Monday, December 15, 2008

Venice: Deep Thoughts from a Sinking City

We arrived in Venice at the end of September. As you know, Venice is an island so our campsite was actually on the main land. Venice was everything I expected to be and more: lazy canals, striped-shirted gondoliers, ancient charm. We had been warned that the canals might be stinky but the cool fall weather prevented that. Rather than stinky canals, we enjoyed the smell of leather coming from the fancy shops and the blend of basil and tomatoes from the trattorias. We took a water bus down the Grand Canal and listened to Rick Steve’s audio tour (gotta love that man!) With the swarms of tourists, it was hard to imagine what the city was like in its prime. The city enforces strict laws in order to maintain Venice’s ancient charm but modernity cannot help but to overshadow this place that was once the hub of trade.

My overall impression of this city is that it is enchanting. Our favorite thing to do was to just get lost in the weave of waterways & alleys. If we wandered far enough, we could find ourselves all alone with not a tourist in sight.

Despite all the beauty and grandeur, our second impression was that Venice is sinking! The chorus of this song kept running through our head as we took it all in:

If Venice is sinking, how can we believe we’ll all be fine
If Venice is sinking, how can we believe we all stay dry
‘Cause I have been thinking, this water’s not worth drinking
so if Venice is sinking, then trouble’s on the rise.

Venice has survived for centuries and there are continual efforts to keep it afloat, but the reality is that all the glimmers is sure to fade (or even submerge) in this city. Let us look at our own lives through the same perspective. Do we build our hope and beauty on things that will not last past this life? Let us not be rich toward the world in beauty and grandeur yet poor toward God.

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