(All photos © Sean D Sorrentino, 2012)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Masks and mayhem

Today was Venice for us. The wife insisted that we go to Venice. I’ve been to Venice before and I didn’t really like it. It felt too claustrophobic to me. Too many people jammed into too little space, combined with the buildings way too close. It’s almost impossible to take a decent photo of anything because you can’t get far enough away to fit everything in.

You know, I’m glad she insisted. I had a pretty good time. Maybe I didn’t have the right person with me last time. Of course, I was in the Navy last time and pretty much everyone is the wrong person compared to having your wife with you.

Here’s the obligatory photo of St. Marks Square.

It’s packed as always. What I don’t understand is why everyone is crushed into the one end, leaving the end away from the Doge’s palace almost empty by comparison. You need to get all the way on this end to take a decent photo. I still would have liked to be up a couple of stories so that I could take the shot flat instead of pointing up. Maybe when I’m rich and can afford to spend a week or two in Venice in the off season I will take the time to get the necessary permissions.

Here’s a gondola. No we didn’t ride one.

I enjoyed riding around in the “Vaporetti.” That’s the name for the water buses. Parking was simple, if expensive, at Trochetto. You just search for Trochetto in your GPS, follow the directions, and go to the big building with the enormous blue “P” on the side. It’s 21 Euros per 24 hours of parking, and you have quick access to the Vaporetti. The 12 hour pass on all Venetian public transport is 16 Euros. Get this. It’s 6.5 for a one hour pass, which will get you one way to wherever you need to go, but then you’re stuck. It’s another 6.5 Euros back. Pay the extra and then ride all over the place all day. You get to see all the best stuff, and you get to sit down while you ride. The Grand Canal was pretty cool.

Then The Wife found a mask. Actually she found a whole shop full of masks. Now The Wife  isn’t much into useless stuff. I'm the one who likes useless stuff. She usually wants stuff that is functional. She happily walked past literally hundreds of other mask shops without batting an eye. Then she stopped and looked into a window and started admiring one particular mask. The clerk, who was probably bored, ran out to tell us about his masks. All hand made, certified from Venice, family owned and operated shop, yada, yada, yada. The masks were stunning. I have no idea if they were better or worse quality than any other masks, but I thought that they were fabulous. She finally settled on the mask on the left. Except she wanted it painted like the one on the right. He’s going to ship it to us.

He seems so serious in this photo, but he was a really nice guy. You could tell he was proud of his family's work. If you are in Venice, you’re probably looking at the masks anyway. Stop by and say hi to Olivo at his shop. La Gioia 2, Castello, 5618 – Salida San Lio – 30122 Venice

We decided that we wanted to see some of the places besides Campo San Marco and the Rialto Bridge, so we hopped the Vaporetto again and rode it all the way out to Lido. That’s the beach. It was much quieter than the well traveled path between St. Marks and the Rialto. You could almost see vacationing here. It seemed more like a place to live and less like a tourist attraction. Of course, by that time we were getting tired, so we rode back to St. Marks, changed Vaporetti, and rode back to the Tronchetto parking area, this time by going around rather than going back up the Grand Canal.

I haven’t the slightest idea what this place is, but it was worth a few photos.

All in all it was a good trip. From Lipica, where we are staying one final night, it was 2.5 hours by car to Tronchetto. The tolls were just short of 10 Euros each way, and 21 Euros for the parking. This compares to 25 Euros each way per person via train. Plus you don’t have to mess about with the Trenitalia website trying to get tickets, or muck about in Trieste looking for parking near the train station. The little diesel FIAT Punto seems to get pretty good gas mileage, so I don’t think that gas for the trip set us back much. Surprisingly, driving on the Italian Autostrada was much less of a Mortal Kombat situation than I’ve been led to believe. My only experience in a car in Italy was in a taxi in Naples. The less said about that the better, but I have no desire to ride in an Italian taxi nor go to Naples ever again. Luckily, there were no issues with driving from Lipica to Tronchetto. The speed limit is 130 KPH, and you never get over that. Sometimes a bit slower as people pass the trucks which are limited by law to 90 KPH and must drive in the right lane. There was the occasional person who thought the Autostrada was the Autobahn, but mostly it was like driving on any rural 2 lane US interstate highway.

All in all, a good day.

Update 5-29-12: Olivo came through for us. FedEx just dropped off The Wife's mask.

It's beautiful. The outer part that looks like fabric is actually painted leather. It looks like it was frozen in the wind.

Federal Trade Commission Disclaimer:
These blog entries reflect my personal opinions about the locations The Wife and I visited during our travels. I have not received money, freebies, or any other inducements to provide positive coverage of anyone, anywhere, or anything. In fact, no one on this trip knew or had any reason to know that I am a blogger. I do not work for the Tourist Boards of any country, nor am I employed in the travel industry in any way.

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