Travelling to Venice with ‘style’ darling

My friend is travelling to Venice next week so I looked back on my own experience to advise her! Below is an excerpt from my diary column in HOOP from August 2010.


Travelling to Venice on the Ryanair 6.30
imageLouis Vuitton, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, personal luggage boys carrying hat boxes, trunks all with the distinctive LV logo blazered over the surfaces, this is not. Travelling the Ryan Air way is another thing altogether.

I must first let it be known, that a flight at 6.30am from Stanstead is not my first choice on travelling times, but when you have booked a 9.30am and Ryanair rebook you on the 6.30 a day or two beforehand, you really do not have much choice in the matter. So without being number 4002 on the weekly Ryanair complaints chart, I battle on with the task at hand.

What to do to get on an early morning flight to one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Well let me tell you, do not think that post 100ml you can sleep past the security area on an all nighter (getting the Stratford swig across the night before) waiting for your gate to open. And also let me tell you that there are no comfortable places to sleep on an all nighter by the check in desks.
No, and dare I mention this, but the most delicious spot is in Costa Coffee at the arrivals area. Buy yourself a medium £2.35 hot chocolate, which comes in a tall glass, that could easily last you 2 hours, and park yourself on the couch…and if you are like me, a bit slow to grab….hover, wait until the party leaves and then pounce. It is a splendid couch and one that will outshine any sleepover at a friend’s.
Be prepared

Post 100ml the Muji see-through wash bags and the like have come into their own, where you can buy the empty set and fill up the little containers with your favourites. This really does avoid any hassles when you get to security, simply unzip the case and whip out your wash bag all ready.

The Ryanair cabin suitcase has to be concise. They are increasingly becoming stricter about what you can take on board so what fits into the case is of utmost importance. For me, I have to carry a computer and a camera, so what space is left. NOT THAT MUCH. To give you an example, I have space for my through toiletry bag, ‘Barney’ the bear, who has travelled the world with me, plugs and adapter plugs, IPod, painting gear (I always take a small watercolour set) summer shoes, and a book. Whatever space is left must be for clothes and a hand bag.

Therefore the 6.30am does prove to be slightly helpful, in that you can wear almost everything that you want to take with you to a hot climate. So laden with tea shirt, shirt, cardigan, scarf, shawl, jeans skirt, white dress (all on my body) covered by a white summer coat, you can get on the flight AND have all the clothes required for the few days break in the most romantic city in the world. The scarf is great for your eyes during the Costa Coffee right lights and the shawl is perfect for the uber air conditioning on the plane. As soon as you get to Venice airport, dive to the ladies and don the lot, separate out your computer and hand bag and voila an almost empty suitcase!

Now here lies the thing. What to do if you have 3 hours in Venice before setting off up to Bassano del Grappa for the B Motion dance festival?
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
One of my favourite stop offs in a short whiz to Venice is taking the number 2, N or if you must the 1, water buses to Academia, where the Peggy Guggenheim Collection holds a what I can only describe as a Pandora’s box. Something for everyone. Not only do they have a superb cloakroom where, you can leave with knowledge that it is safe, and for free, your suitcase and now separated bags (they give you a small Peggy Guggenheim carrier bag for your money and essentials), they have a delicious cafe, slightly pricey, but an air conditioned cafe adorned with black and white photographs, you really will revel in the eclectic mix of characters that you will inevitable come across, that paying slightly over the odds for a actually what is a really lovely sandwich, won’t break the wallet. And of course, the permanent and temporary collections. The permanent holds the Surrealists, the Dadaists and the Modernists amongst other periods. In the garden lies a selection of sculptures and it is one of these sculptures that draws me to the PG in Venice.

The Peggy Guggenheim collection holds a very special place in my life, it has I suppose changed my life twice now. First with the Rebecca Horn exhibition in the New York Guggenheim, ‘The Kiss of the Rhinoceros’ brought me to tears over a two hour period, watching these metallic horns come closer for that very very first kiss, and then here at the Venice PG with Anish Kapoor’s ‘Black Granite’, a large sculpture in the garden, with two concave circles engraved at the front, on top of one another. It is the basics and formula to photography and this I presume is my love for the ingenious design and engineering of the sculpture.

On this visit I came for Robert Rauschenberg exhibition of GLUTS. Inspired by a visit to Houston, Texas, when in the early 80’s, it was recovering from a recession, there was a surplus supply in oil and this was known as a GLUT. It is from this reference that Rauschenberg takes his final series of sculpture. Always one to recycle this collection of works collected from the detritus found with a revealing second life. Large metal pieces from roofs, shacks and roadside furniture, this series of work is both a representation of the disregard for waste and also very poignant perhaps into toad’s waste behaviour.

‘Measure for Measure’ (1988), a wall sculpture made from two rules approx five and a half feet tall. One bent the other reclining towards its companion, ‘Sunset Glut’ (1987), with a 1950’s car radio dash at the top and metal strips, pointing downwards some bent and crooked, all in a yellow tone and ‘Snow Crab Crystal Glut’ (1987), approximately ten feet long by three feet. A white creature with a propeller for a tail and metal strips for his fangs, al in white, are just some of the many many creatures and satirical wall sculptures shown in this exhibition.

Another series completely juxtaposed to the more comical side is works that I suppose Rauschenberg is more commonly known for, the POP Art revolution, where his sculptures are delightful graphic shapes, dynamic colours and structurally very equal in shape and form.  The exhibition continues at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, until September 20th 2009. Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008).

B Motion
However, the reason for my visit to Italy was to travel up to Bassano del Grappa for the B Motion dance festival. organised in conjunction with OperaEstate, Veneto, this ‘Off’ festival has become something of an attraction. with international performers, this festival now attracts international visitors.
I am visiting the festival this year to write for their Blog, to comment and discuss the performances from the night previous, so those wishing to travel from Milan and Rome for example can have a small taste of what they might expect. Saying that, who knows what you are going to see, with three very different performances a night. But the Blog and reviews do allow for some indication of the level of dancer and their breeding.   So whilst I refuel my soul with dance in Bassano and dream of a Merchant Ivory production in Venice, I am pleased to announce that my flight home is at 4.25 in the afternoon, something I think we can all agree is a reasonable time indeed.

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