It’s another week in beautiful Italy, and I marvel every day how lucky I am to live the life I have been given. I have titled this blog Memory Lane for two reasons. First, I really do have an awesome life, not just living in Europe for the last year and a half but also some crazy adventures on the other side of the pond. Since I just started writing and my life does have boring weeks (honestly, I am not on a perpetual vacation, even though sometimes it seems that way.) I wanted to occasionally be able to share some things that happened before I started blogging.
Secondly, this last week my wonderful husband lost his father. Bill Potere was an obnoxious and sweet man. He enlivened every moment, in every room, even if you wished he would do so more quietly sometimes. He will be sorely missed by his children, his wife and all that knew him. His memory will live on in every conversation that starts with “Do you remember when Bill said…”
Because of his sad passing my husband was in the states for the weekend and I stayed closer to home (except for a small four mile walk with my pack). So, I thought that I would tell you about Carnival in Venice that Will and I were able to experience for one day in February.
What to say about Venice…
There are no cars. Water taxis/buses and narrow walking streets are the only way around the island. It can easily transport the adventurer back to the days when the Venetians ruled the land. Minus, of course, all the modern kiosks of people selling masks, Murano glass, and other various kitschy things that tourists might want. Though I am sure they had their own set of pushy sales people.
The houses seem tall in comparison to the tight walking streets and it feels like most of your time is spent in shadows until you unexpectedly walk into a piazza (square). These open areas allow the crowds to disburse and the sun to filter down. The shopping and restaurants are numerous and the atmosphere is old world, as if time has forgotten to catch up with all that is in Venezia.
There is so much more exploring to do in Venice but Carnival is not a time to explore it is a time to be swept along with the festive atmosphere of the crowds, exclaim over the elaborate costumes and pray that you aren’t claustrophobic.
Sooooooo many people! We talked about taking a water bus to Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square, one of the most famous landmarks in Venice) but I got the bright idea of walking first. That was all she wrote. We were swept up into the crowds and didn’t, no couldn’t, stop moving until we came out an hour and half later at Piazza San Marco. The swarm of humanity bore you along like a fish in a current. You had two choices panic or swim with a smile on your face enjoying all the people.
Making sure we had each other in sight; Will and I pasted smiles on our faces and swam along. At least half of the people we passed wore masks of one sort or another, not necessarily elaborate costumes but just masks. We followed two couples for quite awhile and one of the men had a bag of confetti (the paper pieces not the candy) and sprinkled confetti liberally over all passer-byers. He was hilarious and enthusiastic; speaking rapidly and loudly in Italian making sure that everyone was well covered in pieces of paper. (Vendors sell bags of confetti in various sizes so all can participate in the confetti sprinkling). There was no way to divert from the pack and make it to Rialto Bridge so we proceeded with the group towards Piazza San Marco. There we saw children with their own bags of confetti dumping them over themselves and their siblings amidst high pitched giggles of laughter and indulgent adult smiles. People, people everywhere! It was tourism at its extreme and with no way to swim back up stream towards the train station we finally caught a water bus so we could see Venice from the comfort of our bottoms.
The views from the water bus were no less spectacular and I could have happily stayed on the water and just gone around and around. However, another side of me said too much humanity and we slowly made our way back to our car parked on the very edge of the island (the only place vehicles are allowed).
To me the things that made the most impressions from that day (we have been back to Venice and will go again because I love the vibe of the town so these impressions are just from the wildness of Carnival) were two things, the vibrance of all humanity, happiness and enthusiasm filled most everyone young and old. Second, were the elaborate costumes. I was not in a position to take many good photographs that day, (I was a touch overwhelmed by it all), but I took a picture or two. Elaborate dresses and anonymity are the name of the game. Those in costume don’t speak, they will pose but are considered a thing apart.
There were people with elaborate headpieces (men and women) some like all the flowers of a garden, others with bird cages on their heads, full makeup and dressed from head to toe in light blue velvet. Others, like the two ladies I managed to snap pictures of were wearing elaborate gowns with full face masks. I would be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to be one of those people. A part of the festivities and apart from all the festivities at the same time.
I felt it was truly magical and I look forward to next year’s Carnival, I will be better prepared for picture taking and maybe, just maybe I will dress up too.
I hope you enjoyed my trip down Memory Lane
Until next week
Ciao Miei Amici