Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuscan Loop - Venetian Prelude

Enchanting.
In a word, that's Venice.
It's that, and impossibly romantic.
Can anyone think of a more romantic place on earth? Perhaps the universe? I can't. I tried. There are any number of places that certainly compete for the number two spot. But rivals to Venice for the crown? None I can think of. That's Venice.
The other thing I couldn't summon, was any time I had gone for days on end without seing cars, buses, motorbikes, or even bicycles. Venice is heaven for pedestrians. Pretty much what heaven must be, minus the angel wings. And clean too. Even the canals were clean. The water, some shade of pale green. I am tempted to say emerald green, but my inclination to colour-blindness robs me of the confidence to say so. Susan marveled that there were pigeons, but no visible pigeon-poop. Where is the pigeon poop? Yes, it's that clean. That's Venice.
Venice has alleyways that, if you were anywhere else on earth, you wouldn't dare venture into without trepidation. In Venice, when you first encounter such a passage, barely more than a person wide, dim, crooked, sometimes with only a sliver of sky visible overhead, with no one around you, and no visible end in sight, you hesitate. Every urban instinct is an angel perched on your shoulder whispering ¨really?¨. You advance warily, your fight or flight instincts on tippytoes. Then, walking confidently in your direction, not a care in the world, is a woman. Unaccompanied by burly men. Alone and carefree. That's Venice.
You get used to it. Wandering home from the restaurant in Canareggio; headed in the general direction of the Rialto bridge and Piazza San Marco; in the dead of night; no comforting crowds; here and there the occasional knot of fellow humans; not entirely certain where in the rabbit warren of tiny streets you are, exactly; not entirely certain where your hotel is, exactly. But carefree. Relaxed. A pleasant spring late-evening stroll. That's Venice.
Venice is grand. The grand canal is clearly grand.


Piazza San Marco is very, very grand. It's visually grand.

A city filled with glitsy glass and fantastic masks, silken renaissance fabrics and sleek black lacquer gondolas, a harlequin's fantasy. Yet it all works nicely. That's Venice.
Our train is hurtling south, Firenze-bound. Venezia is behind us. Perhaps forever. Too many other places to see, to be. A must see, that's certain, but perhaps just once. Like an impossibly sweet desert. Once may be just right. That's Venice.
We will only be in Florence long enough to pick up our rented car on Borgo Ognissanti. Then it will be time to fire up the GPS and head to Lucca, for the second stage of this wonderful holiday. Our villa awaits our arrival in Cappanorri, our base for the next five days. We will have visited Venice, Cinque Terre, Rappallo and Portofino, Sienna, Greve in Chianti, Montefioralle, Panzano, Pontedera, Volterra, San Gimignano, Florence and more by the time our Italian sojourn winds down.

16 comments:

  1. Looks like a beautiful area. I've been looking forward to the posts!

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  2. Venice is still on my sometime list, but your description may just have moved it up a place or two. Sounds lovely.

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    1. Dave, the good news is you only need 3-4 days, unless you would plan extensive visits to each important museum and monument. The limiting factor is the steep price of accommodations.

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  3. Davd:

    I notice that you are smitten with the ambiance of Venice. Seems like a safe city to explore and walk around during all hours of the day. I also notice that everything seems so . . . Italian.

    I thought that the water levels were rising but the sidewalks are dry. Did you take a Gondola ride ? Not a car in sight, not even a Vespa

    Can't wait to see more photos

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast




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    1. Bob, to be honest I was thinking like you. I had heard that Venice was a sinking dilapidated place. Just goes to show that when you are one of the most celebrated world heritage sites on the planet, things get looked after. Venice was everything I said, and then some.

      By the way, the Tenergy unit was indispensable. Without it, I would have half the GoPro videos, our iPhones and iPad wouldn't have survived the flights and airports, and we even had power to spare to help our kids and their girlfriends out. Best-Bob-Gift-Ever.

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    2. David:

      glad the Tenergy worked out. It's great to know you have power when you need it. You can also charge it in the car, or on your Vespa with a 5v USB out. I think I gave you a 2.1A adapter

      I love you too.

      bob
      Riding the Wet Coast

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  4. Venice is nice. I get it ;-) Love the pic of you both. It doesn't get much more romantic.

    Once we are back online with high speed connection we'll share our pics.

    It was fantastic to meet you and Susan, Lauren, Jonathan and Vicky, Andrew and Anuschka. I hope I didn't get any of the names in a twist...

    It was even more fantastic to have been with you doing the Tuscan loop on two (three) wheels.

    Life is good, isn't it?

    Best from Sonja & Roland

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    1. Sonja, it was a dream come true. I owe the world to you and Roland for making it happen.

      I have said it, and I mean it, our home is open to the two of you anytime, and you are welcome to take my Vespa to show yourselves around.

      Life is good, indeed.

      Oh, and the names are perfect. I"m amazed. How did you do that piece of magic?

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    2. The names... I had a little notebook on me all the time to write down important stuff... my memory isn't that good ;-)

      David, the pleasure was all ours, thank you.

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  5. I am playing catch up on all the posts. Venice looks beautiful. Was it as crowded as it seems?

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    1. Brandy it was crowded. Apparently it gets even more crowded as the season progresses. Maybe it's the weight of the tourists sinking the city.

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  6. Hi,

    I have a question for people in Montreal.

    Is it possible to go from Montreal to Nuns Island by scooter? 50cc

    Thanks

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    1. I don't think it's possible without breaking rules.

      Definitely the A15 method does not allow 50cc scooters. There is a way that is open to pedestrians and bicycles. You take the Victoria Bridge (legal for 50cc scooters), get off on the seaway bicycle path, go west until you reach the ice breaker. There is a bicycle path that goes to Nun's Island over the ice breaker. The only issue is that 50cc scooters can't use bicycle paths.

      So too small for the motor vehicle route, too big for the bicycle route. Though given a choice, if I really needed to get to Nuns' Island on a 50cc scoot, I'd take the ice breaker. The chances of getting caught with serious consequences are probably slight, and there is much less danger.

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  7. Wow, not sure what else to say. Wonderful times in a fantastic place.

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    1. Doug that is 100% correct. We had an amazing time.

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