To really write about my experience in Venice, I would never put down my pen. This city is so amazingly busy and alive - 'vibrant' is cliche, but it does at least begin to describe it.
The bustle of a city alters so significantly without vehicles - of the wheeled variety, that is. I was never able to picture how the watery streets worked, and now that I can picture it I have no words to describe it. I had secretly feared that I would be claustrophobic being on islands with all these people, but that hasn't happened at all. It's actually a city built for people like me who are easily confused: there's a big river - FOLLOW IT! Tomorrow I'll tackle some side streets, and we'll see how that goes.
My day's activities can be described in one glorious word: boats. I got a travel pass (unlimited 'bus' boat rides) and just climbed on a boat until it parked somewhere and then hopped onto another one. It was very cold and rainy but I just wrapped myself in another one of my delightful purchases (I can't help it - I'm addicted to scarves and they're everywhere!) and snapped pictures until my fingers were frozen. The tourist sites and the industrial eyesores - I loved them all.
To make the day still more perfect, I went to the opera tonight. It was wonderful and in a small venue directly on St. Mark's Square - it only held about 200 people. No need for microphones, just a 7-member orchestra, a tenor and a soprano singing a selection from various operas. It was very, very good, not that I would have been picky about opera in Venice on St. Mark's Square.
There has been a really depressing lack of music on this trip until tonight. Other tourists noticed it in Tuscany, too - art and artists and writers are highlighted and revered, but except for the Arena in Verona, no one ever even mentions the deep history of Italian music. I would be thrilled to hear opera everywhere (a train station playing Bocelli or a Pavarotti track played from a piazza? Sign me up!) but instead every time I hear music it's American. And not good American music, either - at dinner in Cortona I heard the dreadful remix of 'Forever Young' coming from the speakers. (Really? Really?!) Anyway, Venice has made up for the lack of music. I had read there was music in St. Mark's Square but visualized street musicians competing for attention and coins. I couldn't have been more wrong!
Time's up on my computer use but I'll write again soon...