|Above image and below: No buses, no taxis, no hustle or bustle: Marco Polo Airport this past Tuesday at mid-day|
The philosopher Martin Heidegger famously suggested that the thingness of a hammer--the fact of it as an object made of specific materials--is typically only recognized when it has broken, and can no longer be used. Maybe something similar can be said about an airport: we can only really see it when it's not functioning as intended, as a hub of arrivals and departures, of unending circulation. Or at least that's how it struck me at the beginning of this week, when the need to renew our son's US passport made us board an empty Alilaguna airport-bound water bus, which delivered us to an almost completely empty Marco Polo Airport with time to kill before our appointment.
There were just four departing flights listed on the electronic boards at the water transportation docks and the usual interior route to the gates through the covered elevated walkway completed in 2017 was closed. As in the old days we trekked outdoors to the terminal, and once there we found that our idea of passing time inside it was not going to work out: entrance to any part of the building was forbidden to anyone without an airline ticket.
My wife and son returned to wait near the the American micro-consulate by the water departure docks and I stuck around to take the images you see here, realizing that I was, for the first time, seeing the airport as its architects had at some point pictured it, as empty forms--and as the thousands whose livelihoods depend upon it surely never wanted to see it.
How fantastic! I've got my fair share of shots of Marco Polo over the years, but never ever seen it like that! The sound of one suitcase trundling would be really so very loud there today, wouldn't it?ReplyDelete
Must admit, not really understanding the silly outfits? I do hope they are wearing them for a dare or bet!
And here's hoping that the airport won't be in this becalmed state for too too much longer, Ella, interesting as it is to experience. You're right about the sound of the suitcase wheels, and you remind me that I actually didn't encounter a single person pulling luggage, though there must have been a few inside the terminal. I saw the people put on the outfits after parking in a lot right near the terminal (all kinds of spaces available!), and then they positioned themselves outside the terminal as close as one could to receive arriving visitors--which was actually not very close at all--in what looked to be the expectation of surprising a friend or friends. In the largely depopulated scene it was a welcome bit of life.Delete
Dear Steven, however unwelcome (and distraught for businesses) this quiet must be, I wonder whether, for lovers of the authentic Venice, it may just be a good time to visit? I am thinking about the week after Christmas... or would that be foolish, given the restrictions such as coprifuoco, early closing times of restaurants etc.? Thanks in advance for your advice. Kind regards, JohanReplyDelete
It sounds like you're well-informed about the situation here, Johan, but my first question is would you even be able to travel into Venice at that time? I ask because the Italian gov't has implemented restrictions on travel for the holidays, so that, for example, we are not even supposed to travel between regions (say, from Venice to Bologna).Delete
If you are allowed to travel here, and since you know already know that all the museums are closed and most restaurants I've seen are pick-up only, there is a curfew in effect from 10 pm to 5 am, and all the other closures or limitations you mention, then I'd say that, yes, it's still a nice time to be in the city. Many of the churches remain open (I stopped in S Giovanni in Bragora as I passed the other day to look at its Tintoretto and Cima da Conigliano altarpiece), for example. It's a strange time, people are under a lot of stress, but the Rialto market still has wonderful things so it's a good time to cook at home!
Anyway, I hope this helps some. I don't know what the rules are about traveling here: I don't see any tourists around. And if you can get here, that might be one reason you'd find it appealing.
Dear Steven, very kind of you to reply to my mail! Yes, it sounds weird that flights from abroad (including ’red zones’) should be allowed while spostamenti between regions are restricted. The reason is that to enter Italy, one requires a non-COVID declaration (which cost more than the flight itself). What attracts me is exactly the lack of what has put me off in recent years, i.e. mass tourism (I know, a silly argument for any tourist...). But it sounds one would need an apartment, rather than a hotel, with cooking facility. Many thanks for your valuable advice! Stay safe, kind regards, JohanReplyDelete
PS beautiful photos btw!
I had no idea that the declaration needed to get here cost more than the flights themselves, Johan. If you can manage to get it, and if you can still come (as things have changed even in the last couple of days), I think you will have a memorable, and emotionally complex, time here--an experience of the city unlike one you're ever likely to have had before (and, hopefully, won't ever have again, considering the circumstances). I have continued to see signs up in a few restaurant windows stating take out is available, and I have seen a few cafes open, but not very many, and as we never go out to them I can't tell you how it is really is. I've also noticed, for example, people seated outside at tables under heat lamps at the Gritti Palace Hotel, so I'm guessing that the restaurants of some larger hotels might still be open but, again, I don't know first-hand, and you'd really have to confirm that in advance. A lodging with kitchen facilities might be better. In any case, I send you my best wishes wherever you decide to spend the holiday season and begin the new year.Delete