( or Drystone Walling and the Dolomites )

Venetian Labyrinth From Above

Day 3. 23 June 2006

Friday. I faired better on my second morning in getting cold milk for my cereal; also realised that yesterday I drank my coffee unknowingly straight from the jug which perhaps goes some way to explain the strange looks that I received from signora upon bringing me my (hot) milk.

Setting off back to a, still mercifully quiet, Piazza San Marco, I take the lift (I am disappointed that there are no stairs to climb – and count) up St Mark’s bell tower. The sun is bright, and the sky, the richest of blues; from the gallery beneath the bells, where there are telephones for ‘Calling Home’, a fantastic panorama of the city and of the lagoon is laid out before me with perfect visibility.

Whilst I am up above the city, looking down, as the bell towers below strike out of the hour of ten – some like the Torre dell’Orologio with it’s life size copper men beating out the time – I notice that the queue for the Basilica is already half way round the square and in full sun. As I leave the tower through a back door within the red brick façade, the queue for the lift too, is lengthening.

Walking the length of Piazza San Marco, I leave through the colonnaded arcade, between the fashionable boutiques and expensive jewellery stores, and make my way back onto Frezzaria and to ‘La Venexiana Atelies’ mask shop where I learn which are the traditional, and which the fashion masks. Heading on west towards the Grand Canal I find another bookshop, piled high with books but with a no less agreeable shopkeeper. Sadly this shop does not have a Tabacco #012 map for the area of the Dolomiti for which I am headed tomorrow…

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Current Location: Oxfordshire/Venice