I did wonder if Saturday would be very busy in Venice and it was, but still not uncomfortably so. I don’t like crowds so my tolerance level is set quite low and I didn’t have a problem. That’s Venice for you, it’s so different that every lane, street, canal, piazza is a new experience and us tourists are not trying to fit into one or two hotspots. (Well, except St Mark’s.)
(Everything has to be delivered by water, then handcart – above are boxes of souvenirs from Venice about to be unloaded and sold in the shops)
The water bus/boat was full in the morning when we arrived but there was a lovely woman opening and closing the entrance bar and making space. I, of course, understood nothing of what she said but I did understand the body language… Let me translate: smiling all the time = I’m very friendly and I welcome you to my city, it’s lovely here, have a great time; waving two hands in the direction of the interior of the bus/boat = although I would love to just have you on the bus we must welcome these other people into our space but for you there’s loads of room inside and you might even get a seat if you’re lucky; standing on the dock saying lots of words including one that sounded a bit like the name on the dock = this is… (name on dock) and from here you’ll be able to visit… (list of amazing stuff nearby); I spent most of my time on the boat listening to her.
(Sometimes a bit choppy in the Gondola)
Eventually Denis had to drag me away because we had reached our stop. We were going to Gardini, I think it means garden. You remember our Canadian friend yesterday? Well we decided to also go to the modern art exhibition. It’s a biannual event so I took that as a sign we needed to go… So, the exhibition takes place in a group of buildings in the park. Lots of trees, so great shade.
(Shady trees at the Gardini)
Very different to the rest of Venice (the island bit, I mean) where space seems to be at a premium and we hadn’t seen any trees. It was another hot day and I was feeling the effects, so we were very glad most of the buildings were air-conditioned.
(This is the first exhibit, it’s from Spain. It’s a pile of rubble and represents “making visible what escapes our attention”. Love that!)
My favourite exhibit was of personal notebooks. I spent the last year on my course grappling with how to make a personal notebook. What is it? I’m still not entirely sure myself… but this is what I did to produce mine… Get a blank notebook and stick pictures, drawings, found objects (that’s a great phrase that’s used all the time in modern art, it seems to mean anything you didn’t make yourself) flowers, bugs, anything really. But you should like or love the things you stick in. Then your notebook becomes a representation of you, to yourself. I suppose it’s a conscious representation of all the stuff you like that’s usually unconscious to you. Having your unconscious stuff out there for you to see can be very helpful when you are looking for ideas for producing art or craft. But I think it’s useful for another reason.. and I’m going to start showing people how to use it in that way….. soon.
(A page from one of the personal notebooks, full of tickets. I want to do this!)
After the modern art we took a bus/boat ride all the way to the terminus, it was cool in the breeze and we got to see Venice from the water. I did notice something weird that was different from our first day here…. I’m no longer walking around with my mouth open! I mean, I seem to have stopped noticing how amazing this place is. I have become accustomed to it all. It’s Sunday as I write this and I can still remember the moment we arrived on the island on Friday and I walked across the bus (real bus) park and saw buildings sitting in sea water. It was startling and beautiful and caused my mouth to open wide!
(Lots of cruise ships visit Venice, this one is headed straight for our bus/boat)
Every step we took on the first day was in amazement. The bridges, the gondolas, the flowers hanging from the balconies, the water, the narrow lanes, the colours, the sounds – of lapping water of a beautiful language, the smells – food, coffee, perfume, the sun, the shade, the heat, the breezes, the steps, the taste of the coffee, the food, the queues, the lack of queues, the queue jumping, the waiters dressed impeccably, the ice cream dripping faster than you could eat it, the boat docks at every front door, the water lapping up the side of the buildings, the amazing shade of deep green “stuff” growing on each building at the waterline.
(This is the fire brigade… and these are the firemen… in uniform… lovely)
Do we eventually stop noticing every beautiful thing in our lives? Mairead.