March 03, 2008

Venetian pastries and gothic arches

Last week B and I escaped to Venice for a couple of days....we've never been before and it truly was a wonderful place despite the hazy fog that accompanied our visit! Our room had a balcony overlooking the Grand Canal, and it was amazing to watch the hustle and bustle of everyday life from our window.

In the morning we were woken early by the clanging of the church bell across the canal, calling people to Mass. Below the window, office workers and students made their way to work, wrapped up against the February chill. It was absorbing to watch a busy city going about it's business as we took our time enjoying a leisurely breakfast of ham, cheeses, eggs, and light vanilla-y croissants that tasted so good they didn't even need butter!

The narrow meandering streets were full of wonderful pastry shops 'Pasticcerias' with windows stacked up with tempting goodies..........of course, we had to sample them!

Pistachio seemed to be a big theme

and boy was it GREEN!

It was so easy to get around on foot that we spent all our time wandering the alleyways between the beautiful old buildings around the Grand Canal. As you turned each corner there was another vista, another view,............... all so evocative.

At times the architecture reminded me more of Morocco than Venice, with all the gothic arches!

This building is all overgrown and looked so romantic and eerie

........and, I loved the sheer simplitic beauty of the religious icons that we'd come across unexpectedly on walls and buildings.
Even though the streets are bustling with tourists, life inevitably goes on as normal for the Venetians living in the city.

What I wasn't prepared for though, having only seen the Venice portrayed in films and on travel programmes, was that, obvioulsy, as Venice is built around canals, and there are no roads, everything, and I mean everything, has to be transported by boat, and then hiked around the streets on big trolleys especially designed for getting bulky and heavy loads up and over the constant narrow bridges! We watched smiling as we were passed by DHL delivery boats, ambulance boats, and small boats perilously piled with washing machines, building supplies and wheelbarrows........they even have no entry signs..........who knew!

Among the tourist shops, cafes and rambling streets there were markets with all sorts of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and meats. These Raddichio Treviso caught my eye, weird and wonderful, all red tendrils like some exotic sea creature.

And there was Pizza, of course! In all shapes and sizes.......bellisima!
We couldn't go to Venice and not visit Piazza San Marco..............the Basilica was amazing, but I much preferred the simplicity of the Doge's palace, shrouded in the February mist that hung over the City

and the intricate carvings on the columns, ceturies old, but still alive and bewitching

as were these carvings near to the Bridge of Sighs

I'm definitely looking forward to going back again...


Pixie said...

Lucky you! We spent only a day there while on a cruise and it was just the most amazing place I've ever been to. Still in my heart. I would love to go there again! Fabulous photos too...all the gorgeous food. It's just so incredibly beautiful.

nicisme said...

How lovely to go to Venice! These photos really give a feel for the place - it must be a nightmare if you had to move home there.
Thanks so much for sharing, it's another place on my list to visit!

LyB said...

You are so lucky! I would love to go to Venice, your photos make me want to even more!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Great pictures - really evocative! Especially of the food... ;) I haven't been to Venice in absolutely years - since I was a kid - but your pics make me want to go again...

Lori said...

What a great post, these pics make me miss Venice so much! I was there last winter and had a great time!