Day 1 – March 2, 2019
2019 Carnival of Venice
Yes, Italy was our much awaited trip for #nohanoorulexplorers in 2019. The hubby and I had been to Italy on our official assignments before. But this time around, we wanted to explore it as retirees. After all, time is on our side.
The first pit-stop was Venice. Together, we had also made the journey to Venice thirty years ago in 1988. Besides Venice, we were in Rome at that point of time then. I vividly remember standing in the centre of Saint Marcs Square during winter time on my first visit to Venice. I was envying the many gondolas parked along the Square. Being the young civil servants, the hubby and I were then on a shoestring budget vacation, hence we could not afford to ride the gondola.
It was an emotional and lovely sight when I caught the view of the Canal of Venice. After 30 years, I was back in this unique city. Unique? There is only one Venice with its gondolas in this whole wide world. There can never be a replication of it. Ever.
We rented a boat to take us to the H10 Hotel, which was conveniently located along the canal. It was heartening to realise that the hotel was exactly next to the canal. Great! I knew that I would be enjoying the canal view overlooking the famous Rialto Bridge.
On the very day that we arrived, the hubby and I went to the famous St Marc’s Square. We were not aware that there was a big carnival for the past week until the hotel staff informed us. I would say that it was really a blessing in disguise to be in Venice at this time which coincided with the carnival. It was truly a great experience for me.
The Carnival of Venice is a much awaited annual event in Venice. Besides adorning the beautiful and unique costumes, the participants (mostly tourists) have entered the The Best Masked Costume Contest 2019 with the Award Ceremony held on March 3, 2019.
I was simply in awe of the costumes. I guess the pictures attached can justify my statement on this. Some of the costumes were extraordinary and too unique for words. Some were dressed as The Pirates of Caribbeans and some in beautiful gowns with their colourful costumes.
I must say that I had a jovial time snapping pictures of the participants.
Looking around, the hubby and I decided to join the fun. There I was wearing a pink feathered mask – “Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story.” – Marty Rubin.
Both the hubby and I had a blast at the Carnival of Venice, definitely.
Day 2 – March 3, 2019
The first thing of the day was to practice my selfie skill at the entrance of the H10 hotel. I couldn’t help it, what with the bright background of the Grand Canal. In addition, the hubby who happens to be an avid photographer would be too busy snapping his own pictures.
Walking around this city of canals, nothing much has changed since my first visit in 1988. Except that it is now so much cleaner than before, the canals are not that smelly.
The walk brought us to the many buildings with Gothic architecture surrounding the Grand Canal. Surprisingly, the Byzantine and Ottoman influences – with the famous Gothic architecture had reached out to this part of the world.
The influences have definitely gifted the nostalgic ambience of present Venice. I deduced that trading amongst the different powerful empires centuries ago had also actually impacted on the architectural outlook of Venice. Also, I was made to understand that since the buildings were to be built above the canal, therefore, certain architectural styles and regulations were adopted. This was to ensure safety and preservations of the old buildings.
And, of course, no visit is complete without a pix at Rialto Bridge. Built in 1181, tourists flock to ensure that they have a pix at this location. Since our hotel was right across the bridge, and also by the fact that the hubby was fascinated with the bridge, I think we had taken hundreds of pics of the bridge.
Come to think of it. The difference between now and 30 years ago, when I first visited the bridge, is that the utilisation of technology (smartphones) has made accessibility of photography sessions in all corners of the bridge.
Day 3 – March 4, 2019
Romantic Gondola Ride
The gondola is a branding image of Venice. What is Venice without its famous gondolas?
The gondolas can be seen plying along the Grand Canal and smaller waterways of Venice. The cost per ride of a gondola is 80 Euros. Going through the waterways, I saw the abode of Marco Polo and unique architectures of centuries old buildings.
The image of a gondola reflects a romantic feeling. As such, when the hubby and I were seated on the colourful sofa of a gondola, I was expecting the gondola man to sing a romantic song.
Maybe I have been into too much of this romantic gondola man in movies. He did sing anyways. But, he was intermittently interrupted by incoming phone calls. He had to answer the calls. In conclusion, my romanticism of a singing gondola man dies along with technology – the smart phone.
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