Venetian Life

Posted in Monthly, Travel at 5:18 am by Pasha

We found ourselves lost, wandering down another crooked alley that ran alongside yet another aqua green canal.

And since we were in Venice, we could not have cared less.

In a city where there are alleyways, canals, ancient buildings, souvenir hawkers, and churches around every corner; visitors here should never feel like they are lost and therefore missing out on seeing the sites.

During our recent trip to Venice, my faithful companion and I did not make it to each of the city’s six sestieres. But we covered a lot of ground, err, make that water in just over 24 hours.

We stayed at a quaint little rat-hole called the Hotel Martee Biasin. It was perfectly situated in the Cannaregio sestiere, only a 5 minute walk from the train station and a meager €58 a night. And since we actually saw neither a rat nor a roach and the receptionist was sweet and considerate, it was a perfect place to rest our aching feet at the end of the long day.

We took in Venice’s quintessential sites. The Piazza San Marco was every bit astonishing as the tour books say it is, with Basilica di San Marco dominating the landscape. The church, which is connected to Palazzo Ducale and featuring a campanile (tower), is breathtaking from the outside (we didn’t go inside since the queues were painstakingly long.)

Complex pointing domes and mosaic patterns adorn the church. The Basilica anchors the square where tourists encourage pigeons to land on their arms and lovers lock lips, unaware of the constant commotion enveloping their embrace.

Even for a writer, the detail is unexplainable. Close your eyes and remember your dream as a little girl or boy of a secret palace, and only there you will picture the beauty of Piazza San Marco.

After a warm morning with tourists, we hopped a Vaporetto (water bus) and saw Venice from a new lens, from the Grand Canal. The buildings floated on water and docks replaced garages. The boat drivers maneuvered the canals effortlessly.

We visited The Rialto Bridge, a tourist destination that I found unusually normal, although many people seem to think it is the most spectacular sight in Venice. To me it was just sort of a neat bridge, having no more appeal than the Golden Gate or Brooklyn Bridge.

The bridge has a massive archway that spans 24 feet and still stands on the same pilings in which it was built on 400 years ago. Sure, it was impressive. But the view from The Rialto was the real allure of the bridge.

Venice’s perfect homes line the canal, scattered among restaurants, ancient Venetian churches, and historic buildings. The Rialto market added to the appeal of what surrounds the bridge, rather than the bridge itself. I picked up five localy grown artichokes for €2.50, what a bargain!

The real sights in Venice aren’t just the buildings and canals, they are the local Venetians at work and play.

Wandering one afternoon through Il Ghetto is a more worthwhile than walking into every old church. In the streets, where resident’s bed sheets and knickers hung from the pulley system laundry lines, was where we caputered the real Venice.

At around 2 pm we watched children wander home from school, carrying backpacks and exchanging an international banter of friendship.

It is a riveting sight, to watch children acting like kids, delighting in the pleasure of a sunny afternoon. Children are the same all over the globe, in New York, London, and even in Venice. It may not be in all the tourist books, but it is certainly a must do.

Or wake up in Venice before 8 am and watch the locals hurry off to work. As they scurry past the local butcher, baker or shop owner they usually stop to spare a moment for a quick Ciao and air-kiss, before turning back to maneuver their way through the early morning tourists.

As a city of tourism, Venice hits the mark. There is no lack of sights to see and areas to explore.

But to really feel Venice, watch the minority, the Venetians who live on the canals. Only then, will you have really been to Venice.


Click on the box to view our London Life pictures

Posted in Monthly at 9:17 am by Pasha


Ahh, to party with members of the London media

Posted in Monthly at 6:23 am by Pasha



Posted in Monthly at 7:20 am by Pasha