Friday, April 7, 2017

Hodgepodge 160/365 - Ready

I confess: I am starting to feel ready to be back to the humdrum reality of home.

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo,
a.k.a. the Snail
I do like Venice, but I seem to have hit it during the Easter break for many countries. This afternoon, for example, some two dozen Francophone schoolkids spent what seemed like forty-five minutes shrieking and literally hammering on the walls in my otherwise quiet little courtyard. Where were the adults? Who knows . . . Nowhere nearby, apparently. There are also Dutch school groups, German school groups, Spanish school groups, even Italian school groups, roaming the city in more or less organized packs, usually steered by a teacher or two. Today I found myself heading in other directions when I saw a horde of teenagers, but alas, there was really no escape.

And then there's the Disneyland
feel of the gondolas in the
small canals, all ganged up for
a shared intimate experience...
I am also not crazy about how expensive Venice is. This morning I found (via geocaching) a stunning staircase that one may hike to the top of for what I imagine is a stellar view of the city and its surroundings—for a mere €7. That struck me as a tad steep, especially since I'd just come from a free view on the rooftop of the local premium department store. Later, I bought a €20 ticket to the four Piazza San Marco museums. I was especially interested in the Correr, an extensive city museum that is also hosting an exhibition of drawings by Poussin and C├ęzanne—for €10 extra, it turned out; and the Palazzo Ducale, which has a special exhibit of Bosch—for €12. I did not avail myself of the special exhibits, but I did very much enjoy the regular museums. It's not like I can't afford the extras; however, it felt like nickel-and-diming, and I wasn't in the mood. I will rest content with the Guggenheim art collection, which was worth every penny of the €16 admission fee.

This evening, though, I'm splurging: a ten-minute walk to La Fenice for the symphony, conducted by Jeffrey Tate: Schubert's "Unfinished" and the 3rd symphony, Op. 63, of one Alfredo Casella (Italian, 1883–1947). That was one thing we did when we were here before, attend a chamber music concert at La Fenice, and we were so tickled at the end to be able to simply walk out the door and back to the hotel! No cars to hassle with! So civilized.

I did not know until the other day that the theater suffered a major fire in 1996 (its third in its 250-plus-year history, making its name, "the phoenix," especially apropos). So this will not be the same theater I sat in that last time. But I'm sure I'll still enjoy the experience. I don't expect there to be gaggles of schoolkids in attendance.

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