Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hodgepodge 157/365 - Walkabout

San Giacomo di Rialto
Today I decided to find six stages of a "multi" geocache called "Death in Venice," which ended up taking me all over: to Chiesa San Giacomo di Rialto with its beautiful clock (though my quarry was a statue of Atlas in the square outside the church); to Campo Santa Margherita, site of a morning fish and vegetable market, where I was to find a war memorial; past the train station and through the old Jewish ghetto to a small square that memorializes three greedy merchants; to Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, where I didn't find the drawing I was meant to, but I managed to locate the necessary information (thanks to a good hint); and finally to the church of San Giorgio dei Greci (Greek Orthodox), with a beautiful mosaic of St. George slaying the dragon. (I've just read in Wikipedia about George [280–April 23, 305], since I was unaware of the Eastern Orthodox connection: I've just always thought of him as the patron saint of England. Turns out he's widely venerated, in various strains of Christianity and also Islam.)

Here are my stops today: connect the dots for the round-trip tour
(starting at #2).

I cheated and Googled the answer for the first stage, which involves ascending to the top of the Piazza San Marco Campanile—which I fully intend to do, but this afternoon the place was a madhouse, so I decided to return at a quieter time, like first thing in the morning. The information to be gleaned there is the number of bells in the tower, which turns out to be five. According to Wikipedia, "Each of the five bells of the campanile had a special purpose. The Renghiera (or the Maleficio) announced executions; the Mezza Terza proclaimed a session of the Senate; the Nona sounded midday; the Trottiera called the members of the Maggior Consiglio to council meetings; and the Marangona, the biggest, rang to mark the beginning and ending of working day. They are tuned in the scale of A."

Throughout my tour, I scribbled down the answers I needed (dates, an address, numbers of statues or steps or bells) on a piece of paper that I stuck in my back pocket. Imagine my dismay when I arrived at my last stage—St. George—and realized the paper had fallen out somewhere along the way! But, I was pretty sure I remembered all the answers: MDCCCXXXVI, 4, 3365, 8, and 1498—that last one was right in front of me when I made my sorry discovery.

When I got back to my computer and followed the directions for using all those numbers to find the seventh and final stage, it didn't work: it put me somewhere near Padua! Uh oh.

The only number I could actually check was the one associated with the greedy merchants, since that one was in a photo I took (see below). Turned out, it wasn't 3365, but 3386! Recalculated, and . . . bingo!

So tomorrow or the next day, I need to take a vaporetto out to Isola San Michele, the cemetery island, to claim the final cache. I intended to go there anyway, so this makes me happy: to have a project, a purpose, a justification! Even if it's a frivolous one. I am on vacation, after all.

Here are some photos I took today (as always, click on them to see them large on black):

On the Grand Canal—and yes, I intend to go to the Bosch exhibition.
Pastry store in the old Jewish ghetto.

I love these little street-corner shrines—
and always the graffiti.
See the bridge yonder? the men in orange are moving a refrigerator.
The head greedy merchant, according to legend
turned to stone for his avarice (with the street
number I needed off to his left).
Fondamenta de la Sensa
That's Isola San Michele—the cemetery island—
on the right; Murano—the glass island—on the left.
I will go there one of the next few days: I have a mission!
The street shrine was joined by icons of popular culture
(Santa, King Kong—or maybe Chewbacca—etc.)
on the balcony to the right.
I walked past this fellow cleaning fiori di zucca
(squash blossoms) several times—looking for
the campo with St. George, no easy task!—
before I got up the nerve to ask for his photo.
He was fine with it!

San Marco Basilica.
The Grand Canal near the ferrovia (train station).

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