Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A ghost upon the sands of the sea

Today has been a pretty good day, despite the fact that it is midterm season and my Latin exam threatens to drive me insane. To all of you unlucky students out there I wish you luck!

My day was good for several reasons: my mom and sister were here for a day as they spend their October break away from the UK and do their usual traveling circus gig (in typical Ishak fashion), I went to the library for the first time this year and hunkered down for several hours going over a dead language, I had three delicious coffees (caffeine rush) and I went to a supremely interesting guest lecture about Art Law (more on that another day). 

I realize that it's been a while since I've talked about something non-fashion related and I wanted to make it clear that I'm not just a fashion addict but a slave for anything visually unique. This is probably the reason I'm enrolled in the Arts, more specifically Art History; because while I enjoy making art, I love learning about it and seeing it more (I think). Anyway, at the beginning of last summer I enrolled in a month long course in Venice through school... for a full credit. I'm going to go on a brief tangent but a full credit at my university usually means a year long (8 month) course. So when this opportunity to A) go to Venice B) to study art history and C) gain a full credit arose, I leapt at it and made it mine. Before I left I posted that I was going to blog daily and have these amazing posts full of pictures and my daily activities. Well that didn't happen so I'm today is all about looking and reliving my life in Venice.

Before you jump in with me I want you to know that this was one of the best experiences I've ever had and I would recommend it to anyone who had the chance to go. That being said, please enjoy (caution, this is a super long post mainly of pictures... sorry)
First day exploring: our view from the hotel bridge of campo (square), Santa Maria Formosa... our neighborhood
Another view from the hotel: who know there was much green space in Venice, the concrete island? 
First day of classes and we headed straight to the heart of the city: Piazza San Marco. Here you're seeing the the Basilica di San Marco and part of the Palazzo Ducale - in English the Basilica (left) and the Ducal Palace (right)
Ducal Palace. Those two red columns are where the Doge (religious and political authority of the city) would come out and give a sermon, once a year.
The Campanile, this means tower in Italian.
Porta Della Carta, Ducal Palace. Teeny history lesson, the Doge can be seen kneeling on the left beside the winged lion, which is the symbol for the city and the icon of St. Mark - whose bones are interred in the Basilica next door.
One of the many intricate capitals of the lower colonnade of the Ducal Palace.
Much of what you see covering the surface of the Basilica is spolia - items that were stolen from previous sites and incorporated into a new setting.
When looking at the Basilica straight on there are three doors with mosaics above them... each tells a different story that I can't sum up without going on and on. But they're incredibly beautiful to look at amongst the different colored marbles.
Zoom zoom zoom. Attention to detail is immaculate, though the next is even better.
My fave fave fave... the colors are so incredible... just wait

Closer, yet not close enough. I need to thank my mum for her camera because there was no way I would have been able to get this level of zoom on my own dinky digital.
For centuries this little guy has stood there looking dignified and then rats with wings got there. Did you know feeding the vermin is illegal in Venezia? Well, unfortunately it still happens
Sorry to be cliche... masks in Venice, yes I know.
This drink that started in the city is still one of the favorites of restaurant goers. I saw locals ordering these for breakfast.
Pizza, masks what's next?
Oh yeah, a gondolier. You knew it was coming. I'm proud and sad to say I did not have a ride in one of these... though it would have been fun.
On our trip to the island of Torcello... population 13 and a new baby
He's so charming...
Fly by night, this shot went wrong but I love it all the more for it.
I'm pretty sure I sent a postcard exactly like this... quintessential Venice shot.
Ok there is a story to these two pictures... We had a restaurant we went to for our weekly meals, but on weekends we had to feed ourselves... boo hoo, feeding yourself in Venice, sounds good to me! Well the first Sunday we went exploring and I found this quaint restaurant two minutes from the hotel. We gave it a chance and I'm not lying.... some of the best food I've ever had. This dish above is spaghetti with clams in a butter sauce... so good, I can;t brag enough. The best by far was the polenta with cuttlefish in squid ink (a Venetian delicacy). I'm not kidding, I'm going back to Venice for the food and the staff. Below is my buddy Guido, our waiter who served us every time we went that month and on the last day it was his 40th birthday so we basically drank the place dry of Prosecco. I would be lying if I said that we weren't a little tipsy, especially after he brought us birthday grappa. 
I'm pretty sure I developed a window fetish while in that city haha 

Inside San Zanipolo 
One of my future waterfront homes... no big deal
Up the Campanile


Makes me wish I could fly
See, another window.... ahhhh. But it's a nice contrast of the old and new, the permanent and the temporary
Fruits and vegetables at the Rialto Market
Sorry, another window, but it's so quaint.
Ceiling frescos at the Palazzo Grimani 
I was trying to cut down on the images I was including because at one point I had 200 and so I stuck to mainly Venice but this mainland shot of the Villa Rotunda... Palladio is a genius. I was so sad we couldn't get closer. There was some diamond show going on... dang jewelry ;)
Back on the island a Santa Maria della Salute
To end with... a gondolier in the Lagoon...
And the Piazza San Marco by night after a flooding.
Off to bed...

- Life is good

Listening to: 'WARP' - Steve Aoki & Bloody Beetroots
Observations: Migraine from being awake so long
Craving: comfort food and my bed

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