Saturday, November 24, 2007

In Venice on election day morning

Having run out of museums and art galleries I took the train from Trieste to Venice today. The 2 hour trip winds down the steeply-sloped coastline through some industrial towns and then out onto some flat countryside and back to the coast at Venice. The autumn colours in the trees, the sombre grey skies and the elegant smudged landscape colours could well turn me into a poet. I was particularly taken with the near total lack of any commercial advertising pollution – billboards, ugly shop fronts etc. It is pleasant not having sales messages and garish colours shouted at you.

The countryside is just very attractive.

Venice is Venice, as in the glossy tourism books – interesting canals, old churches, intriguing local shops but an overriding memory I have got to say is lots of tourists and tourist souvenir stores. I eventually got tired of the crowds and headed off to a ristorante where I gobbled some palatable seafood and some fairly average merlot.

I am starting to enjoy my stay in Trieste and have increased my Italian vocabulary 400% from 3 to about 15 words over the past 3 days – clearly approaching fluency. It is comfortable here. The locals seem to be involved in a continuing, good-natured conversation and local community is strong. It is obviously something we do not have to the same degree in Australia – maybe we are compensated by higher living standards but that is not clear to me. Italian migrants to Australia must find aspects of life difficult in their new country.

Perhaps the less cohesive Australian society is a product of its more recent development that occurred along with mass usage of the private car. This led to sprawled out settlement and lower social cohesion. Of course you get compensations in terms of greater independence. These are the types of profound thoughts you get having spent about 4 days in a new location.

Tomorrow morning I will do some work. About midday here, the Australian election results should be finalised. I frankly dread the thought but I guess I’ll listen in.

3 comments:

whyisitso said...

Oh Harry, you're sounding just like Clive Hamilton. Melbourne has nearly 4 million people, Trieste 200,000. Of course the community feel is different! Try a small city in Oz and you can feel the difference. Adelaide is a good start with several times Trieste's population. Or while in Italy see what sort of feel you get in Napoli for example, with its touts and pickpockets.

hc said...

That is probably fair comment though give me a break - not Clive Hamilton.

Mark U said...

Harry

Venice is better in the winter when there are very few tourists. So it is quiet and you get a better feel for what might have been like before the hordes arrived. Only drawback is that it can be cold and foggy but this just adds to the feel of the place.