On February 19, 2022, I was sitting in my home watching the final two installments of "The Wedding Veil Trilogy" on Hallmark Channel. In the second film, they end up in Burano, Italy, a small island near Venice which is known for fine lace and colorful houses. As I do every time a place I've been to appears in a movie, I take a quick look at my travel photos from my visits and try to remember details of my trip.
Turns out I remembered quite a lot. But one thing I couldn't remember is how far it was from Venice to Burano. All I could recall was that it was the vaporetto stop after the cemetery island and the island of Murano. A quick look at Google Maps, and I saw that Burano was quite a bit further away than I was thinking it was...
Map © Google
Because the movie wasn't very good, I found myself wandering around Venice using Google Maps "Street View"... tracing my way around the places I had been in my two trips to visit.
Eventually I got around to this...
Map © Google
Now that's weird... what's that glass cage doing there?
On March 20, 2011, I was in Venice, Italy. While there I posted a photo of a giant statue of a small boy holding a frog at the Punta della Dogana...
On August 16th, 2015, I was in Los Angeles, California. While there I posted a photo of a giant statue of a small boy holding a frog at The Getty Center...
At the time I remarked that it was weird how there were duplicate statues half a world away from each other.
So tonight I decided to Google for more information on the statues to see why there were two of them...
Apparently the Google Maps Street View image I saw was snapped prior to May of 2013. Furthermore, the statue had a police guard during the day, but had the glass cage locked around it at night to protect it from vandalism.
Now I am going a little bit crazy, because I have some questions about what I've read...
It seems absurd that such an important and beloved work has so little concrete information available about it. The good news is that I think I saw both the fiberglass and the painted stainless steel versions. And, if it turns out I haven't, a trip to Philadelphia can solve that (or New York City, if I can get there before June 5th).
In an effort to "go somewhere I haven't gone before" while on my annual birthday vacation, I decided to head to the small island of Burano today. I've never gone before because there's always so much to do in Venice that it doesn't seem worth the trouble. But I've heard nice things about the place, so today was the day. First I walked to St. Mark's Square so I could find a water-bus to take me to North Venice. Then I found a ferry to make the 40 minute lagoon crossing to Burano.
The total journey took me about an hour, and ended up being well worth the trip.
Burano is mostly a fishing village, but it's heavily geared towards tourists. Just like Murano is famous for its glass, Burano is famous for its lace. I thought I might pick up a tiny sample as a souvenir, but even a 4-inch doily of authentic Burano Lace was $50, so I took a pass.
Instead I wandered around looking at all the pretty multi-colored houses on the island...
And, of course, have some stracciatella gelato...
Apparently the house colors are strictly regulated by the city government. If you buy a house on Burano and decide you want to paint it, you have to ask for permission. After getting permission, you are given a few color choices which are selected for your location. Hopefully one of these colors ends up being something you like, or else you're shit out of luck.
Tonight I really need to get caught up on some work, so there'll be no more fun for me until dinner. I really should try and get some sleep as well.
The quintessential "Venice Experience" is to take a gondola ride. I've never done it because the cost is outrageously expensive... about $120 for 35 minutes. For that kind of money, I'd rather take a ride of an entirely different kind.
But, alas, Venice is sinking and all that, and I didn't want to regret that I never rode in a gondola when I had the chance. So I didn't think about the money and decided to go for it.
Worth every penny.
It may be touristy and trite, but it really is the best way to experience this remarkable city...
The gondoliers have a fairly tough job that requires quite a bit of skill...
If you're ever in Venice, save some money for a gondola ride, it's worth the price.
There are two problems which plague a photographer in Venice. 1) Everything is leaning or warped or crooked, so trying to line up shots can drive you a little crazy. And 2) The stupid pigeons are everywhere and mess up a surprising number of shots you're trying to take. I've got dozens of photos that ended up being bird photos...
When I was last in Venice, I went to the top of the Campanile Bell Tower where I got this incredible panorama shot of the city. But it was rainy and dreary, and I longed to take another panorama in better weather. Like today. Which was sunshine and blue skies as far as the eye could see.
The problem is that something has changed since I was here last. There are heavy metal grates in place, so I couldn't really move my camera enough to take a panorama. I don't remember how I did it last time. Perhaps the grate is new? Or maybe they used to allow you to climb the stairs up past the observation deck and that's closed now? I can't figure it out. I guess I should be thankful that I've got one, even though it's in bad weather. Oh well. It's still a nice view...
After goofing around St. Mark's Square for a while, I decided to explore the area north of Rialto. It's there that the only McDonald's in Venice is located, and I wanted to use their free WiFi. Except the WiFi wasn't working, so I ended up going to Mickey-Dees for nuthin...
Annnnd... I'm done playing tourist for the day. Time to seek out the perfect Venetian restaurant for dinner.
It's Bullet Sunday from Venice, Italy!
• Merger. Apparently AT&T and T-Mobile are merging. How could this possibly be a good idea? One shitty network plus one crappy network does not make a good network. It just makes a shitty network crappier. And here I thought things couldn't possibly be any worse with AT&T.
• Foo. I have never understood people's infatuation with Glee. But even more inexplicable is being made to feel crazy because I don't like the show. Now, at last, I'm not alone. Just when I think that Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters couldn't possibly be any cooler than he already is, this happens. Thank. You.
• Lunar. I haven't been able to see the SUPER MOON from here in Venice despite having clear skies. I don't know if I'm looking in the wrong place or if the moon doesn't shine in Venice or what. I'm a little sad about that, because I was looking forward to getting a photo of it. MOON FAIL!
• Venice. Speaking of Venice, it's absolutely stunning here. Clear blue skies and cool air. A big improvement over my previous trip where it rained every day...
You can never have too many statues on a building!
St. Mark's Square is under construction.
But the beautiful frescos are still available for viewing.
Climbing up the balcony of St. Mark's Basilica.
GAH! THE SHIT IS FALLING APART HERE! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!
The Bridge of Sighs... now disgustingly brought to you by Toyota!
Look! It's TRON!!
Honestly, it's one McDonald's too many...
The Church of Health!
Pretty pink street lights.
A naked boy and his dead frog statue. Awesome?
Visiting the neighboring island of Murano.
Cracking angel statue.
Mustard-colored building in Murano.
Sunset over the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge.
Rialto's nighttime view on the Grand Canal.
Annnnnd... I'm spent. No more bullets left this fine Sunday. Time for pizza!
British Airways gave me the best that I could possibly hope for on any trip: an uneventful flight.
And so here I am in Venice, Italy for a few days. Partly because there's a new Hard Rock Cafe here. But mostly because I watched a television program on New Orleans where some scientist guy reminded everybody that Venice is sinking into the sea and could be wiped out if a big enough flood were to strike despite our best efforts. This freaked me out a little bit, because last time I was here the city was just recovering from a small flood. With all the recent natural disasters plaguing the world, I thought it a good idea to see Venice again... just in case.
It breaks my one rule for my annual birthday trip (to see a place I've never see before), but I love Venice, and heaven only knows when I'd find time to visit again. Besides, I've already been someplace I've never been to this year, so I guess it's all good.
And I managed to get that 136th Hard Rock visit too...
The cafe itself is small. Very small. Tiny even. But it is beautifully appointed, and I was thrilled that the new "hipster-lounge" decorating style that's been plaguing new Hard Rocks around the world has been mercifully downplayed here. It's decorate more like a "classic" Hard Rock, which is nice. The location is superb, just off the Piazza San Marco, so hopefully the tourist trade will keep this property alive for a while.
And I'm off to watch the sun set from the Rialto Bridge. That's an experience that never gets old.
For the most part, I stayed silent on the internets today out of solidarity for the National Day of Silence. After I posted my blog entry last night, that was the end until I got home from work.
For those not in the know, the National Day of Silence is where hundreds of thousands of students nationwide take a vow of silence to bring attention to bullying and harassment of gay, lesbian, bi and transexual students in their schools. After hearing first-hand about the horrors that students can face for simply being who they are, it's a cause I am compelled to support. It's tough enough to get through those awkward school years without facing such unbearable cruelty day-in and day-out...
In entirely different news, I found this photo I took while I was in Venice, and now I am a little obsessed with going back there...
Beautiful sunsets, great food, and a new Hard Rock Cafe. What more could you want?