Venice | A Visual Feast

Sat in the “love-seat” of the gondola with one of my travel buddies as a stand-in lover (thanks for nothing Paris and Rome), I waited patiently for the gondolier to start singing sweetly as I took in the picture-perfect canal scenes surrounding me. That’s supposed to be the deal in Venice, right? Sit in gondola, get sung to by gondolier? Nope. This guy spent the whole 15-minute voyage across the Venetian seas (not taking a bit of poetic license here or anything) yakking away on his cell phone, giving us a proper earful of the best belly-laugh I have ever heard in my life. Honestly, he was laughing so hard I thought he was  going to go toppling off the back of the boat, leaving us stranded like five tourists up an Italian creek without a paddle, and then he’d really be the worst gondolier ever. Alas, to my surprise, he paddled on.

What didn’t come as a surprise, though, was that out of nine different cities visited throughout the Topdeck Eurotrip, Venice was one of my favourite to photograph. The city is a  network of interlinking, winding canals atop which float gondolas and fresh vegetable markets alike, made more complex by an endless maze of streets lined with colourful building facades and stores selling marzipan, elegant glassware and the gaudiest of masks. At the centre of all this seeming chaos is St Marks Square, a breath of fresh air and wide open space – albeit scattered with pesky pigeons and tourists – to remedy any feelings of claustrophobia. So, really, the photographic opportunities are infinite.

Take a visual walk with me through Venice, and feast your eyes on a seemingly fantastical, but truly enchanting, floating world – comic gondoliers and all.

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Great looking, terrible singing (the gondolier, that is)
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For the best views, grab the front seat of the gondola all to yourself

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In the Middle Ages, gondolas were used by Venetians as an effective form of transportation from one island to the next. Today, there are only about 400 gondolas in use in Venice, and they are mostly a tourist gimmick – although I’d still recommend hopping aboard one as the ride offers a different perspective of the city

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Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) forms the centre piece of this enchanting city, with the Basilica and Campanile at the helm
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Oh hey, there’s me, milling about awkwardly as usual
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Looking down on St Mark’s Square from the campanile
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Look out for crazy pigeons (and camera-wiedling tourists) in the Square
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You haven’t done Venice right unless you get wondrously lost in this labyrinth of cobbled streets and twisting canals (this view of ochre rooftops also from the campanile)
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The Bridge of Sighs
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After losing your way in the maze, find yourself and feed your soul with a steaming bowl of pesto pasta, enjoyed at the water’s edge (see my previous post for more on Italian food carbs)
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The Carnevale di Venezia is held annually, and is renowned for its masks, each with a unique, symbolic meaning. Masks are sold from numerous stores in the city and make for great souvenirs. While they may be delicate, they are light additions to a suitcase, and you can pack your clothing around them as protection – I used my socks as make-shift bubblewrap. Meander off the beaten path and try to find a handmade one from a small shop in a back street, far away from the expensive, factory-made souvenirs sold near St Mark’s square.
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A South African and an Aussie in Venice, Italy #wordly

I hope you enjoyed this photo diary, and my other European adventures! In the coming months I’ll be blogging a little bit more about my own hood (Cape Town a.k.a the most beautiful city in the world #sorrynotsorry) and my second-home, Plettenberg Bay – a coastal town that forms part of South African’s Garden Route, and where I spend my Summers.  I look forward to sharing with you my favourite foodie spots (cos food = life), beaches, hikes and other adventures.

Until then xx

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