Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving on the Canal Grande

This is the View from the Palazzo where a group of Americans held their national holiday.  Not that anyone but I bothered to open the windows to experience the thrill of the view.

Here is the Grand Room of the Palazzo Mocenigo where the festivities are to take place.  This room is surrounded by other rooms on 2 floors, making it a "courtyard".  Also making it a fantastic 3 dimensional runway for the dozen grade schoolers in attendance.  The Palazzo rattled and shook.

                                          Just too fast for the camera!!

These amazingly beautiful chandeliers from Murano are each over 6 feet tall, and just barely fit their place in the large room.  But they are up to their job...

Ah! its that time in a Thanksgiving Dinner where people relax, talk, and wait for the desert...With 60 Americans waiting it usually  isn't this calm, but here the definition of 'American' has been enlarged, to include anyone from the Western Hemisphere, and their spouses...or friends.  Quite egalitarian, and fits the notion of Thanksgiving as the holiday which all the world should share.

It was dark, but the food and talk was above par.  (Yes, some of these Venetians talked golfing at the course in Venice, who knew?)  The Cabernet was delicious, and went well with the 4 or 5 types of dressing ('stuffing'), a large Turkey, chicken, for those who don't appreciate Turkey (kids), Chicken Cacciatore, French green beans, salad, acqua minerale, and....pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cheese cake, carrot cake, and whatever.  Alas, no espresso.  I guess that's American.

There was not too much talking about America, but all the expates and hangers-on had a great time thanks to our wonderful and generous host Steve Green... Mille Grazie.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Arrival: Getting my feet wet

I have only arrived in Venice by car or train.  This time I arrived at Marco Polo airport, to be surprised that there is Vaporetto service from the airport to several stops in Venice. It is truly a wonderful way to arrive.  There is a 7 minute walk from the airport terminal to the harbor, and as I was dragging my wheeled luggage I was wondering what I was doing coming to Venice at all, but when I got on the boat, that nautical motion made me feel right at home and I knew it was a good decision.  The Vaporetto service is only several years old, and when it was instituted they also had a shuttle between the terminal and the docks, but intergovernmental bickering shut it down, so now we are all forced to walk, fortunately the weather was nice.  This state of affairs is something I thought only New Yorkers would put up with, making the the experience all the more familiar.

My first day started early, as a ferocious alarm went off in the middle of the night.  It seems that an alarm is sounded 3 hours before Acqua Alta, so, if the high water is at 8 in the morning, the alarm is sounded at 5AM.  Pleasant.  Anyway, my first job was to buy boots. Everyone in Venice walks around in waders, giving this most aesthetic city a distinctly casual air.  Having gotten booted up, I took a cruise down the Canale Grande. Acqua Alta was making itself known to the great Palazzos.  The vision of the Ca' d'Oro ground floor under 2 feet of water twice a day is the shocking reality that the Venetian water problem isn't just bothering tourists, but actively destroying the city.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Starting out...still in East Hampton

Here we are on Hook Pond, about 1895...Thomas Moran's Gondola, brought back from the fabled city of its origin, with a gondolier, for picnics on the pond next to the ocean.  What an idea!

I am off to that city, the door to Cathay, to study the language of Dante, and amuse myself in the fantasy of the real citta de Venezia.