Saturday, October 27, 2012

An Adventure in Venice

The last time I was in Italy, Venice was the place I was the most excited for. I had always imagined it to be very picturesque, so much so that I definitely romanticized it into this gorgeous magical place. So when I got there and I saw what it really was, I was seriously disappointed. Venice is dirty, and I don't mind a bit of dirt (San Francisco is filthy and I love every inch of it) but this is honestly a whole new level of nasty. There's trash everywhere, the streets are sticky, the water is murky brown and smells disgusting,  and there are evil pigeons everywhere that are just waiting to shit on you. To top it all off, it's by far the most touristy place I've ever been. Theres barely any local culture left, which is depressing because Venice has a very cool history.

But, I'm a big believer in giving second chances, so when Angelina said she really wanted to go back, I didn't object. We left our stuff in Milan and hopped on a train for the day. Though I found Venice was still the exact same, I will say my experience was much better this time. Angelina has a friend named Nikki who lives about 20 minutes from Venice, so we met up with her. All of us had previously done all the touristy stuff, so we basically just grabbed some lunch and walked around aimlessly all day.

(Angelina and Nikki in St. Mark's Square) 

Random fact about me: I collect Venetian masks. I got my first one the first time I went to Venice and now I have a little collection of about 10 masks - most are from Venice, a couple from Las Vegas, New Orleans, and some other random places. So when we decided we were going to Venice, I was really excited to add a couple more to my collection. Somewhere along the way, we walked passed a mask shop that intrigued me, so we went in and started exploring. The shop was extremely cool, one of the few places where the owner was also the artist and handcrafted all of the masks himself.  I almost immediately found one I loved decided to splurge on it. When I went up to purchase it, the artist/owner pointed for me to step off to the side. I did as he directed, assuming I was in the wrong line. Then, he comes over to me, takes the mask out of my hand and begins to tie it on me. I'm thinking okay, maybe he's trying to fit it to my face? Then he takes my camera off my shoulder (keep in mind this guy hasn't said a single word to me) hands it to Angelina and then leaves. What the hell? Two seconds later he comes back with this massive traditional Venetian cape and puts it around me. He was dressing me up for a photoshoot! It was a little awkward because there were like 20 other people in the shop but it was definitely one of the cooler things that's happened to me in my life. In the end I did get to buy my mask, and I have some seriously embarrassing but awesome photos of myself in traditional Venetian clothing.  So even though I'm still not a big fan of Venice, that guy certainly made my day!

(The artist putting the cape over me!)

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