I can hardly believe I am here. Today walking around Venice for the last several hours has me totally lost. Just crossed some famous old bridge over the Grand Canal that has been turned into the worst tourist trap I have been to. Five Hundred years ago I am sure it was awesome; the intricately carved white marble arch that makes the span; the 3 broad grey veined sets of white marble steps that ascend and descend. Now covered in Chinese and Russian’s pushing their way around happily buying cheap made in China and cheaper made in Myanmar trinkets. Fucking snow globes! Does it even snow here? I should look it up but I’ve never heard someone mention it and it seems so ridiculous anyway.
Such Grandeur this city had, now crumbling into nothingness. Its soul sold with the imported plastics. Without a doubt though it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, beyond compare, it was so great.
I sit here and write
Drinking good wine
Watching Russians walk by
Cobblestone streets and bronze caped wells
Venetians drinking beer
And an Indian Merchant selling more shit for a landfill
What happened to the western world? To the whole world? This city had so much magic or our world had so much magic. It all seems gone.
The Venetians live off the ghosts of their former glories. Stand of the shoulders of greatness to look down onto whom to sell plastic and ugly glass too. All of us are nothing more than greedy urchins feeding off of history and in doing so we helped kill the magic. We build rockets to take us to space but there is no more mystery up there. We build grand skyscrapers that reach towards the heavens but they seem ordinary. Nothing as great as this city was lives with us any longer. We even solved the chemical mystery of love. Way to kill that one last magic asshole scientist whoever you are.
Looking at all these churches maybe God gets to be the mystery again.
In the Evening Allison and I went for an long walk together through small streets and over little bridges. She was starving so we tried to find what we believed to be a charming restaurant off the beaten path. As if one exists within that city. Somewhere in the time it took us to consume 3 carafes of fantastic cheap wine and 4 very mediocre dishes of “Traditional Venetian” cuisine our suspicions that we were in a crap restaurant were confirmed. A local family out for the evening (first locals I think we saw) stood next to our table remarking on the menu and commented “Alimentare turistica”… Tourist Food. Sad. And Expensive.
Being a tourist is hard for me. I like to smell and breathe what it is like to be a local, get lost and taste and watch, to be as local as possible which is impossible in Venice. The lesson here is just don’t eat the food in the restaurants. You will spend a fortune for mediocrity (My Italian expectations were set high through a brief visit to Livorno near Florence, La Anchora is the finest meal I have experienced in the world, and I have eaten all over this globe. Truly a marvelous experience. If you wish to find it on the Canal just before the bridge that takes you to the commercial port take a left and walk 1km and on the left you will see a lone light bulb and a small carving of an anchor on the wall. I promise you that if I was not there with my Amazing fiancé’ I would have asked the 100 year old woman cooking to marry me). Do yourself a favor and while in Venice have a picnic. Stop at one of the fantastic little delicatessens and pick up beautiful cheeses, wine, cured meats, and olives.
That’s what Allison and I did our second day in town. We wandered from the Piazzale Roma through town and over small and grand canals in the beautiful sunshine, found a charming little deli and picked up our meal. Cruised through and checked out St. Mark’s square. GOD! What a structure that cathedral, the thing is made of marbles imported from all over the known world. Pinks, purples, greys, dove white, and cream stone work all over the façade and so many tourists you could hardly see it. So we quickly fled the beauty of the square and walked along the seafront towards La Martiri Park where we found not a tourist in sight. Just some young and old local lovers and the one crazy dude a park needs siting enjoying the beautiful day.
My impression of Venice is better today.
Still I feel it is a city living off the ghosts of its past. Still today I was happy to be a tourist. This city is glorious; its past was glorious! A sad truth as stated by Homer is that the son is rarely as great as the father and the children of the builders are sadly that. Yet they were given a tremendous gift.
After lunch, we did what a few locals advised me earlier that day and jumped on the water bus through the Grand Canal without paying. Apparently if you act like you know where you are going then no one bothers you for a ticket. It seems to work as we rode for an hour taking in the splendor of the city and saving 14 Euro. Helped to make up for how much we had spent on our dinner together the night before… Were off now. Into the world!