A surprise invite (and early graduation gift) saw me taking a short family trip to Venice a couple of months ago, which in turn led to quite a few nice additions to my photography portfolio. As taken aback as I was with the way the dullness of the Venetian alleys contrasted sharply with the pretty pictures of shimmering rivers and quaint buildings we’re accustomed to seeing, it was a different kind of charm that made me like the place in a way other than I expected to.
While my mum, selfie stick in hand, happily chased me round the narrow streets and bridges (of questionable strength) within the city, I took the liberty of planning out a culture-rich trip with a generous helping of museums, historic buildings, and unique sights. Impressive as it all may be, it was somewhat disconcerting to see the riches of San Marco and the adjoining piazza side by side with the numerous homeless just off the main square.
The most fascinating thing about the place is it that it operates almost exclusively on water, from the main means of public transportation down to the transportation of cargo, rubbish collection, and ambulances. After the first couple of days, you’ll find yourself adding a little bob to your walk as your body simply won’t settle to the stillness of land and even a walk from the kitchen to the bathroom will have you feeling a little seasick.
Some of the highlights of my visit included making the most of my recent camera-related purchase (a 35mm lens at f1.8, the only lens I packed this time round) and capturing some very interesting details both within and without the seemingly-infinite buildings and museums.
There is a grimy side to the city that is hardly even pictured and was the most surprising part of it all, so much so that it almost made the entire place and experience underwhelming. The water in the canals was impressively green and smelly, the streets littered and hardly kept (we even made a little mouse friend), and the city persistently crowded even though it was already October and extremely cold.
Then again, I must say that I was impressed with the number of picturesque and photo-worthy views (not to mention the sheer amount of exhibitions dedicated purely to musical instruments), and can complain about neither the good food nor the coffee. Add to that the fact that there are close to zero cars, and I’d say it was all in all a memorable trip that, whether or not I’d repeat, I’m glad to have checked off my list.