A Travellerspoint blog

Venice

sunny 21 °C

So when I went to catch a train to Trieste yesterday, the nice convenient one that I had expected was not available -- it just runs on Mondays. So I caught the train to Venice instead.

Venice is not big, but there are a lot of people there. And most of those people don't live there. I was a little bit shocked at the huge number of tourists there on a Tuesday afternoon in October, and I think I saw about three or four people I could legitimately identify as residents of the town, not counting anyone working at an attraction who or may not have lived there. I can't even imagine what it's like in the summer.

Venice.jpg
(view across the water from the Piazza San Marco)

Which is not to say, however, that it's not beautiful, it definitely is. I was only there for the day, but I got to see the Doge's Palace and Correr Museum, which contained all sorts of interesting facts and memorabilia from Venice's glory days during the Renaissance.

A point of interest in the Palace was a plaque placed upon Venice's entry into the Republic of Italy in the middle of the 19th century, recording the results of a plebiscite of the people of Veneto as to whether or not they should join. 641,000+ in favor, 69 against. Who, I wonder, were the 69 brave souls who voted against accession?

Here's one attraction I don't understand -- standing still with your arms out in St. Mark's Square so pigeons will land on you:

Flying Rats.jpg

And when I went to leave, I missed my train back to Udine by about three minutes, so I had another forty to sit and admire the city:

Water Taxi.jpg

Posted by elefantstn 09:00 Archived in Italy Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Pictures from Cividale

sunny 21 °C

Surprisingly, the iPod data transfer went off without a hitch. So without further ado: Pictures.

Cividale Ponte.jpg

This is the famous Ponte del Diavolo, or 'Devil's Bridge' in Cividale, so named because apparently the Devil himself laid its foundations. Which is why it's so big, I guess, nothing to do with the height of the cliffs over the river.

Cividale.jpg

And from above and to the right of that bridge, a panoramic view of the town, with the River Natisone in the middle and the Carnic Alps and the border with Austria and Slovenia in the distance.

Posted by elefantstn 08:56 Archived in Italy Tagged photography Comments (2)

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going

sunny 18 °C

I was in Trieste today, and it was an absolutely gorgeous day for it. After the first week of rain and general weather-related misery, it's been fantastic here since about Sunday.

Sunday, I slept in a little and then spent the day in Cividale, where there was a sort of folk festival going on, with a little Italianized oompa-loompa band. A guy on the street had a huge grill, with polenta squares and sausages going on it with rosemary and bay mixed in -- I got a plate of that with cubes of Montasio cheese on top for 3 euros and got through about half of it before I was stuffed. Possibly the richest food I have ever eaten.

Today I woke up early and took the train into Udine so I could hop on the internet before leaving for Trieste. Typically, though, they were closed on a Monday morning, so I had to leave without it.

The scenery on the train ride into Trieste is worth the price of the ticket itself. The tracks are perched on the side of the mountains that hug the coast, and as you come down the Carso into the city, you get a fantastic view of the shimmering Adriatic and all the houses and vineyards up and down the cliffs.

Trieste itself is a gorgeous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century city. Most of the museums etc. were closed today (Monday, apparently the third day of the weekend here), but I bought a nice little guidebook and went for a few hours' walk, including a huge climb up to the top of the San Giusto hill, which had a fantastic panoramic view of the city and the sea. Got back here in time for an hour or so of catch-up time on the Internet, which has been nice, so I can do some planning for the next few days that I've desperately needed.

To come on the itinerary - Treviso, Trieste again, possibly Venice.

Saturday I'm going on an organize hike through rural England with stop for a pub lunch with my host, and I just bought my ticket for Charlton-Fulham on Monday night.

I might try to bring some pics over here on my iPod tomorrow - but don't hold your breath that it will work. If it doesn't, they'll come Friday or Saturday where I'm back in the civilized, WiFi-enabled world.

Arrivederci.

(and go Lions)

Posted by elefantstn 09:24 Archived in Italy Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Some Observations

sunny 18 °C

Linguistically

  • My listening and reading comprehension is good. It's much easier than I expected - I think having done all that internet radio listening did me a lot of good. It's much easier to understand someone face to face and in an understood context than through RealAudio.
  • I am frustrated, however, by my constant need to put together phrases in my head before speaking - the breaks necessary for me to do this make it difficult to hold a conversation. I am sure with practice, this will be better. I hope so, at least.

Generally

  • All the things I thought I would enjoy about travelling alone were true - freedom of choice, no arguments, etc. - but I failed to foresee some pitfalls. First of all, eating at a restaurant by yourself is not much fun. You can only write so many postcards at the table before you start to feel uncomfortable. Second, I miss speaking English, a problem exacerbated by the lack of internet connection in Cividale. If I travel alone again, I will do so in hotels with wireless connections.
  • Italian girls have a predilection for squeezing into pants that don't fit that would make even their American counterparts blush. There is no girl here so skinny that she won't buy jeans two sizes smaller and try to get into them. My current goal in life is to find out where they're buying the machines to get into their jeans, and bring them home to sell at a hefty profit.
  • I have more diary-oriented stuff on my laptop back in Cividale that I will add, including pictures

Posted by elefantstn 08:35 Archived in Italy Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Oggi L'Internet Non Funziona

(Today the Internet Doesn't Work)

Well, I've double-checked my little pocket dictionary, and oggi does in fact mean 'today,' so I have no idea why it's used to mean 'eternally' in Cividale. The free internet point at the tourist information center which I had previously planned to use daily here in Italy has in fact been permanently down since my arrival. When will it be back up? 'Domani, forse' -- Tomorrow maybe.

(Go Lions!)

Posted by elefantstn 08:29 Comments (0)

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