A few posts ago, I wrote about a full page advertisement that was in the Irish Times. It featured a very attractive bikini clad girl proclaiming “F*ck the Freeze…fly Ryanair to the Sun”…Fairs start at €6. (Euro)
I said f*cking brilliant! The balls of the newspaper and Ryanair to run the ad.
I now know where Ryanair spends their money. Advertising and refitting 737s by doubling the number of seats on their planes and in doing so making it most uncomfortable for anyone over 4’6”.
The fair is reasonable and like the ad says starts at €6…from there it gets interesting.
If you’re breathing add €15…if you’re over 6′ tall add €15…if you weigh over 100 pounds add €15 … if you’re wearing blue add €15…red 15…if you’re ugly add €15…if the person behind you is ugly add €15… if the flight leaves between 12 noon and 3 pm add €15 …any other time add €20..if your luggage is larger than a shoe box add €35 …if it weighs more than the brain of a Ryan Air flight attendant add €35.
…the fairs are great for anyone under 4’6″ that looks like Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen with no clothes on carrying a toothbrush.
The bus ride…
A trumpet blasts over the loud speakers and they announce that the “On time” airline is once again on time….
Only two and one half hours and we’re in Venice…whoa…not so fast Jose’ …when you fly Ryanair you should check the fine print on what airport your flying into…cuz it may not be the one you thought you were flying to. We flew into Treviso. Over to the information booth “Excuse me do you speak English?…where do you get the shuttle boats?” “No shuttle boat here, you take bus to Venice and then you get boat” Oh…
The bus was SRO and we sat apart. Overhearing the couple that sat in front of me I asked if they were Americans and he said he was and his wife was from Donegal, Ireland. He said he has been living in Ireland for over ten years and hasn’t been back to the states since. We talked for awhile and he asked me what the security was like when I left the states. I told him we all get a full body scan or a pat down. He then went off on Americans loosing all their freedoms and liberties and that more was to come. I said …”Well we all know who to blame for that don’t we?”…and he said …”we sure do…Bush One and Two”…I was speechless…but soon recovered and said …”have you forgotten 9/11?”…and he said it wasn’t that…and continued to blame the Bushes…and I said in my best Boston accent “ya do know that your a f*cking eegit…right?”…end of conversation….A friend recently told me … “at this stage of my life I have no desire to talk to people I don’t like”.
The Boat Ride and Hotel Bucintoro
The last leg of our journey to Venice. It can’t be that bad, after all it’s a boat ride up the Grand Canal to our hotel. It was fogey, damp, dark, and we were unable to see what stop we are at and there were ninety six of them (actually more like 22). We kept on asking the locals, they were the only people on the boat at this time of night, when Arsenale (our stop) was coming up. We must have gotten five different answers but an hour later we arrived at our hotel.
Hotel Bucintoro has a four star rating and was recently refurbished. Our room was nice but was about as big as the bed. The next day we asked for an up grade and the manager was more than accommodating, he set us up in a suite over looking the Canal. The horrors of Ryanair were soon behind us.
The city of Venice was built entirely on water and has managed to survive into the 21st without cars. Narrow alleyways and canals pass between sumptuous palaces and magnificent churches, colorful neighbourhood markets and quiet backwaters, unchanged for centuries. Yes I know… right out of a travel book but it is a most accurate description of a breathtaking and truly unique city.
We spent our time on the canal, in the Rialto Market, the Piazza San Marco and the Arsenale area where our hotel was located.
The”highway” or the Canal Grande is only one of 177 canals flowing through the city, but some 2.5 miles in length, 100-230 ft in width and averaging about 15 ft in depth, it certainly earns it name. Snaking its way through the city with a double curve, its banks are lined with exquisite palaces, while on its waters colorful flotillas of gondolas, ferries, taxi launches, and high speed police boats and barges groaning under loads of various products and produce, provides endless entertainment.
There is much to be said about Venice in the winter. I can’t imagine what it is like in the summer with the vast number of tourists in town. Not for me.
The city demands a respectful quietness. The pace is slow and hurrying will only get you lost. The alleys, the lights of trattoria and the shops and boutiques beckon with temptation. In Venice maps fail. To experience Venice is be be forever lost and disoriented, this alone makes the city so special and unique.
Masks, masks, and more masks!!!!
Handmade in paper-mache and glittery plaster, Venetian masks are
spectacular and beautiful. They were once essential attire during carnival, allowing aristocrats to enjoy themselves in anonymity. One unusual model, with a long curved nose, was used by doctors during plagues its cavity filled with perfumed herbs to filter the diseased air. If you saw “Eyes wide shut” Stanley Kubrick’s last movie you’ll remember Tom Cruise wearing one of these masks.
Looking for Louis amongst the designer boutiques
I don’t know if someone called Louis Vuitton actually exists, but if he does he is f*cking brilliant. His hand bags are obscenely priced and it seems every women in the world has to have one…and did you know that you have to book an appointment with a sales person before you can review the goods. Now my fellow cave men, I must ask you a few questions.
Would you recognize a Louis Vuitton bag if you saw one?
Do you know how much they cost?
Do you think women buy them to impress other women or men?
…or I don’t give a shit in a hand bag about Louis Vuitton.
Please make your comments at the end of this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We made a visit and…thank you very much…took a quick exit.
Apparently Harry’s is a must see and go to watering hole. Ernest Hemingway drank there…(where didn’t he drink?) as well as Sinclair Lewis, Onassis and other noted celebrities. After a long day shopping…I just loved it…we stopped for a quick one. Believe me, I do mean quick one. White tuxedo dressed waiters worked the room and one delivered a drink menu…no wine but all drinks were €17! Yes €17…not bad if you can get it. We had one.
Where as we visited a local …
While looking for a place to eat we came across a real “local” on one of the back alleys. Believe me it was not a tourist bar by any means, it had two tables, a counter that had a very limited selection of things to eat and several tradesmen drinking at the counter . Mary just wanted a cup of hot tea and I asked for “what ever those guys are drinking” It was about 1:30 in the afternoon and we were sitting at one of the two tables along with a young couple. We barely had time to take a sip of our drinks when the bar man shut the lights off and began to close the shades. He looked toward us and said “my lunch time please go”.
Later that evening we dinned at a small trattoria called Corazzieri. It was across the alley from the “local”. Mary was concerned about the freshness of the fish and asked the waiter several times when did they get it. The waiter finally went into the kitchen and brought two fish to our table to show us. I would have to say it was the best fish meal I have ever had, and I don’t know what it was.
Such a great place and there were only three other people in the restaurant. The local, on the other hand, was packed with working men, no women, drinking and smoking outside in the alley.
Lost in translation
As the darkness pushes a heavy fog through the alleys and canals it finds a home on tied shoulders. Disorientation captures your spirit of adventure and all sense of direction is lost. Each local answers “sempre dritto” (straight on). The idea is to follow the flow of people out to familiar sights and eventually escaping the maze.
Our problem was this is the winter in Venice and there was no flow of people, the only people in the alley at that time of night are locals…and they understandably do not speak English.
After wandering aimlessly for about one and a half hours and asking several locals and being told “sempre dritto”we asked a college girl for help. She spoke little English but walked us out in about 10 minutes and we found ourselves right next to our hotel. Parting she said “Everybody gets lost at least once.”
The next morning, thinking about being lost in Venice and in translation on a cold damp fogey day just might be true happiness after all.
Words cannot describe Venice. Paintings, drawings and photographs can help but you must visit the place if you are to fully appreciate its beauty and wonder.
Ciao…a dopo…voler bene