Venice, exams, work experience

After my two-week work placement at BBC Newcastle (where my chocolate brownies went down a treat), I went to Venice for a few days with my Mom and Stepdad. We stayed in a lovely hotel on the Grand Canal called the Al Ponte Antico Hotel, where we enjoyed this amazing view of the Rialto Bridge every evening as we sipped apéros on the terrace.

Venice is an absolute wonder of a city. I found myself fascinated with every aspect of it and asking so many questions; where is the nearest hospital and how do they get to it? How do they collect rubbish or deliver big items? What happens when it rains? All things people living on mainland take for granted.

We did so much in Venice but my favourites were the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Dorsoduro. The gallery is Peggy’s old home and features her personal modern art collection and temporary exhibits. There are some beautiful works by Kandinsky and Chagall, as well as some bizarre sculptures in the garden and landing deck on the Grand Canal. The Cimitero di San Michele is a lovely place to visit, despite being a graveyard! It is beautiful and tranquil and nothing like as eerie as say Père Lachaise in Paris. Stravinsky, Diaghilev and Ezra Pound were laid to rest there.

We ate so much seafood! We found an amazing restaurant off the main drag – definitely one not known to tourists but full of Venetians – called the Al Fontego dei Pescatori. The owner and chef is called Lolo and he was so attentive, telling us what was best on the menu that day and recommending some amazing wines. I ate scallop and courgette gnochetti and then a gorgeous tuna steak with a sesame crust.

There are some beautiful islands to the northeast of Venice too, and these are definitely worth a visit to get away from the main hub. Murano is famous for its glass and is absolutely bursting with shops selling jewellery, bowls, glasses and much more. It has become just as touristy as Venice, though, and much of the glass is actually mass-produced in China, but it’s lovely for a stroll around and to look in the independent showrooms.  

Burano, further afield, is absolutely gorgeous. All the houses are painted different colours – supposedly so that fishermen can recognise their homes after a day out on the water.

There is also a sense of sadness, though, about Venice. Many of the buildings are sinking into the water and have become crooked and creaky. It initially adds to the ethereal feel of the place but when you think that in however many years, it may not be possible to live in or visit Venice anymore, it’s really quite sad. But it is absolutely a must-visit city, definitely before it’s too late!Exams

And then after our beautiful holiday in Venice came the horrible mundanity of three weeks of revision and exams. All in all, I think they went well and that’s the MA done and dusted. How time has flown.

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