27 May 2015

Venice beckons

The Morgan is safe under cover, in a private compound since we arrived, but draws attention even under a tarp that kept the rain off last night. This morning, the attendant  like several other observers, was curious about the wire wool  bung that tones down the exhaust. When he learnt the purpose he became over excited and would have us remove it there and then. He prefers a raucous note and suggests the Polizia Stradale would enjoy it too, but the bung stays put. The kingpins are now greased and ready for the motorway. Meanwhile, Venice by water taxi is 14.50 Euros compared to 30 Euros in any Venice car park ( per day). With Wednesday's forecast encouraging, the prospect of seeing Venice is about to be realised.

Amazing creation in glassware

Looking for ice cream

Gondolas glide the waterways

A lazy way to travel

Having just returned from Venice its easy to understand what the world's tourist sees in this quite extraordinary extravaganza. My description is doomed to fail and probably these photos too will fail, to do justice to a city of superlatives. My underrated expectation was of a compact city, having seen paintings and read some brief descriptions. Today was a roller coaster ride amidst camera wielding nationalities from all four corners of the earth.

I saw the many Merchants of Venice that the bard waffled on about, but even he could not have prepared me for all its sunny splendour.

Nobody fell in to the water while we were there

Cerulian blue abounds


Magical decorated arches

Gold leaf liberally spread about

One of many marble lions

Expensive clothes shops

The approach

An emergency upstream has ruffled the waves as an ambulance boat and police escort speed through the melee of Gondolas. The gondoliers know just how to head up into the wash and balance themselves. 

No sign of sinking beneath the waves today

Bicycles and bad behaviour prohibited here.

Out of the shadow a Gondola sees the sun once more

That will be 80 Euros Sir

Later that afternoon

More play

As we stood filming the quartet of musicians in the Piazza San Marco immediately behind me was a watch shop selling those ultra complex watches with the tourbillon movement (an obsolete solution to an obsolete problem within an obsolete technology invented in the late 1700s).
The bane of the mechanical watch is gravity. It plays havoc on a watch’s escapement and balance assembly, the fragile components that oscillate and regulate the gear train that drives the watch hands.
Today this display of the watchmakers art is prized for the level of skill required to hand make it at all. As I watched through the window of the tiny shop, fascinated by the display of several of these watches running, a young oriental couple were seen completing their purchase and being handed the vendors signed guarantees. The cost of one of these masterpieces would probably pay for my UK semi-detached.

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