Finally! A ride on a gondola!
Yes, it's a gondola. Perhaps not the 'proper' tourist ones, but still the form, method of propulsion and everything else is the same. They're on the little Tragetto that takes one from one side of the canal to the other at 50 cents a pop. Lara was delighted. The gondoleer appeared to be quietly amused, too.
Furthermore, guess how many gondolas she spotted on THIS excursion to Venice? Let's put it into perspective. We looked it up, and there are about 400-odd gondolas registered and working in Venice. Lara spotted 204. She is truly obsessed. We spent most of the time indoors, how she managed to cover so much ground is a mystery. In acknowledgement, I (voluntarily, mind you) bought her the tackiest tourist piece of **** you've clapped eyes on in a long time, to her intense delight. A plastic gondola, brightly painted, that rocks back and forth to solar power.
The difference between the Tragetto and the 'regular' barks did not go unnoticed.
"The gondola we went in didn't have red cushions."
"No, that's right. Ours was just a little ride."
"Do the ones with the red cushions go on long rides?"
"Yes, they generally go much further."
"Will we go on a gondola with red cushions?"
"When you're bigger and have an Italian lover, he can take you on a gondola with red cushions."
"You can have a boyfriend who'll take you on a gondola ride."
"Whaley, when I'm bigger I can have a ride in a gondola with red cushions with an Italian boyfriend, and go for a loooong ride."
"You know, strictly speaking, you don't have to have an Italian boyfriend to take a ride in a gondola. It was a little bit of a joke."
"Oh. " (Pause) "It will be a long ride, though?"
... Sorry, bit of a digression.
We actually spent most of the time indoors, this time. The main object of the visit was the Academia. Have to say, the Littles did remarkably well. We were in there for about three hours, and she was looking at the paintings pretty much throughout - and I mean really looking. Mind you, it is a fantastic place, pf course. If you're going to learn about painters, it's not a bad venue to start. She got very good at spotting the following people:
- John the Baptist (or John the Bactrian, as she kept calling him - probably on account of his habitual dishevelled appearance) - Dude with the long hair, hairy clothes, and quite often a sheep.
- St Peter - Old dude with the keys
- St Paul - Old dude with a sword and book
- St Jerome - skinny old dude usually writing something, with a sorry-looking lion curled up at his feet
- (Of course) Mary and Jesus. Either 'baby' Jesus or it's going to be on the cross, or off the cross. As she put it, 'why are there so many pictures of Jesus on the cross?' Well, one does wonder. I tried to explain that they reckoned it was an important part of the story, so they kept painting it. Couldn't help thinking she would rather they had done a few more pictures of gondolas, instead.
- 'Annunciation' (still having trouble remembering that word, usually does get as far as the 'An' ) Dopey-looking lady, big angel, lily, pigeon.
- St George - Dude in armour, usually with something that doesn't look remotely like a dragon.
- And rather surprisingly, God. There were a number of Gods either in the paintings and even one stuck on the ceiling. She didn't mind the Gods but thought the inevitable putti and cherubs circling about like overfed maggots were really not necessary at all... and I have to say I agree. The ones with just the heads stuck onto wings are the worst.
There was an vast amount of Lorenzo Lotto, whom she got quite familiar with. He ended up being called 'the Piggy guy' because the first painting she say by him was a small picture of two exceedingly ugly women, which she expressed a violent dislike to. However, he improved considerably upon acquaintance and she was not averse to a good number of other of his other pieces.
There was also a huge amount of Tintoretto. He was reasonably approved of for several reasons. The first painting she saw by him had LOADS of animals and I think was called something like God Creating the Animals. Secondly, his predilection for positioning people at odd angles and shooting them in from the corners of the canvass made for interesting spectating. There was a hell of a lot of St Mark about the place.
... Just realised you probably don't want to hear quite so much about a six-year-old's views on the Academia. Anyway, we had a jolly good time.
Counting gondolas from the ferry
Bridge of sighs
Girl Pigeon, and Tower.
At about this point Lara was deemed a tourist attraction and a random Chinese guy insisted on having his picture taken with her.
Whale found a great pizza take-out for lunch. Added excitement when pigeons joined in. Afterwards there was even hot chocolate and brioche.
Just a passing sign I though was rather amusing.
Whale and Lara on the way home in the train.