I feel like I'd like to record some random thoughts about Venice before they are less vivid in my mind.
First, some snapshots that I jotted down while there:
Birds: there are some very noisy night birds that flew over my apartment. One of them goes "ow ow ow"; one sounds like a baby crying; one sounds like a seagull, only with an accent (I imagine it's speaking Italian). One of the things that immediately summons up "Europe" to me is the bird-song; I don't know why, but there seems to be more of it here (I noticed it in Paris, too), or perhaps just different or more talkative birds. There are mourning doves, and swallows, and cormorants, and some kind of thrush and other things that I don't recognize.
Gondoliers: I find them most amusing. I like their call of "gondola, gondoli" but don't think I can bear to spend 80 to 100 euros just for the experience of hiring one. (Also, it was the one thing that I felt incapable of doing on my own - I just don't quite have the nous to be rowed very publicly alone by a gondolier through the canals) They are very much aware of how picturesque they are, and they seem to be the elite among those-who-do-things-for-tourists. They lounge about in their hats and their striped t-shirts, like lions on a hot day - slightly bored but with one predatory eye out for the main chance.
Dogs: Venice is famous for its cats, but I've actually seen almost as many dogs as I saw in Paris. And the dogs here look very well cared for and get taken out for walks on handsome leads, or recline in state on the prows of boats. Paris seemed to have mostly little toy dogs; here there are as many big ones - I've seen a great dane, and some labs, and several large terrier crosses, and an airedale and a german shepherd and several lovely sight-houndish ones that look as if they've come straight off a hunting scene on a renaissance tapestry.
Venice by the senses:
Sight: beauty. the lacy exuberance of the architecture. handsome men and beautiful girls. Bright light; dark shadows. Contrasts. I'm interested to see how many of my photos seem to show Venice as empty. Away from the crowds, there are many many quiet courtyards and deserted streets. Kitschy souvenirs and beautiful work by artisans. Art.
Sound: The continuous sound of bells. The gurgle, crunch and thump of the vaporettos. The calls of birds and the cries of the gondoliers. The sound of voices - interesting how easy it is to tell Italian from tourist, even without hearing the words. The yapping of small dogs.
Smell: fish - fresh and grilling. the baking of bread. drains. urine in the back streets. sweat and perfume and cigarette smoke. Dust and stone. The salty smell of the harbour and canals.
Touch: humidity, sunshine, cool shade, the crush of people, cobbled streets, stone.
Taste: cheese, ham, wine, prosecco, cool gelato.
I can understand why people love Venice, and why some people hate it. I love it, if that's not obvious.