Thursday, 13 August 2015

Venice 2015

To see a complete set of pictures click here - Para ver el set completo de fotos pincha aqui
Venice - cloudy and cool

Venice in August? This is something that most people would resist. A week before we were due to fly to Venice, one of my fauvorite places on this planet,  a friend from Madrid came by and informed us that he had had to cut short his visit to the same location because of the heat. So when we approached the place we had misgivings and only summer clothes in readyness to tackle the temperatures.

We need not have worried..a cold front saw to it that it rained and thundered every night and we had cool and sunny days to enjoy Venice and the main attraction - The Venice Biennale, the world's leading art event which occurs every two years. Lucky we had a sweater each which was put to good use.
We also put our legs to good use, walking as much as 20 kms on a day! In total we logged about 60 Kms during the week. The reason being that the Vaporettos which ply the bigger canals have raised their fares to such an extent that most tourists steer clear of them. The locals presumably have different fares because otherwise no one would use the boats at 8 Euro a ride! Either that or everyone was without a valid ticket!
Full moon and an 'Escher' staircase
We had accompanying us a seasoned Venice guide who had lived in Venice in the past. So we did not have to worry about maps or guide books as Massimiliano knew everything about the place. How to get to anywhere, where to eat and the best and the most reasonable priced restaurants, the hotel..everything. We just took off every morning and followed Max.
However even with Max's guidance and knowledge we had to be on the lookout for ripoffs and pitfalls. In one cafe bar our coffee was quite reasonably priced, but when we tried to sit down at a nearby table we were told that the price would double! 'Tua Mama' said Max to the waiter with appropriate hand gestures and we declined the seating option.

The Biennale exhibitions had a bit of everything. From the highlight of the Japanese pavillion installation by Chiharu Shiota to the absurd display at the Peruvian space there was every conceivable kind of art works in all kinds of mediums. The Shiota exhibit consisted of a red string maze which had trapped in them full scale boats and hundreds of keys hung from the strings. The Peruvian exhibit were some grey square panels stacked in rows with some dubious logic relating them to past architectures.

The Biennale

The Giardini country pavillions were stacked with art from all corners of the world, except the Swedish pavilion which was locked and unused due to some mysterious reason. When we passed by there were about 20 'Swedish looking' people sitting outside the locked entrance and deep in discussion. The Arsenale on the other hand had more independent art and pavillions of countries who dont make it into the Giardini. There were also numerous related events at many palaces around Venice, and a detailed study of the location and times was required to properly plan the visits. Even so we managed to get to several locations when they were closed, or found that some were very difficult to find. This could only be blamed on the organisation and the mistakes in the information provided.

A detailed analysis of the art event would be outside the scope of this blog but I can say that it needed all of a week to do it justice and to fully enjoy the different venues.

Soon it was time to leave and it was just in time because towards the end the heat wave hit Venice with a vengeance. On the way to the airport the temperatures soared beyond 40C and we had purchased a return ticket to the airport on the slowest vaporetto known to mankind. It took two hours but after sweating litres and going by every island in the neighbourhood we finally made it to the airconditioned airport. Soon we were back in a more comfortable climate of Northern Spain.
And a good time was had by all!

To see a complete set of pictures click here - Para ver el set completo de fotos pincha aqui

1 comment:

bawa said...

We also went in August for a week some years ago and enjoyed it very much & really had no problems with tourist traps (it was not for the biennale though).
Those vaporetto have really gone up! we were using them all the time. It is true that the Italians said that they never paid, but even at the time we made sure we always had a valid ticket for everyone.
It's such a unique place, one could keep exploring the different districts and always find something new to admire or interest in every corner & street