If there’s a single thing that will stay with me from Venice, it is certainly the arrival. Suddently a misty sea in sunrise appears between the tobacco-yellow curtains of the night train from Ljubljana. Small boats speed alongside the train as we approach the city. Only few seem to arrive here by train, in my carriage only two other passengers go all the way to Venice proper. When I step out of the station, it is around 8.30 in the morning.


The invading hordes of tourists are still mostly asleep, and the inhabitants proper are walking to work along the cramped pathways.  In a small cafe, two policemen are drinking espressos, having parked their boat in the channel outside. I follow their example, sans boat, then continue walking in a general direction of the attractions.


It is strange to find a city so silent, since the morning rush is all by foot. It is never a crowd, but still the streets are filled with smartly dressed locals walking in complete silence. It seems there is a Venice where people live, working in lawyers’ offices, architecture agencies, real estate agencies… and for the tourism industry.


In the morning you also see how the upkeep of the city is arranged. Heavy transporting is done by the waterways, small boats carry supplies for restaurants, building equipment, the like. Heavy things are pushed on small carts along the alleys. Fascinatingly, Venice is something as rare as a city for all practical purposes completely devoid of cars.


Different goods for different customers.


Outside a closed kiosk.



Small head –big nose, big head – small nose.


Venetian laundry.



Some peculiar wooden dolls with felt details. I wonder whether they are undressed or supposed to look like that.


Still life with trophies.


“The Pooh” is still going strong.


The pope has a job to do here.


The skew tower skews the picture.



The common italian “pericolo di morte” skull is quite awesome. Nice type, too.



Someone had been hacking the street signs, although it remained unclear if the purpose is to show alternate routes or to distract tourists. I found my way to the Rialto rather well by wandering at random and following a sign when I felt like it. Venice has a strange circular-labyrinthine structure to it, which surprisingly makes it quite intuitive to orient in.


Clever and pretty.



A massive pidgeon perch.


Morning rush under the Rialto.


Wow, a Real Gondolier. I heard one of these guys make a complete monkey of himself to his american passengers “Wanna a-takea pitture? “Say-a cheese! Fromaggio! Pizza! Pasta!” The americans giggle. What a job, to turn into a ridiculous national stereotype for a living.


I took a break in the shade of the Rialto. The “Union” was a souvenir from Slovenia.



Everyone wants a ride.


Decorations of the season.


Piazza San Marco.


I swear, I didn’t hit it. Although, the San Marco pidgeons are the most fearless flying rats on the planet.


And another little girl was shouting: “Oma! Ich hat ein Taube auf mein Kopf!”


Some famous house.


There’s something growing in the water.


It’s Fido Dido!


Fear and Loathing in Venice.

All in all I spent around ten hours strolling about the city. By five in the afternoon I was quite full of it, and found it hard to muster much more interest for crooked channels and picturesque vistas. It being monday, no art museums were open either. Otherwise the local Guggenheim might have been a worthwhile distraction. But apart from the Biennale and the film festival, there isn’t that much of cultural interest after the novelty starts to fade, perhaps unless you are packed with money of course. One could imagine that there might be all sorts of fun to be had here with a well-fed bank account.

I was happy to get on with the journey towards Antwerpen, with a stop in Bologna, where I had a great pizza and an annoying one-and-a-half hour wait for a delayed night train to Paris. Bologna had these odd arcades covering the sidewalks over a large area in the center. Eventually I got to Paris, had to re-book my ticket to Antwerpen, and finally the excellent Thalys high-speed train. That is in my book by far the best way of travelling. Build that tunnel from Helsinki to Tallin!


The city seemed lived in and rather pleasant, and might warrant a re-visit sometime.


Air raid sirens (?) on a house in Bologna.


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