Saturday, October 3, 2009

Travel Memories: Venice 2009

The second week of our Italy trip, we took a train from Florence to Venice
We stayed at Istituto San Giuseppe, we made arrangements through MonastaryStays via internet.

We had a short stay in Venice. The day we arrived we came in late in the day, and by the time the water taxi arrived near Saint Mark's, we had to run to the monastery to check in before they closed for the night.

The next day was our only full day in Venice.  We didn't find the breakfast that was to be provided with our stay. This monastery treated us coldly. They weren't concerned that we were on a pilgrimage, and didn't allow us to see their chapel. They hold classes for small children, and it was awkward and uncomfortable navigating our way to our rooms. For the rooms, boys and girls wings were separate. Max was 16 and helped Nicholas with him.
We were treated so well in Assisi, I was disappointed with the cold treatment, and overcharging we received in Venice. In the end, everything balanced out perfectly. 

Venice was strange and mysterious. A Disneyland for adults. And it seemed there was a pressure in the air for romance. Most couple we saw were unhappy and arguing, maybe because it was so easy to get lost in the long tunnel like streets where you cannot use the horizon to help you determine your way. 
There were graffiti arrows pointing the way to Saint Marks, undoubtedly for all the lost tourists.

As expected everything was expensive and overpriced. The vendors were happy to negotiate with you. I found myself in a negotiation for a gondola ride without realizing it. So I played along until I thought the price was too good to miss out. 

We were fortunate to find a grocery store and stocked up on snacks to last the next days. Nuts came in handy in Florence were food finding was difficult. On another botched negotiation, we had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant outdoors in a "lovely lit courtyard." I was desperate for a sit down meal and enjoyed every moment.

For us tourists, spiritually was missing in Venice, evident after Rome and Assisi. Saint Mark's seems to be more of an attraction to raise money than a place of worship. Extra fees added to each area of the church. We were not allowed to bring in bags, so Max agreed to watch our things outside while we toured the magnificent, historical, wonderful church which traders from the world over build so many centuries ago. (no photos allowed).

Early the next morning we were off on the train again to our last stop, Florence.

It was love at first sight for Molly

See how easy it is to get lost?


Our convent was the dot by the V in Venezia

photo credit:  Max

I need to write up other stops in Italy and will link when I do.

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