18 – Venezia

Venezia, Italia – 26th to 31st Ottobre – “Movie Sets & Celebrities”

Venezia; Venice; “Bernake in Slovenian, lol”à What a place. This city is everything you have ever imagined and thought off. The architectural is unreal, the timelessness withstands time, the culture is breathtaking, the people are beautiful, their style even better, their outlook on life is unmatched, and the stimulation from the environment is unrivaled. I absolutely love Venice. I can’t even describe in words. I sit here in a market piazza, next to a fountain, sipping a café in probably one of the most bliss environments I’ve ever experienced. The air is crisp; but only requires a light maglione (sweatshirt) and scarf; I could sit out here all day and partake in the Italian game of people watching until I pass. We have been very lucky to find a place to stay on the Venetian island of Lido which is one of the long narrow islands that create the archipelago making the Venice Lagoon. On the end of this palazzo I overlook the waterfront with Piazza San Marco and its famous Campanile, Doge’s Palace, and across the Canale Grande my favorite Church here; Chiesa Madonna di Salute (Church of the Madonna of Health; built after Venice survived the last plague in the 17th Century). I just ate some dinner; il classico: formaggio, pane e olve (the classic cheese, bread, and olives). I really love this meal; it serves so many purposes. First, I am so glad I’ve learned to like “real” Mediterranean style olives – they have so much more flavor and taste, especially the ones I’ve found at this supermarket across the street. Then even better they are with the contrast of bread and too top of the flavor explosion almost every meal I experiment with a different flavored cheese, lots of fun. Then to top it all off – these meals cost about €.57 for a 2 foot baguette, €1 for the olives and €2 for the cheese – and actually fills me. Sometimes I find I have so much cheese and bread I can have it for my next meal. Unbelievable, a healthy tasty meal for around $4.50 that is 2 to 3 times bigger than what I could get for the same price at a food stand. I can get it under €2 if I go for tomatoes instead of cheese which I’ve found are much cheaper than the states. Grocery stores in Italy are such a pleasure. Instead of running in and out I find myself just walking around; taking in the products; where fresh produce, meats, fish, cheese and breads are the centerpiece instead of processed food. Here also is the only place you can find value; as soon as you leave you are back into the price gouging society. For example, a can of Orange Fanta (which is way better here; more citrusy and less syrupy), my new all-time soda favorite, costs €.45 at the grocery store but €2 minimum anywhere else – even at the vending machines. Such crap. A small sandwich in Europe (and I mean small: no vegetables – just cheese and meat plus bread) is about €4 -€5. Apparently the low-cost idea has not caught onto the rest of the continents industry – the supermarkets is the only place (One great thing to definitely appreciate about the United States – low cost everything). So I stick to the markets, while frustrating not being able to eat with my friends; I find my meals more appealing while I still get the conversation from sitting with them. When I return to the states I will make this one more often.

I haven’t done much today; decided to not go into the main Island today; been here since Sunday (now Thursday) and have had plenty – its been a nice change of pace since my disastrous trip here. I’m finally over the race debacle. I’m pretty sure I’m going to run the Maratona di Firenze on the 30th of November; depending on how my money pans out over the next few weeks. It has a really good course so I think it will be just as great an experience.

My week was great; saw a great architectural exhibit by John Utzon who designed the Sydney Opera House, did the whole deal (museum & all) at la chiesa di San Marco; walked alley after alley, and even witnessed Venice flooded Wednesday which was a real treat. I know you always see the pictures of Venice like this; but it’s really does not happen often; apparently they need quite a few anomalies to interact at the same time for it to occur – but its really intriguing. The water literally bubbles out of the pavement. The scene is unbelievable – the water was so deep that gondolas where even rowing down the walk able streets (not the canals) while we passed them on our elevated pathways. At one occurrence a gondola made such an impressive maneuver, taking an extremely sharp turn with little space, that everyone on boat and on the walkways stopped to watch and consequentially applaud his mastery – it was outstanding.

I also went to the Biennale, a 2 month festival in Venezia on building “Beyond Architecture” – displayed in about 20 buildings around a garden full of supplemental art. It was very intriguing and abstract; questioning why we build the way we do while suggesting multiple better solutions. Much of it was about sustainability in construction but also about creating stimulating environments; something I’m really appreciate from this journey and realizing how recluse much of the world is becoming.  Although quite a bit of the museum was just outlandishly abstract. There were two rooms that I really liked and though about my sister, Sara – for her installation art pieces. One building had plain whitewashed gypsum board walls floor to ceiling, while containing about an inch deep of multi-colored confetti and about some black chairs. Quite funny but makes you think why we put what we put so much secondary elements on our walls. Another building had creating all its partitions, chairs, desks, and displays out of a standard plastic storage unit – combining printed displays with audio, visual and light displays.

I took a jog yesterday around the island; was really enjoyable – a great one to get myself back into training again, argh, lol. Lido is a seven mile narrow strip; about 8 blocks deep, so I ran to the interior coast and ran allow the road until it ended, turned to the exterior coast on the Adriatic and ran again until the road stopped and then turned back to close the loop. I think it was about a 10 mile jog; allot of the island actually doesn’t have roads so it was not a full 14.

This weekend I’m heading back to Castiglion Fiorentino; I had a bunch of test for school coming up and I need to wrap up this project so I think I’m gonna stay there for the next two weekends; lay low – and save on some money. My next big trips will be to Barcelona, Spain for a weekend to visit two Auburn swimming friends I have who recently moved there. There next week we do our presentation, followed by a weekend skiing in Innsbruck, Austria. Post Austria I’ll ditch the group as we are finished and head to London for a few days, then possibly this marathon in Firenze, then back to Barcelona for a longer trip where I’ll probably hit up Madrid too then back to Italy and fly home. This whole trip is going so fast. Been talking with companies, but its sounding rough. The market is terrible and even worse for foreigners looking here. I’m begun looking at companies in the US as a backup. We’ll see.

So from Venezia; eating olives, cheese and baguettes – Ciao Ciao ed a dopo. Bye and Later!



  1. I totally understand where you say you’ve had enough of Venice after 4-5 days, at some point you have seen enough of it. I spent one day laying on the beaches of Lido drinking my fair share of cheap wine. How great is it that you can by half a liter of “house” wine for .5 to 1 euro and it’s still amazing. Tell Doug I say hi when you make it to Barcelona.

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