Thursday, May 31, 2012

Venice - Saturday and Sunday Morning

ACWS Venice - May 19 & 20, 2012
Written May 20, 2012
Venice, Italy

It's was hard to believe it was almost over.  There I was on the last day of racing knowing that I needed to figure out how to get back to the airport the next morning.  My internet connection would be lost at the end of the day as the media center would shut down.  I had plenty to do.

After my last writing on Friday night, I tried to leave the Arsanale to head back to my hotel.  It was about 10:00 pm by the time I was packed up and ready to go.  From the media center I could hear a DJ spinning outside in the Arsanale, but I was not prepared for what I met when I left the building.  PACKED.  Absolutely PACKED.  The entire Arsanale had become a huge night club and the youth of Venice were out en mass enjoying the night.  It took me about 30 minutes to work my way to the "front" door and short way home, only to discover that entrance had been closed.  Back through the masses I went to head out the back way.  At least I could catch the water bus on that side.  It's a longer trip, but for me it really didn't matter at that time of night as I was just heading home.  However, once I reached the "bus stop" they told me it was closed for the night.  Alas, I must now walk.  And I knew what this meant ... getting lost in Venice once again.  Of course you can't get too lost as it is an island after all, and eventually I saw a "Per San Marco" arrow which is the sign that points me home.

Saturday was very light winds, but still a fun day out on the water for the races.  We only stayed out for the fleet racing and not the match racing.  I didn't think it was possible, but there were even MORE fans out watching the races.  It really is hard to describe the enthusiasm these Italian fans have for the Luna Rossa teams as well as for the America's Cup.  With the light winds and not a whole lot of "action" happening on the water (from a photography perspective that is) I decided to try a few new things on my camera.  It was good practice.
Since we were in early, I was able to take care of business and head out of the media center early (well, by 6:30 pm).  I wanted to beat the night club party scene this time and take the short way back, because I was on a mission.  One of the Staff Commodore's from my yacht club just happens to be married to a Venetian.  He mentioned to me that if I had the chance I should go to the Madonna Tratorria near the Rialto Bridge.  This wasn't much information to go on, but I had found the restaurant the other day and this was my opportunity to check it out.  Since it was Saturday night, I figured I should try to get there early and it was a good thing I did.  The place was packed.  And I think it was the best dinner I have had since I arrived in Venice.  Flash fried sardines marinated in vinegar with onions, sounds odd but it was amazing - seafood risotto that I just didn't want to end - and then for dessert the house special which is some sort of lemon sorbet mixed with prosecco.  I should have known that he would point me in the right direction!

This morning was the Festa della Sensa which is a Venice traditional celebration consisting of local boats parading from San Marco to San Nicolo del Lido.  At the Lido they stop for the "Marriage of the Sea" ceremony which has something to do with the Mayor having a gold ring blessed and then tossing it into the water.  The AC45's were going to show up so I figured I should as well.  I had no idea what I was in for, but what an amazing photo op it turned out to be!  So many boats out rowing - some in full costume - some just enjoying the day.  The main boat with the Mayor and other dignitaries even had a "band" along for the ride.  At the moment of the ceremony, everyone stopped rowing and raised their oars.  What a sight to behold.  I even noticed a shiny silver trophy out for row that morning.  What a great experience.

After the Festa I didn't have much time to switch gears and head back on the water for the last day of racing.  My time was short after racing, and the awards ceremony then the closing of the media center.  Next up will be my final day and my final thoughts on the experience.

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