Before I continue the Venice travelogue, I just want to quickly thank my dearest readers for your kind words. I’m not a writer; in fact, English is my second language. I’m not a photographer; in fact, I took up photography only about a year ago. I’m not a seasoned traveler; in fact, I luck out if I get to visit more than three countries per year. When I shared my travel stories on my blog and some other travel forums and received encouraging words and comments, I’m just incredibly grateful. I like making people laugh, but have only done it verbally with the people I’m close to in my mother tongue so I have been really, really pleasantly surprised hearing that my cheeky, conversational writing is “entertaining” and “enjoyable”. That means more to me than you will ever know. Thank you all, again!
Two of my most favorite movies of all time are Before Sunrise and its sequence, Before Sunset. (Don’t judge me, OK? I need some love stories every now and then to spice up my bleak life. Though if you insist on them being nothing more than cheesy rom-com, I could go all psychotically argumentative on your ass about how deep and uplifting they are :P)
I love them because I’m quite intrigued about how easy it is for two human beings with different backgrounds and experience to connect emotionally and ahem…physically. Part of it, I believe, stems from the very act of traveling itself. Never in a million years would I think something similar would happen to me on my very first Europe trip. Minus all the gazing in the eyes, lip-locking, sexing on the grass in a moonlit night and all that juicy good stuff. Sorry if you’re disappointed. I pray day and night for my life to come to that interesting place. HAHA.
Here is the story: My sister and me were walking back to my least favorite hotel of our time from dinner when I saw a recurring thunderstorm on the horizon. I had been dying to photograph a majestic natural occurrence like that ever since I started learning about photography and thus couldn’t pass on the perfect opportunity for all the world especially with both my camera and tripod in hands on that particular night. Uninterested, my sister called it a night and retreated to the hotel.
I was on the bridge (the one near Venezia S. Lucia station) setting up the tripod and began taking pictures, surrounded by many others with the same tools and purpose. Being a complete novice myself when it comes to complex photography, I wasn’t able to capture the thunderstorm even after 20 photos or so. Maybe utter frustrations must have been written all over my face or the photos on the camera’s screen must have been so f-ugly and therefore done the spectacular thunderstorm in Venice such a disservice that a guy along with his fiancé whom I later learned hail from Argentina showed me his beautiful photos and started giving me a few tricks up his sleeves.
If you’re familiar with taking photos in low-light conditions and using slow-shutter (essentially means opening your camera sensor for much longer than normal), you’d know that it takes a while to get a picture you’re satisfied with (or worse, you might never get it at all). Pablo (his name and Yamila, her name) must be the most patient instructor in the entire world because they both insisted on waiting until I attained a satisfactory shot. Needless to say, they had to wait for quite a while before I accomplished the below, which has knocked every photo that I have taken during the past year out of the park. I still remember vividly how jumping-back-and-forth over the moon I was after getting this on the camera screen and even on the way home (okay, even now to be perfectly honest).
Though this is my photos taken on my camera by me, I will never claim full credit for it because without Pablo, I would never have been able to do it by myself. Judging by their facial expressions then, I could tell they were really excited for me as well. I chatted with Pablo and Yamila for a bit and learned that they were approaching the finish line of their 1.5 month Europe expedition. I also got to see a few of his photos of Venice, all of which were of postcard quality. The most surprising thing was he isn’t a professional photographer. He simply loves it and learns everything by himself. Inspiring, huh? I thanked them repeatedly, and we parted way. Having ownership of this special photo, I had a sound sleep that night despite the hotel.
When we said goodbyes, I could say with 200% certainty that both parties didn’t expect to run into each other again. Isn’t common sense always teaching us to have no expectation about such fleeting encounters? At the same time, would life be crazy dull if everything common sense preaches stands correct? I, for one, love getting surprises from time to time.
And I did when I ran into Pablo and Yamila the next morning on the same boat ride to Murano and Burano. (A post about them is coming your way real soon. Get ready to be blinded by colors.) It was only fitting that we explored them together. In fact, we spent the next 20 hours together wandering aimlessly around Venice and exchanging travel stories, sharing parts of ourselves and making jokes. Pablo and Yamila are in their 30s, but their young, adventurous and energetic spirit made it extremely easy for me to connect on a more personal level.
These photos were taken in different neighborhoods of Venice, from Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro to Santa Croce. Just don’t ask me the exact location of each because I’m directionally challenged and the fact that Venice is like a tangled spider web just greatly exacerbated the problem.
Our last meal in Venice was at Taverna San Trovaso, which we chanced upon while strolling in Dorsoduro.
As you can see, it garners good review on TripAdvisor, which I think is deserving. There were quite a number of tourists (mostly old) when we dined there, but my impression was that they were seasoned tourists coming back to their favorite dining place in town. I know I have mentioned a lot about the tourists versus locals issue. The truth of the matter is it doesn’t really matter that much to me as long as I find the food delectable, the prices reasonable given the quality of the food and the services not downright terrible or over the top.
While the meals of Pablo, Yamila and my sister were good (but not exceptional), mine was savory and actually quite interesting. It was my first time having spaghetti in squid ink sauce. While my tummy cheered on and thanked me all the way, my lips must have loathed me because they were completely covered in black and became the laughing stock of everyone who caught a glance. Not that I have ever tried black lipstick before, but I’m dead serious that it doesn’t even come close. Another fun photography technique I learned from Pablo. I told him I learned more about photography from him during the 24 hours that we met than I had learned on my own during the previous year, but he didn’t believe me. Do you believe me?