So, part of the reason we wanted to get a good night’s sleep last night, was that I wanted to get up at sunrise and get a few shots of St. Marc’s Square, without a whole heap of people occupying every square meter of the area.
Being that Bec loves to do everything with me, the “I wanna get up at sunrise”, becomes “We wanna get up at sunrise”.
I don’t know what it is about getting up super early, but I feel like I am firing on all cylinders. I mean, it takes me a little while to get going, but once I am awake, I feel a million bucks. I want to work out, I want to eat healthy, I want to read. I seriously don’t know what it is, but it feels so good when I get my day started the right way.
We follow the same path we took the other day, crossing over the Rialto at dawn. The sun has barely started to cast the morning glow yet, and the city is still fast asleep. We reach the square, and the only people in sight are the cleaners, sweeping up the evidence of the hoards from yesterday’s visit. People’s presence in the square increases equally with the glow of the sun before it kisses the horizon.
More and more tripods get set up, and there is even a photographer who has convinced his clients to get up before the sun for a photo shoot on the banks of the venetian canals. Not too bad, I say. We hang around the square and get to see the bridge of sighs for the first time without it being stupidly overcrowded. For those who don’t know, the bridge of sighs is this bridge that connects the courthouse and the jail, so once people were handed their sentence, they would be lead over the bridge, and naturally, sighs would ensue.
Hence, the ironically original name for the bridge.
We sat and watched the sun rise for the next hour while the sun pierces the horizon and throws rich orange colours across the buildings across the water. Everywhere you look, people are trying to set up their cameras in off-limits places, and the workers just starting their shifts are pretty much just playing tourist-whack-a-mole. They’re kinda effortless about it, though. Seems like its a daily occurrence.
Once the sun is high enough for the golden morning hours to wither, we make our way back to our apartment. We are checking out this morning, but we still have a little time, so we decide that instead of rushing out, we’re going to just take it slow & have another nap because we can. Bec really is not a morning person. She was definitely born for the chef’s life. We get back to our place, and nap after deconstructing the fort from the other day.
We collect our gear and make our way back to the square.
St Marc’s Square…
We are heading back to the square because while we were talking with Micky & Damo yesterday, Damo told us that we have to go check out St Marc’s Cathedral. We’ve seen a few cathedrals throughout Europe, and they are all pretty impressive, but, at the same time, they are all cathedrals, so I question whether it is worth our time, plus we don’t wanna pay to just go see another cathedral.
“Mate… Its free”
*Damo chuckling* – “Yeah mate. Just trust me.”
Most of the time when people say to me, “Just trust me”, I still don’t trust them. Damo is one of the people when, if he says “Just trust me”, I’d trust him. So, with that in mind, that is what we have decided to do. But for some unholy reason, we didn’t think to just make the one trip to the square, and bring our bags with us the first time around. Instead, we walked there for the sunrise, walked back for a sleep, then walked back to the square to check out the church.
We could have done one trip with our gear, but instead, we had to make 3 trips. By the time we come back, it is pretty much midday. Not quite, but in the spirit of rounding the time to the nearest half of the day, it is midday, and we have dumped our insane amount of gear by the seats. The queue for the church doesn’t take too long to get through, and once you are in, you can understand why there is a queue as long as it is.
The roof is laden with gold. This is no exaggeration. All 4200 sqm of the domed roofs are lined with actual real gold. Naturally, to see the rest of the church or to head upstairs for the view, you have to pay, so I am happy to just experience this place from the inside. That, in itself is impressive enough. I wander around and gawk at the insane amount of detail and work that has gone into this church all over. There are chandeliers that hang on chains from the top of the domed roofs, right down to eye level.
There are signs everywhere saying that you are not allowed to take photos of the building, but that doesn’t stop the throngs of sight seers taking whatever photos they want, in full view of the security guards. The signs are almost comical, since nobody takes any heed to them whatsoever. One guy could not give a rats ass, and instead of walking another 10m toward the exit, just jumps over the barricade, right in front of the security also. I am beginning to think that the security is more of a novelty than a necessity.
Bec heads into the church to have a look for herself. We wrap up our time in St Marc’s square and head to a little cafe & patisserie while we wait for our time to head to the airport. This guy from Albania is cooking up the pizzas behind us, and for the next few hours, I’ll look over my shoulder to him and give him the thumbs up, vs. thumbs down signal when switching between two edits. Being that his English isn’t amazing, and my Albanian is non-existent, thumbs up and down become our most reliable means of communication.
We sit here, I edit images, and Bec reads her book for the next four hours.
The time comes for us to board the ferry to the Venice airport. Thats right… A ferry to the airport. We collect our gear and make our way down to the docks. Luckily for us, there are a few other punters waiting for the same reason, so we just sit next to them. They seem to know what is going on, so we just follow their lead.
Being that this is only the second time that we have been on the water since we have been in Venice, we leave our luggage below, and spend pretty much the whole journey to the airport on the deck, with Bec snapping away at all the things that catch her eye. She’s really sharpened up when it comes to photography in the last few months.
The things that I would usually have to correct without fail, she is all over, and surprising me with the well balanced exposures and really well framed compositions. This instance is no exception.
She nails shot after shot, snapping onlookers from balconies, a trio of gondola operators, and life happening on the banks of the floating city.
We literally step off the boat, and into the terminal. I spot a heap of baggage trolleys parked up in the corner, and I am a big fan of not having to carry my bags longer than is necessary. Bec opts to just keep her bags on her all the time. I feel like I am winning this time around. We walk into the terminal, and Bec gets to take the escalators, because she doesn’t have a trolley. I have to take the lift. The doors open, and there is a travelator, with the usual posts in the way, to stop people doing things like taking the baggage trolleys on.
However, they look a touch too wide, so I try my luck, and go to push the baggage trolley though, and as the engineers would have it, my baggage trolley is stopped firmly in it’s tracks with a decent ‘thud’, this is soon followed by Bec’s laughter, as her holding of her baggage has paid off exceptionally this time around.
I crack up laughing, as she glides down the travelator, watching me hitch my bags back on my back. We find somewhere to chill out, and soon enough our flight is ready to board. I can honestly say that I have literally never dealt with ruder airport staff in my life. We have strapped our sleeping bags to the front of our packs, and in 7 flights, we have not had any issues. Now, however, we have to take it all apart, put them in separate plastic bags, and then put them through as separate baggage.
The best bit, is that the attendant pokes a hole in the bag that she made us put the sleeping bags in, so that she can attach the baggage tag. Bec and I hang our heads and stare at each other in disbelief, soon followed with a slow shake of our heads at the ridiculousness of it all.
We board the plane, and sure enough, we are on our way to Barcelona.
I sleep most of the way, I mean these cheap flights don’t give you incentive to do much else. The food costs a premium, and it sucks, so its better to sleep so that you don’t feel so hungry. There is a hole in the seat in front of you, where the tv was either meant to be, or it once was, so no movies are happening. Lastly, it is pitch black, so you can’t see too much outside anyways. All round, the best bet is to sleep, so that is what we do.
Landing in Barcelona, we follow the hoards of people wanting to reach the city too. We would soon discover that this bus we needed to take was the last bus to leave the station for the night. We keep our eyes open with the fear or walking 20km to reach our accommodation for the night. By the time we arrived at the airbnb at 2am, and our hosts, Jess and Rory are more than cool.
They are a young couple, Jess is Spanish, born and bred, and Rory is from the UK, but he should have been born in Spain. He’s so laid back it isn’t funny, even at 2am, chatting with us about life in Barcelona and all the things he loves about Spain that the UK can’t offer him.
Its really cool.
But, as cool as that is, sleep is super dooper cool too, and on that note, we slip under the sheets and pass out in an instant.
Come back for the next story,