Venice... Oh, how romantic!
Venice is a pretty place. Granted that it's all spruced up to earn as much revenue from Tourism as possible, but one cant but help give this city credit for the fact that it is so different from others and that there are a few places in the world that one can even compare this one with. The first thing that strikes a visitor is the incredibly (or I dare say) delicate balance between water and land. It almost seems like the former is perpetually winning the race in acquiring more area.
Let me just start with the photos...
Here to the top-left is the most famous bridge in Venice... Called the "Realto Bridge".
We felt really lucky to find a reasonable accommodation close to such an important tourist spot, but guess how it looked like... Yes, that photo to the right is the hotel I lived in - Unbelievable, but true!
It looked like a dilapidated hut. Reluctantly, we made our entrance into this so-called "hotel" and were led to our rooms - surprise of surprises - these were one of the cosiest and nicest rooms that I've seen.
For one, they had very attractive paintings on the wall.
Here's one of them -
It was only a matter of time that we realized that the crumbling facade was actually deliberate and intended to keep the city looking "old" as the tourists would like it to be!
The city itself is full of beautiful structures, impressive churches and an amazing grid of water channels, and tiny streets that couldn't even accommodate a car.
For a city fitting the above description, imagine the incredible thrill one experiences when one emerges from one of the tiny gullies to confront this huge open impressive square...
On recovery, we decided to scale that tower (which BTW is the highest point in the city) and see the view around... Scaling that tower didn't happen with ropes and a hook as it sounds - rather a pretty expensive elevator did the job for us.
Here is what Venice looks like from the top -
...The Venetian lagoons bordered by natural Lindbergh have traditionally been to the advantage of this sea city over invading forces.
Here is what St Mark's Square looks like from the Bell Tower...
Can you see those table organized in a neat grid? At night, these is even live music playing in those restaurants and taking a place on that chair costs a good 15 Âs (even before you order a coffee, that is!)
On a funny note, as I was walking around the tower, I saw a pair of cute children (perhaps, twins) solemnly seated on the towers's walls.
Being a photography freak, I couldn't but resist taking a shot... Their proud father was only to happy to oblige.
Photographing strangers is something which is perhaps particularly peculiar to me.
Walking down the narrow alleys, I came across a lady who had an incredibly colorful band attached to her spectacles! I requested her for a photo, and the pleasant friendly local that she was - she agreed.
Crazy - that's me!
Coming back to our main topic... Venice is amazingly beautiful even at night.
One often feels that one's witnessing a new place when actually one has only returned to the same point after sunset!
So, here are some photos of the places you saw above... But, this time - taken at night.
Realto Bridge again...
I spent many hours gazing into the waters, and enjoying the soft reflections.
Every now and then I would capture the moment and fiddle with my camera to make things better. Fortunately, I did have an understanding company.
While a low f-number is often necessary for taking night shots, I have found that a large f-number and a long exposure shot often results in mature colors and intense photographs.
Of course, this necessitates the use of a tripod - a constraint that I often circumvent by placing my camera on a steady surface and using the timer to effect a delayed snap (else, the vibration of the click damages the photograph).
Here is one of my favorites - taken at night - St Mark's Cathedral.
The cathedral is about 400 feet from where I have taken the photograph, and if you are wondering how I managed to find a time where so few people are on the grounds - the truth is - I didn't.
All I did was to use a very high f-number, and a very high exposure period (say 10 seconds) - this high exposure period automatically erased most people (who were moving) and resulted in a photograph where the stationary background has created a stronger impression on the moving foreground (the people). So, a few hundred people in the way were automatically eliminated.
The same for this photograph taken from the opposite side... It's the view of the square from the Cathedral.
All right... That's enough of me yak-yakking about Venice for now. Hope you enjoyed the views.
PS: Here is the culprit behind it all -