Friday, May 21, 2010

Ciao Venezia

Last day in Venice. It feels like we are heading out just in time, as the number of voices speaking English has increased dramatically in the last two weeks. Now it seems as though there are almost more native English speakers than there are native Italian speakers. And that just ain't right. I should be the only one speaking English here. I didn't travel thousands of miles to listen to a bunch of Americans blather about trivial crap; if I wanted that, I would have stayed home.

I've experienced quite a few unexpected pleasures during my stay in Venice. I wanted to come, and was excited about it, but in some ways that was only because I like lists and accomplishments; checking Italy off a "places I've been" list had a certain appeal to a headcase like me. But it turns out I love this place, and I am truly going to miss it when I'm gone. My memories of pushy, smelly Italians will fade, and I will be left with the gorgeous images of life on the Grand Canal. Not a bad way to spend six weeks, for sure.

We have just a little more than twelve hours to go, but we've been saying goodbye to Venice all week.  Today we went to the Ponte degli Scalzi, which is one of the four bridges that span the Grand Canal.  This one is near Ferrovia, the train station. If you ever see this bridge, and look closely, you'll notice that all along the hand rails, there are lots and lots of padlocks. I guess the story is that "lovers" (I hate that word) place the locks on the bridge as a symbol of the strength and longevity of their love. So, of course Christine and I added ours to the mix. I don't know what it says about the metaphor that the locks are periodically snapped off and thrown away, but I'll just ignore that part of it. Here is the result (I was just a supervisor, and Christine did the actual artwork):

One side of our lock. 

The other side of the lock, as it looked after we put it on the bridge.

I don't know if/when I'll be able to write during the next two weeks, as I travel through Napoli, Pompeii, Capri, Roma, Berlin and Paris. I will have internet, and you can be certain I will be checking baseball scores as often as I possibly can, but writing a post might prove to be difficult. I hope you'll understand.

The gondoliers who go by our window sing various songs to their passengers. I love them all, but I have a favorite. And since "ciao" means both "hello" and "goodbye," it is only fitting to leave you, and Venice, with this (I did not take this video):