so I have no images to upload.
Yesterday I wandered in the rain for about 8 hours. It poured, and I borrowed an umbrella from my pensione and took my 5D, my TLR 120 film camera, and a pinhole body cap (Thanks, Michael!) and shot here and there and everywhere. I froze. Not Paris in March froze, but it was cold.San Marco Square was a bit disappointing, as so much of it is covered in scaffolding, but the basilica is still entrancing. Mark Twain said it looks like a large unknown insect going for a walk, and he is not far wrong. With the Byzantine domed roofs and the spires, it hardly looks at all like a European cathedral to me. However, it is still a hushed, sacred place, and the anti-camera police are out in force. Notre Dame said no cameras, but the French look the other way. Italians take their Catholic places much more seriously and you damn well better not try anything here. I followed the coastline for a long time, walking along the larger canals, trying my darndest to get lost in the back passages and nearly succeeding, both before and after San Marco Square. I eventually had to feed my growling belly, so I darted into a trattoria that I had to duck under the balustrade of a bridge to get to and dined on the most delectable Gnocchi al Ragu I have ever tasted. Coupled with red wine at 1 euro per glass, I was blissfully sated before I made my way back to San Marco to take long exposures and soak in the shiny pavement that shimmered with Christmas lights from Prada and Gucci like the reflected glory of the angels.
I returned to my pensione for a very hot shower to thaw before bed and woke up to radiant sunshine today. My room includes breakfast every day, which I was doubtful about, since I am not a cereal fan and rarely eat breakfast anyway. But the food here is fantastic, and they offer scrambled eggs, Andouille sausage, sweet croissants, prosciutto, 3 kinds of cheese, coconut yogurt (which is amazing) and more. I've found I can get by on breakfast and dinner if I eat dinner a little early and breakfast a little late and save myself a few bucks a day that way. Today I again wandered in the byways of the city, snapping photos of gondoliers in red ribboned straw boater hats and striped shirts, like a Monet come to life, and I ended up at the Rialto bridge just at sunset. They say if you kiss your lover as you cross under the Rialto bridge you will be happy together forever. There were many gondola passengers trying to make that come true tonight, and I sat and watched them while I took pictures. On my way to the bridge I stopped at a boat that was a floating produce stand and bought a bag of cherry tomatoes, and I leaned against the bright pink plaster of a sinking gothic building to savor them as I watched these embodiments of optimism pole their way past me.
I am still looking for a way to edit the RAWs so I can post some images. Tomorrow I'll shoot a couple of jpegs for that purpose. In all, Venice is a dream so real I can taste it, even now, even here. It is almost too good to be true, too beautiful to touch. As I ate my extra chocolate gelato today and watched the pigeons dance to the song of the canal waves, I sighed deep sighs of utter happiness, and I soaked up the luck, the beauty, and the GOODNESS of my life.
I am truly the luckiest girl in the world tonight. Without qualification.