The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 10

Walking map
of Venice.
DRAWING:
THEĀ AUTHOR

been) the natural measure of travel, and the rhythm of walking becomes the rhythm
of thought.
Without the benefit of a rental car or the speed of a subway, the pace of observation slows and focus sharpens. In the shadow of the myriad canals, the nights are
eerily quiet. The senses are enhanced. A new appreciation for detail and the joy of
meandering sets in.
Marcel Proust described it this way: "After dinner, I went out by myself, into the
heart of the enchanted city where I found myself wandering in strange regions like a
character in the Arabian Nights. It was very seldom that I did not, in the course of my
wanderings, hit upon some strange and spacious piazza of which no guidebook, no
tourist had ever told me."
Proust, McCarthy and Ruskin had the luxury of months at a time in Venice, something
that doesn't align with a 21st-century notion of travel. But after even a week, patterns
emerge and details reveal themselves in ways that seem foreign to our modern notions
of the convenient, shallow survey.
I spent 10 days in Venice a few years back, largely agenda-free, visiting the Architecture
Biennale and discovering the advantages of being lost within the bounds of an island.
I took moments in the echoing night-time silence to loosely map my daily wanderings
on a sketchbook page. The resulting map was a free-form piece of abstract shape and
colour, sinuous lines recording my routes and the punctuations of cafes, appertivo
stops, late dinners; my comings and goings for a stretch of days without a schedule,
compass or GPS. The shape of the main island, resembling two grilled fish sharing a
plate, gave it what little structure it has and like my unstructured walks, it developed
its own sinuous sort of beauty.
I too hit upon some "strange and spacious piazzas" that I have not since been
able to identify in guidebooks. As Joseph Brodsky writes in Watermark, "It [Venice]
surrounds you like frozen seaweed, and the more you dart and dash about trying to
get your bearings, the more you get lost." Walking in Venice is like that, like reading a
poem that twists and turns with every line. And it's never the same poem twice, but
changes with every reading.
It took me a while to learn that. My first few days were filled with wrong turns that
grated on my usually confident sense of direction. But I eventually gave in and enjoyed
the serenity of no longer expecting anything to be as predicted. I just followed my feet
and let Venice be Venice.
DAVID GILLETT is an architect in Orillia, Ontario. He is also a travel writer and illustrator who contributes
frequently to The Globe and Mail.

10 | Read The Right Angle Journal online www.therightanglejournal.ca


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018

Message from the Board
Walking
Integrated Building Design... and More
Feature Project: Guelph Market Square
Index of Advertisers
Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Intro
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover1
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover2
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Message from the Board
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Walking
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 6
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 7
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 8
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 9
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 10
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 11
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 12
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 13
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 14
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 15
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 16
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 17
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Integrated Building Design... and More
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - 19
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Feature Project: Guelph Market Square
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Index of Advertisers
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - Locations
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover3
The Right Angle Journal - Summer 2018 - cover4
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