This week’s theme – “Illumination” – gave me the opportunity to take a quick astral trip to Venice for a bit of a change (from Paradise and Christmas – I never manage to capture New Years’ fireworks) and to wander in memory across the Accademia Bridge at dusk, just as the lights begin to hold their own in the gathering dark.
One night some years ago, I loitered with others at the foot of the stairs where three young buskers had turned the square into a moodily lit stage, entrancing us with dreamy harp-led renditions of Venetian mediaeval classics. After some time the harp began to sing alone. Spare, slightly disjointed notes became almost perceptible phrases, then a rhythm emerged and all of a sudden my heart began to sing along, joyfully accompanying the most witty rendition of Waltzing Matilda I’ve ever heard.
In those few charmed minutes, this boy, with his harp and his cocky homesick anthem, transported me to another time – a time of romance and mystery, when minstrels roamed from city to city, chancing their luck and reputation on matching the mood to a tune …
I tried to imagine how it was for him, just about broke, busking in Venice – vying for high-traffic sites with the rip-off handbag sellers and other modern-day drifters. Realising his allotted time was over, I wandered across the stage as nonchalantly as I could and said a quiet “thanks mate”, placing the contents of my purse in his hand.
Hoping he and his new friends would have a bang up meal before sleeping in a warm safe place that night, I continued on my way – to set up the tripod and capture a Venetian street light.
On the way home, in the deep of night, the dark seemed to eat the scant remaining illumination, turning the city once again into its real self – a place of unfamiliar smells and noises, of dark corners and fleeing shadows, of mysteries and stories too subtle, and too outrageous, for a mere camera to capture.
gorgeous – as always
Thanks dear – hard to take a bad picture in Venice – though more difficult to do it justice 🙂
So beautiful…. Wonderful captures!
Have a nice weekend! 🙂
Thanks Marie! It’s a lovely weekend, the sun’s come out, the air is fresh and in the dark night, the stars are shining. 🙂
exquisite dreamy photos of the city, an evocative tale of the evening, pure magic!
Isn’t it wonderful when something unexpected happens and just a few minutes become an indelible and precious memory? 🙂
Great shots and loved the story. I bet that Aussie loved your contribution, but more than the money it would be the appreciation you showed by listening to his music
Maybe, Pommepal – though I doubt my contribution to his memories of his European trip will be as lasting as his on mine 🙂
What a lovely story (and pictures, too, of course) Did you really mean mistral? I think minstrels might be preferable to a horrid wind!
Oh dear – not paying attention to the spell checker, again! Thanks Viv – and i’m so glad you enjoyed my little story and the shots of La Serenissima 🙂
How do I contact you to arrange to meet when I’m at Sally’s in March?
email me at or phone or sms me on +94772602616!
How exciting Viv – terrific 🙂
It was a mistake! I meant to leave the message for Restless Jo but miss-clicked. Much as I’d like to, my days of long-distance travel are behind me.
Ooops, this was meant for someone else! Someone more accessible, ie in NE England?
What a shame! I did wonder, but life’s full of unexpected pleasures … 🙂
Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge-Illumination « KnowledgeKnut
Every cobble, every canal and bridge – it’s such a magical place isn’t it?
Beautiful street lighting, and great photos.
Who would of thought you would here Waltzing Matilda in Venice played on a harp, that is just mind blowing. 🙂
Yeah … it was one of those moments alright! 🙂
So glad you enjoyed them.
Your pictures are indeed illuminating as well as the story.You have described one of those serendipitous moments …a chance encounter that spoke volumes for you both.
I keep wondering about that kid, and what he did next, and later in his life. What a trip, carting that harp around Europe … 🙂
And he is remembering the woman who emptied her purse for him and wondering how many other people she has given encouragement to along life’s way.
You certain captured the magical moments in Venice! Thank you for sharing the story.
Lovely, you captured Venice at it’s best!
Dreamy and delightful. Moments like these are golden in our memories. Lovely photos to set us all dreaming.
Ah … La Serenissima! Beautiful illuminations and I loved your story about the busker.
Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination (2) « What's (in) the picture?
Excellent pictures, beautiful illuminating words!
These photographs are wonderful, and I loved the story just as much. Venice lives in the soft spot of my heart.
Venice is magical and you have captured this very well. I get really annoyed with those who say Venice is dirty and smelly….not the Venice I go to.
Such a wonderful moment in a magical place. There truly is no place on earth like Venice and your pictures do it justice. Thanks for sharing both, your harpist and photos, with us.
You’re right – there’s absolutely no place like Venice and I’ll take up any pretext for a visit – virtual or real. I was bewitched by a water sprite, don’t you know, and must respond immediately when summoned … 🙂
Beautiful photos. Venice is a magic place. I would love to go back there…
Me too, any day – no matter what, I’d drop it in favour of a trip to Venice!
Pingback: Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 2, 'Illumination']. « 3rdculturechildren
Lovely pix and great interpretation of the illumination theme. Isn’t your first pic similar to the one we’ve both posted before the grand canal? [Don’t hold me to that, but it did look famliar except with different lighting]
Probably, Roughseas! That’s one of the most photographed scenes in Venice, and although I mark every shot I’ve posted, if it doesn’t have a green marker on it that doesn’t mean it’s not similar to a posted picture 🙂
I just remembered our exchange about travelling in our youth and directing you to my similar pic. Easy for me to remember as I’ve only posted one pic of Venice!
Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge Lights | Weekly Photo Challenge
Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge Lights | Weekly Photo Challenge
Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenga: Illumination (3) « What's (in) the picture?
Wow – these have sooooooo much atmosphere. I have a friend writing a book about Venice back in the 17th century and it all fits
What an amazing amount of illumination photos!
You have captured the moment, Gene, in your words and your photos.
Just magical! And your beautiful story makes it all the more enchanting 🙂
Spiralling downwards, so funny to see Viv’s message. For an excited second I thought you were going to be there too, Meredith. Possibility of a cream tea at the Farm Shop? And a visit to Northumberlandia. Can’t compare to Venice, I know. And I love your first and last shots. So wonderfully atmospheric.
What a great story and pictures.
I really enjoyed both your words and pictures! You have achieved some stunning visual effects: quite different from the norm. Congratulations. 🙂