Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Venice Part Ten

Our final day in Venice dawned, and we had an earlier start than usual, with the whole business of checking out from the convent to be completed. That done, we made for the Doge's Palace (officially known as the Palazzo Ducale). The Doge was the head of state in the Venetian Republic, while it lasted, and the palace is located beside the Basilica, just off St Mark's Square.

The Palace contains not only the official residence of the Doge, but also the state chambers, for the different meeting rooms and chambers, as well as the Republic's courtrooms. The tour allows visitors to see all these areas, with their impressive paintings on the walls and the gilded decorations. The only downside was that the palace was crowded with lots of tour groups (in various languages), so in some of the rooms there was a bit of a crush.

Near the end of the tour, you move across the Bridge of Sighs, an enclosed bridge high up, which leads over a canal to the prisons. None of the cells were very big, and if you suffer from claustrophobia, then it isn't the place for you. After the tour we had some free time before heading off to the airport.

So for my last few hours in Venice, I set off on the riverbus and crossed to the Salute church. This was a plague church, built to give thanks for the ending of a plague, and is completely circular. The central section of the church is roped off, but you can get right around the outer edge of the interior. From there, I passed the Guggenheim Collection of modern art – it just isn't my thing, and went over Accademie to check my emails again in my favourite internet cafe. Next on the agenda was a wander up towards the Rialto, for the last bit of window and stall shopping, then across to get lunch in the place we had eaten dinner on the first night. Again, it was of course pizza, and was most enjoyable. I still wasn't getting fed up of the salami pizzas, so that did me for lunch.

Then it was off down the Grand Canal again on the riverbus, to Accademie, where I set off back towards the convent, spending the last half hour of so people watching and enjoying an ice cream in the sunshine in the square outside St Barnabas, waiting on Indiana Jones to appear. Sadly, he didn't show up during my time, so I headed back to the convent.

Our departure was as our arrival, in that we returned back up the Grand Canal to the bus station, and then on out to the airport. The flight home was rather good, and I managed to get a good bit of reading done during the flight. Oh, and the hot panini with ham and cheese was very hot! With a good drive up the M1, I was home for just before midnight, and glad to be home!

On reflection, the study trip was well worth it, giving us experiences of meeting people from different backgrounds and experiences (Lutherans from Germany and Tanzania, Anglicans from Italy, Tanzania and Nigeria, the Waldensian pastor), as well as showing us at firsthand the various styles of church architecture and the periods of church history. A big thank you must go to the principal for arranging the trip and some finance towards it, and also to Alan for arranging the meetings and activities with his contacts in Venice.

No comments:

Post a Comment