Tuesday, October 23, 2007

europe dyaris 3


I’m back in Paris. I should have written this a long time ago but did not have the time or the  space (in the train) to do so. The last one was when I was on my way back to this city just to run (literally with my 600-peso bag with a 24 kilo load) to the other station to catch another train going to Venezia (forgive me for using their original names, you just have to so that you won’t get confused when you’re looking at train schedules).

My cousin Jinny told me to enjoy TGV because they are the best trains in Europe. She was right. The train I got to Venice was an experience. Being very tired did help. I was asleep the whole time and when I woke up, I was alone in the cabin of six and I can smell the mediterranean from the open window by the aisle of the train. 

The plan was to meet Rica in Bologna but after much changes, we decided to meet in Venezia, deposit my bag, walk the whole day then catch the last train to Bologna for the night. Exactly what we did except that we caught the second to the last train.

Venice is not Italy. You can very well say it has it’s own architecture, it has its own culture, it has it’s own world. Its not even part of this world. From the gate of the station, you can see the grand canal. From there, you have the option to either walk, or take the public ferry  or take the taxi boat. For the experience, you can hire the popular gondola with it’s legendary rate of 95 euros an hour. I was very tempted to try it but I was stopped by Rica saying it’s not worth it (imagine if you’re alone paying for it?). Well, almost everything in this group of small islands is expensive. Regular coffee is 4 euros 50- convert that into peso. Sans the tourist, hoards and hoards of tourists, Venezia is one place I can truly say -- BEAUTIFUL. 

I waited for Rica for about fifteen minutes. An hour of walking and we found ourselves sipping coffee along the banks of the grand canal. Quite pricey for 4.50 euros a cup but the experience is priceless. Walking along the narrow streets of Venice is like being transported to some medieval flea market (translated to divisoria really, if you think about it) with murano glass scattered from all directions. 

The structures are hybrid of European and upper African architecture. The mosaic work of the Basilica di San Marco (and yes, Mark, of the New Testament, is buried inside) is amazing. The piazza, the porticos around the piazza, the small alleys and the canals are picturesque. And yes, Venezia is all about it. It’s hideously commercialized and it will be pointless to spend the night there. By the time that we are about to leave, almost all of the shops are already closed. Maybe during the spring carnival where everybody is donning their venetian masks and revelry is all night long (as they say, it’s better than the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro). 

Maybe I will come back just for that. 

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