Week 48: Venice: Lost, Jewish Ghetto, and Padova

Venice is one of the most beautifully unique cities in the world.  I spent three days strolling around taking in a city with boats and streams instead of vehicles and roads.  All of the guidebooks said that one must get lost in Venice, which is not hard to do after you take a few turns while not paying much attention.  The guidebooks should specify a recommended number of times to get lost…



I stayed with an amazing host, Alfredo, in Padova which is a 40 minute train ride from Venice.  Each day, I would take the train into Venice and then back to Padova.  It is very simple to get to Venice because they have built a large land bridge between Venice and the main land for trains and cars.  This makes it easier and inexpensive for people to travel, but changes the entire makeup of Venice.  It is very touristy obviously, but you can still find a place if you walk far enough where you are all alone.  However, I could not help but think what it would be like to visit Venice before the bridge?  Furthermore, what would it have been like to visit Venice before cell phones and the internet?  I’m not knocking the new bo-jazz, but it is helpful to imagine what it would have been like before these things.  I had similar thoughts all the time while in Kenya.  How much different would my experience have been if I was unable to blog and communicate so easily with my friends and family back in the States?  There would have been major disadvantages, but there would have been some advantages too.  The what if game…

Venice and Me:

Venice and Me again:

Jewish Ghetto – one of five Synagogues – Note the five windows representing the five books of the Torah:

Jewish Ghetto – another one of five Synagogues – Note the five windows representing the five books of the Torah:

Alfredo was kind enough to take me to Venice the first day and show me all of the churches.  They were gorgeous and extremely peaceful.  We also went to the Jewish Ghetto.  As the amount of Jewish people fleeing to Venice increased, the Venetian government decided that the Jewish people must all live in one part of Venice.  At one point, there were 3,000 Jewish people living in the Jewish Ghetto in Venice.  “The word “ghetto” actually comes from the word “getto” or “gheto”, which means slag in Venetian, and was used in this sense in a reference to a foundry where slag was stored located on the same island as the area of Jewish confinement.”  The five synagogues from that time still remain, each synagogue representing a different ethnic group that had settled in Venice (ex. Italian, Spanish, etc.).  I was happily surprised to go on a tour of three of the five synagogues and learn about the Jewish history of Venice.

My host, Alfredo, and Me (prize winning shot of me):

I must say that my host Alfredo was fantastic during my visit in Padova.  It was great to experience a typical Italian home with amazing Italian food.  On my last night, Alfredo took me on a bicycle ride around Padova to show me some of the larger Cathedrals in the world.  I thoroughly enjoyed cruising through Italy with a good guide and a bicycle.

Me leaving Venice:

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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