|Some of the fabric bought for the costumes|
|Some more rolls of fabric ready to be turned into costumes|
|My mask in progress.|
Because I am writing (from his point on) several weeks (no, wait a minute, it's actually months) after the event I am not going to attempt to give a full account. I'll try a share a few pictures to give a flavour of the trip to Venezia and the 2018 carnevale. I shall back date this entry though so that it it falls within a sensible timeline within the context of the blog.
I have so many photographs of the other costumes, but this was a family from Switzerland. Their costumes were beautiful and the children were brilliant and very patient posing for hundreds of photographs, but the little one was SO cold, poor mite!
This gentleman, Philip Von Reutter, is a carnival veteran and well into his seventies. He borrowed the little masked dog from a passing visitor and posed for a few photographs. (edit: Very sadly, Philip passed away in May 2018. For many he characterised the spirit of carnival and will be missed. His costumes were incredibly inventive. I recommend you look for a photograph of his Van Gogh! Oh, okay I'll post one at the end of this essay.)
|Philip Von Reuter|
These were our day costumes, the ones created by P for this year's carnival. I think Miss M's arms may have been tired by this point. We each had starry, psychedelic banners to hold behind us. The original concept was that they be the walls of a music box out of which we would emerge to do a special dance. I could have predicted we'd be so tight for time on the costumes we'd have no chance to realise the concept properly. As it was, people thought we were celestial beings, and the music box walls became starry banners, not representations of sounds and music! I'd probably have thought the same, so I can't argue.
|l-r Marsh, P, The Divine Miss M.|
|Marsh and P share an intimate moment near the Ponte dei Sospiri.|
|The Tits Bridge end of Old Whore Street|
|Copping a feel on Tits Bridge|
As last time we were able to spend a few days seeing the sights. David took us to see many places we had not seen before including the rooftop terrace of the second largest building in Venice that dates from 1285. Now it is a luxury goods megastore, but it was originally a centre for trade. From the terrace much of Venice is visible.
|Kings (or Queens?) on the rooftop terrace of the 800 year old Fondaco dei Tedeschi, the second largest building in Venice.|
|Seeing Venice from the water is definitely the best|
Of course Venice has a massive cultural history. Listed in many travel guides as one of the world's "must-see" bookshops the Alta Acqua Libreria fulfils and confounds every expectation and is crowded with visitors. It is stacked from floor to ceiling with (mostly) second-hand books. They are stored according to subject. It also lives up to its name. In case of high water, many of the books are ready piled in a gondola and there are some in enamel bath-tubs too. At the back of the shop is a tiny courtyard and the shop owner has created a staircase from old books. Of course we all had to climb it to see over the wall to the adjacent canal.
The visit was over far too quickly. Eight days is not enough to see everything. It is barely enough to realise that Venice is truly unique in the world and that it is the only city in the world to which I am determined to return. There never has been, nor ever will be again, a place like Venice. Climate change is a very real threat. A month after our visit the Piazza San Marco was nearly waist-deep in water during the Alta Acqua (high tide).
In addition to lots of walking and visits to all kinds of buildings we had seen the works of Titian and and attended a concert of music by Vivaldi. I gave two short performances in the hotel on different evenings. On one of the evenings I sang Referendum Rag. When I got to the harmonica solo, the "Ode To Joy" part, the whole audience sang along - funny, moving and most unexpected. That has never happened when I've sung the song in the UK!
|One of Matteo Chinellato's photographs of Philip Von Reuter's Van Gogh|