Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 7, 2010 Sunday: Hopelessly Confusing and Lost

(Dieter) After a late breakfast, we ran down the narrow pedestrian corridors to a smaller square to the former church of Antonio Vivaldi to experience a typical Venetian worship experience. With Byzantine influence, the service was much more informal, following the typical prescribed liturgy but with the music accompanied by guitar and a few chorus that were familiar from our camp experiences. A Nun provided a missionary report, followed by prayers led by various parishioners ranging in ages 9 to 70 for each of the various themes of prayer. The service, although in Italian, was fairly easy to follow, as many of the words were Latin based. Back to our apartment, I ran for food supplies, thinking I would take a short cut and ended up hopelessly confused and lost in a military zone, with high security fences on one side and the large lagoon on the other side. Finding my way back, and grabbing the limited food supplies we had, we were off to see the Carnival festivities. On the way to St. Mark’s Square, we met thousands of parading Carnival pilgrims, all robed in period Venetian carnival costumes. From simply scathed beggars to exquisitely dressed royalty with shimmering clothes, puffed lace, exploding hairdos, and adorned with colourful jewels (Mirano glass); then there were the various religious leaders, from the humbly dressed Fathers to the pompously clothed Popes, and of course, the dragon slaying knights in full armour, the brilliantly clothed ladies in waiting; and for a little of the more dramatic presentation, the drag-queens of every style and colour with head gear larger than life. You guessed it - I found my mask. A joker with joy radiating from its face. After a full day of visual stimulation, we headed back to our apartment, stopping for a gastronomical experience of an open-market candy shop. The aromas of roasting almonds rotating in large copper cylinders over a fire, caramelizing peanuts, candied sugar, and almost every type of nugget imaginable captured our hungry eyes. Coming to our home base, we enjoyed the quiet, simple tastes of homemade pizzas with Italian meats and stringy cheeses on freshly baked pane (buns) in our convection oven with a glass of sweet Moscato wine.

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