Walking through Venice allowed us to enjoy what was unique about the city, such as this lamp.
I have always felt the best way to learn about a city is to walk its streets. (I feel the same way about a forest.) Fortunately, I was travelling in Europe with companions who also loved to walk. For the most part, we skipped the tours recommended by the cruise line. It isn’t that the tours were bad… we enjoyed the ones we did, but they are regimented and expensive. There is no wandering off on your own, or taking longer to enjoy a particular site than the tour leader allows.
Venice is a great walking city… if you don’t mind getting a little lost. Streets have a tendency to take you somewhere you weren’t planning to go and come to abrupt ends. Street signs are rare. What the city does do, however, is post signs that will eventually lead to major monuments. And of course, you are on a relatively small island. How lost can you get?
A good map is an important tool when walking off the beaten path (or main tourist routes). We didn’t always agree on where we were or the proper route to take, however… and we all considered ourselves experts in map reading. Our companions caught many photos of us studying and ‘discussing’ maps. This was in Venice. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Common sense is important. Wandering down dark, lonely alleys can be risky at times, regardless of where you are. But in restricting your journey to major streets and walkways, you limit your opportunities to have adventures and develop a true sense of the communities you are visiting.
It is important to look around and notice the small as well as the large, the seemingly insignificant as well as what is featured in the guidebooks. Photography helps, I believe, once you get beyond ‘we were there snap shots’ and allow your mind to feast on the wonderful variety that any area offers. It teaches you to see new things and to seek out what is unique. Following are various locations and objects that Peggy and I found of interest.
This photo provides a good example of our wandering off the main tourist routes of Venice.
Of course, you can always stop and ask for directions…
We found this open air market just off of the Rialto Bridge. Even on a cold, rainy day, it was packed with people. I suspect there was a fair amount of Christmas shopping going on since it was mid-December.
I don’t remember where I came upon this friendly looking, gargoyle-type of lion in Venice, but it was definitely worth a photo.
I felt this photo captured the colorful buildings and flower boxes of Venice streets. Also note the green pharmacy sign and green pharmacy lamp on the lower left.
One thing you find much more of in Europe than in the US are flower boxes. I can depend on Peggy to photograph them. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Another example of window flower boxes in Venice. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
I captured this colorful shot of a window flower box in Venice.
The Hotel Iris is definitely not one of your more swank hotels in Venice… and it knows it. I looked it up online and its website headline proclaimed: Hotel Iris: A Cheap hotel in Venice. Cheap was capitalized by the hotel. I consider that truth in advertising. In the US it would be “affordable lodging.”
One of the advantages of a telephoto lens is it allows you to capture detail you can’t normally see. I doubt I would have spotted the Winged Lion of St. Mark in the center of this starred 24 hour roman numeral clock found off of St. Mark’s Square. Note the wild minute hand. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
I am always intrigued by what I consider as invitations, such as this stairwell in Venice. It’s saying “Come and climb up. See what’s up here.” Unfortunately, the locked iron fence said something else.
Speaking of iron fences in Venice, was this one saying “Take my picture.” or “Don’t even think about climbing over!”?
NEXT BLOG: Window shopping in Venice. Think Masks.