Yes, as the post title indicates, we watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on the train ride back to Kharkov last night just because of the Venetian setting. And also because we love to giggle at the ridiculous logic and wonderful awesomeness of this movie. And because six hours on a train is a looong time.
On the overnight train out to Kiev on Thursday, we were kept awake all night by the guys Alex nicknamed “Beavis & Butthead” in the room next to my bed and the “Cackling Sisters” in the one next to his. We caught a snooze on the two-hour flight from Kiev to Venice, then hit the ground running, stopping for gelato three times that afternoon. Our feet complained the entire weekend, because we basically walked the entire time–I firmly believe the purpose of Venice is to wander around and get lost.
We stopped by the Accademia to say hi to a few of my favorite paintings (shoutout to my man Giovanni Bellini!). Then we spent a lovely hour wandering around one of our favorite churches in the world, the Frari (which also happens to house a lovely Bellini altarpiece and my favorite Titian). The Frari is huge–Alex and I had both somehow forgotten this, because it feels so intimate, it has a tranquil feel and amazing aesthetic harmony that makes it seem like a tiny little church you could hold in the palm of your hand. There was a recently-opened room with reliquaries and monstrances, so my art history nerdiness enjoyed quite the treat of intricate metalwork and old remnants of saints. (For those not already familiar with my complimentary interests in art history, religion, and human physicality… let me just say: preserved body parts and bizarre saint stories and symbolic liturgic rituals, oh, my! …Yes, I watch Bones, why do you ask?)
We wandered up and down the Rialto bridge a few times, and wove through streets between Rialto and San Marco a million times, stopping by shops along the way for calzones, flaky baked treats, gelato, and far too many souvenirs, including two kinds of chocolate pasta that I’m going to have to figure out how to use.
I know that loving Venice is ubiquitous, like loving chocolate or snuggly blankets or Mozart, but I can’t help it–I just love that place to death (insert obvious Death in Venice pun here). I teared up when we got to Saint Mark’s Square and I saw those glittering mosaics over the doorways, and I teared up again in the Frari. Alex kept half-teasing that he couldn’t believe it had been so long since he’d been there, he should have come back sooner–he was last in Venice in 2007, I was last there in 1997. I’d forgotten how magical a city without the sound of car traffic can be, and since I hadn’t stayed on the island itself last time, I hadn’t experienced nighttime Venice, when the streets empty of tourists and it’s just locals running home with a hot pizza for dinner. Yup. MAGICALNESS [insert sparkles and glitter].
Alex shot a roll of slide film on his Hassie that we need to drop off for developing, and I shot a ridiculous 250-ish photos in the 36 hours we were there. Since we’ll be in India this weekend and next, I’m not entirely sure when I’m going to be editing and posting these, let alone those from previous trips–we’ve got quite the photo backlog! At some point, we’ll have some weekends here at home and get down to it. Really. I can stop hopping on a plane anytime. Addicted? Nah.