Monday, May 16, 2011

Picture of the Week: Crutches

My swollen ankle and the wrist-high crutches I will be using for the next few weeks. More on my injury and the Italian healthcare system later on this week.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Picture of the Week: Graz Graffiti

Some interesting graffiti along the Mur River in Graz, Austria.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Revisiting Venice

The Cathedral of San Marco in Venice. 
There are some destinations which are 'must-sees' like the Pyramids and Grand Canyon that, no matter how extraordinary, have not compelled me to even consider returning to visit. If I were to go back to Egypt, I would much rather see Luxor and Aswan and other places further south instead of revisiting Giza. Likewise with the Grand Canyon; I enjoy some of the National Parks just a bit to the north in Utah such as Zion and Bryce Canyon much more than the famous Arizona attraction.

But Venice for me is something completely different. I could return there every day and still find something new to see and experience. So far this year I have been to Venice about 7 or 8 times, which surprisingly is more than most of my classmates have done in their whole lives. Since for me it takes only an hour's train ride to get to La Serenissima, as Venice is affectionately called, there are times when I manage to head out there even after school and be home by nighttime. Truth be told, I never get tired of Venice - whether I am doing the regular tourist route or venturing off through unknown streets and canals trying to get lost, Venice never gets old.

Artists along the canal. 
Recently, I returned to Venice on a field trip. We did a pre-planned itinerary, meaning it was pretty fast-paced and we were not able to get intentionally lost, but we did see many churches and museums. After all, we were there with our Art History teacher. We started off at the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in the geographical center of Venice. After that we crossed the Rialto bridge and arrived to San Marco. We saw the interior of the Cathedral, then went up to the roof.
The view from the roof of San Marco.

Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in the San Polo district of Venice.

After that, we headed off towards the museums of l'Accademia which houses mainly Italian Renaissance art, which is what we are studying right now in Art History. We then went to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which is a part of the large group of Modern Art museums. Despite being small, this museum had pieces by some very famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Max Ernst. And while my classmates were used to classic art styles, I had seen some modern art before and was not too taken aback by it. While they could perfectly analyze a piece by Raffaelo or Giovanni Bellini, I was the only one that could find any meaning in some of these modern works. 

So even though this time around I was not able to wander around Venice like I usually like to do, it was a great opportunity to see some interesting art and enhance my Venice experience.