Africa 2017

Africa 2017

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Those Horses

It's bad enough that I haven't had time to write more but to just lose my whole post did not make me happy. I go again and hopefully that won't happen.

E. and I went on an additional tour upstairs and what a grand view from above the Piazza San Marco in both directions.  What grabbed me though was those horses.  Those incredibly beautiful horses that are huge!  I just wanted to climb up on one and sit astride as I looked out. 

E. took this photo as I just couldn't capture them the way I wanted to. 

E.'s photo

So what is the story of the horses?  First of all the ones outdoors are not the originals.  Those are inside which we saw as well.  They were plunder taken after the Fourth Crusade from Constantinople upon the order from Venice's Doge, Enrico Dandolo.  He had lost an eye in a scuffle in Byzantium and was wanting some revenge.  I'll say he did.  What a prize he brought back to Venice!  Can you imagine the boat ride home with those horses?  Quite a ruckus wild time that must have been.  Apparently they had to cut the horses heads off for shipment and then restored them by adding the collars they wear now.  They were placed over the main doors to the Basilica proudly looking out.

Then Napoleon stole them in 1797 and brought them triumphantly back to Paris and placed on the Arch of Triumph in the Place du Carrousel.  It was said "Rome is no longer Rome, it is Paris!".  I guess the Pope at that time was none to pleased.  They were returned back to Venice in 1815 by the Austrians.  

Here is a view out towards the Doge's Palace.....

One with E.....

Then E.'s special effect photo of the Piazza San Marco.....

E.'s photo

A corner statute on the Doge's Palace that is haunting but beautiful....

Detail of the front of the much to appreciate...the glass the marble, the colors.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Venice by night......


Ready for a ride down the Grand Canal at night with some music by Dean Martin....sit back and enjoy...

Click on the Vimeo logo and watch it there.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bong, Bong, Bong!

Realizing that we should think about dinner we started looking for a place to eat.  We would walk up to the plentiful restaurants and read each menu.  What did we want to eat?  How much did this place charge?  Was it busy or empty?  

We sort of stumbled out a calle and found the Grand Canal in front of us and to our right the Rialto Bridge.  How did we wind up here?  We had no idea but it was a pleasant surprise.

We started walking up and down along the water checking out the restaurants there.  We thought it would be nice to eat along the water.  Then it was what side of the Canal should we eat on?  It didn't really matter as after reading two different menus of restaurants side by side, we ended up at Ristorante Omnibus.  We ordered a 1/2 liter of the house Vino (7  Euro),  E. ordered Lasagna (9 Euro) and I ordered a Pizza with Speck and Rocket greens (9 Euro) which to the US dollar was about $36.00 in total.  Both our entrees were terrific!  We sat and relaxed after the long day of travel, finding our hotel, our beginning sightseeing and what or where to go the next day.  

I love that in Europe that you are never hurried out of a restaurant.  You can linger all you wish.  When you are ready to leave you ask for the bill and even the process of paying is not in a hurry. 

Finding our way back to the hotel was no problem as we just followed any sign that said "San Marco".  We got back to our room after 10:00 and got ready for bed.  I opened the windows and the street noise below didn't seem too loud and decided to leave the windows open to the fresh air.  I felt with all the carrying of my bag up and down over the bridges and up the many stairs to our room that a Tylenol PM was in order.  This way I would also get a sound sleep in a new setting and be able to wake up fresh and well rested for our big day of touring.  Or so I thought.

I heard this Bong, bong, bong and woke with a start.  What was that?  I flopped back down on my pillow and fell to sleep.  The next time the sound seemed louder and I fully awoke.  Bells?  Oh good Lord bells!  Of course we were quite close to the bell on top of Torre dell'Orologio and that was what was ringing.  The midnight toll is what woke me this time.  I got up and sadly closed the windows.  It was quiet outside once the bell had done it's bonging.  Nonetheless I did want to sleep the rest of the night.  With the windows closed not a sound outside could be heard.

Morning came and I rose first, took my shower and then E. did the same.  We walked out into the mostly emptied calle and looked for our breakfast.  We looked in shop windows where an employee would be tiding up the store for the day ahead.  

We found a panifici in a quiet spot near a narrow canal with outside tables to sit at.  We ordered our first Venician cappuccino (E. at first wasn't going to get one but she did and that began her morning start of a cappuccino everyday), and picked out our breakfast treat that was so often referred to as brioche (it was not the brioche I was familiar with).  

E.'s photo ~ first morning in Venice ~ Breakfast

The foot traffic began to pick up.  It seemed like everyone was talking on a cell phone and it was really cute to hear Italian and no English.  Several dogs and their owners walked by, most common seemed to be French Bulldogs.  I wondered where in the world they would take them to go to the bathroom.  I hadn't seen any doggie poop anywhere.  

Out of that narrow canal a small skiff of a boat drew up and then two men with a cart came up to the boat and quickly unloaded supplies off the boat to the cart.  Strong, good looking Italian men, fit, not pudgy sloppy Americans.  Oh I know I am not in the USA!    The cart and men were gone within minutes.  

Our day begins and off we go.  First destination is to St. Mark's Basilica.  We wait in a line that moves along where we can look around at how beautiful this Piazza is.  It is not flooded with tourist and the weather is perfect.  Brilliant blue skies with not a cloud to be seen.

Doge's Palace ~ Porta della Carta

I look to the right of our line and see this gorgeous entry that is called the Porta della Carta.  It stands between the Basilica and the Doge's Palace.  This was the ceremonial entrance where permits were checked for entry into the Palace courtyard.  There is the winged lion that stands so majestically in front of the Doge Francisco Foscari.   

Inside the Basilica your eyes are drawn up to the gilded walls and ceiling that are all mosaics.  Where some churches feel cold because of the vast marble, I felt warmth inside here.  Rounded arches covered with saints, angels and other religious figures were surrounding us.

We walk in a horseshoe shape around the inside and marvel at the beauty of the mosaic tiled floors of different designs.

I am transfixed by the flickering candles, of how I may not understand the lighting of a candle with a prayer, I can be moved by the thoughts that went with their lighting.