Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bologna and Now Venice

I don't have a ton of time, as we are about to head out for our first whole day in Venice, but I thought I'd write a quick update on the past 3 days.

Bologna is a really cool city. I found it to be lot less hectic than the other places we've been and felt a bit more at peace when walking around the city. We had this really cool opportunity to visit the place where my grandfather studied orthopedics during his medical training. It was almost a little surreal picturing Hans Wolff in a white lab coat walking down these halls. It was 1934-35, the fascist government had just begun their fierce persecution of the Jewish people...and my grandfather was a Jewish doctor. He escaped seriously within a week of his life to France, and then on to the states...all because a US doctor he met in Bologna arranged for a visa-without even asking my grandfather.

On that same token, we visited the old Jewish ghetto in Bologna which is now a museum honoring the suffering that this people has had to endure over the past 500 years. I am again reminded of how important it is to fight against injustice- not just on a state or military level, per se, but in our own lives-the way we choose to approach this world.

We took a short train ride to Venice and all I can say is that the moment I stepped out of the train station, facing this city surrounded by water, I felt like I could actually breathe for the first time. We are staying in the Palazzo Stern Hotel which was an old palace (built in the 15th century) and was just newly renovated in 2008. They have done a wonderful job of maintaining the palace feel while also giving a sense of modernity. We walked around a little bit yesterday-this city is a photographer's playground. And I don't simply mean the architecture, but the human and nature interactions are stunning. Yesterday, I snapped shots of a father swinging a boy around in the sea of pigeons, a man with corn in his hand being attacked by pigeons, two boys sitting by the water eating gelato, and a group of school kids buying gelato. It's just alive.

We had dinner on the roof top right near San Marco plaza and enjoyed a water front view, bellini and fresh food. While dining, we saw this ship called The World pass by. I had never heard of it, but a British lady explained that people actually buy apartments on this boat and it literally travels around the globe, following the sun. It's like a little village. Sign me up! (Ok, not really, but how cool would that be??) I also laughed as a couple we had spoken to, upon realizing that 1) we are a family and 2) we have been on vacation together for 2 weeks, asked us how we are still laughing and smiling. I responded, "Well, I guess that's even more reason to believe in Jesus." Haha. But really, we have had some days-as all families do- where I think we all just needed our own personal space, but over all it has been fun to be together and do this as a team. And frankly, I'm not sure if we will be able to do this again-for this duration of time-ever. So, good to have the opportunity while we can.

Tonight, we will go to a string ensemble concert-they're playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons-featuring instruments actually made here in Venice. And it comes with the acoustics of a beautiful chapel here in the city.

I think I have reached a point where only photos will satisfy the curious mind at this point. So this will be my last Italia post until I return home. So, in the spirit of this country, "Ciao!"

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