Thursday, December 25, 2008

Buon Natale

"It's the Venice of Italy."

- my brother, in the comments section

So after all the deliberations and stress and minor psychosomatic aliments, I'll be in Venice for Christmas. It's still Christmas Eve here in Europe, but since this blog's set to AEST time, I'd better do the blogging now, rather than tommorrow. Don't think I'll be waking up in time for that.

Venice is a profoundly depressing place to be in at Christmas. It's cold and wet and there's a permanent mist that covers everything. There's this sense of brooding melancholy about the place, as if the city's dwelt too long on it's long and sordid history to really give a damn about the present. The paint's peeling, the plaster's cracking and the buildings are slowly sinking back into the mud.

Plus, there's no one around. Just a few tourists taking advantage of the low season. And just a few leeches taking advantage of the tourists. There ARE locals around (I see them in the supermarket sometimes), but you've got to know where to look, I suppose. They tend to stay out of the tourist streets. And tourists tend to stay near the tourist streets, because once you stray two blocks away, you become hopelessly lost.

My dormmate said that Venice is a dying city, and that's right for a lot of reasons. It's drowning in a sea of tourists. It's drowning in a sea of brackish water. It's drowning under the weight of its own history. And it's losing people because, these days, it doesn't generate anything othet than tourism. You get the feeling that in 20 years time, Venice will consist entirely of B&Bs, hotels, and street hawkers. And considering this city used to be the strongest maritime power in the Mediterrean, that's a bit sad.


Anonymous said...

Ah well, it's still nice to see the city. It's probably better in the off season when there are not as many tourists.

Hope you will have a good time in Spain.

Your brother

Connolly's agent said...

Actually, on Christmas Day, the fog lifted and there were clear, blue skies until I left. so I was able to see what the fuss was about in Venice. It's a great experience walking through the alleyways as the sun sets - the light catches the water in the canals, and the brick walls of the houses seem almost sunburnt with redness.

Still, if it came to canals and houses, I'd prefer Amsterdam to Venice. Probably heretical, but I didn't really feel the magic from Venice.