I've witnessed Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies, heard Sikhs and Muslims praying and even participated in some Protestant events but never been on mass. And never visited St Mark's Basilica.
Both things can be done in one go. At eight in the morning I go to mass in St Mark's. Early so that no-one sees me. Internet said that it is allowed for tourists to be there if you're polite and keep to the back.
Sun is about to rise which is a nice view from the St Mark's Square. It's flooded.
A side door is opened and a women directs me to the right room. There are a few people already and it is a small brightly lit room. Nowhere to hide. Talk is in Italian, with normal voice. I stand up and sit down with the others but refrain from crossing myself and singing. They understand that I'm fake anyway. Then everyone shakes hands. Wine and bread should now turn into flesh and blood. This was one of the main controversies with the Reformists who claimed that it only symbolizes Christ. Matter of faith. It seems kind of barbarian to eat a human. Or god. They couldn't agree on that one either. According to my observation Christ seems to be roasted. Maybe the priest is also disappointed. Tried as he may but it's still a biscuit. So this sect thinks that contraceptives and gays are evil. As is Galilei. When I leave then the woman who led me in says 'ciao' cheerily. No we know each other.
Tourists have woken up. I go through the crowd towards the casino. Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi. I'm there too early so there's time to have breakfast. A Hungarian couple already waits in front of the house. They represent Hungarian Wagner society. I kind of represent the Estonian one. Richard Wagner spent the last days of his life in this house and the local Wagner society hosts a museum in these rooms. We wait for a German group. No photos. The guide explains the history of the house and Wagner's all six visits to Venice. He also thought that evening and night in Venice are surreal.
A lot of water and sunny weather demand canoeing. You cannot paddle yourself and the say 'gondola' for canoes here. Pedro or Giuseppe or how they are usually called explains the surroundings 'this is Grand Canal, the biggest canal in Venice'. Then he shuts up and later starts to sing. Solo io, solo tu. Most of the time is just silent gliding and smell of water. Mario the photographer said that this has to be done, gives you a different perspective. Indeed. And it is the most expensive half an hour in my life. Gondolier offers to take my photo but instead I take his.
I have to pass Rialto. Shops, crowds. Finally I get a hat like some of the locals have. And chocolate from San Polo. Then to Arsenale to look for a photography shop. It is just around the corner from campo Arsenale. Pictures are nice and the shop person friendly.
I take a pizza and support the women's prison a bit. And climb the bell tower on St Mark's.
The Hungarians said that carnival will be opened today in Cannaregio. They may be right because some people are wearing masks. So I go to check it out. There are festivities indeed. Illuminated boats and free drinks. I'm surprised that no-one falls into canal.
So it turned out to be like a summary of Venice today.