Entering Venice, Italy

Here I am in Barcelona. Only now have I been able to capture some time to write. And it's been 18 days since I left. I was in a hurry. At some point I thought that Morocco was not as close as it seems to me and I thought it was all too important, so I hurried. In this hurry, one gets lost, and I am well aware of the Dalmatian saying that “haste invites the Devil” or the same version in the local dialect and yet my favorite is the one characteristic to Volosko: “always a bit”... Well, that is the reason why I decided to take this journey by car – so that I’d avoid being in a hurry and to really be able to feel the places as I move through them, and still I had a doubtful thought about not making it to Morocco. Giving importance to such an idea and materializing the same was my mistake, a trap that I held myself in, having forgotten many important things...

I stayed in Mestre at a really bright and spotless hostel – The Anda Hostel - an extremely clean, quiet and spacious room with 8 or 9 beds, a large restroom, additional bathrooms and air conditioning that works 24-7. Mestre is on the suburbs of Venice, but it seems to me that it has its own government. It was hard to find a non-paying parking spot and that was the only downside to the hostel already mentioned. However, I still found it, and only a hundred meters from the accommodation! Of course, there was a warning sign saying that cars parked there will be towed away, but when I saw the Italians also parking there, leaving their cars all night and day and nobody coming, I asked the locals about it. Their approvals confirmed my determination, so I carelessly left my Twingo there and indeed – no one touched it!

Mestre has a huge problem with heroin addicts and the neighbourhood where my accommodation was located had a particularly bad rep, with the proximity to the train station, so it was quite recognizably dangerous because, train stations indicate higher crime rate. The locals warned me to be particularly careful not to step on a needle where I park, as many drug addicts throw used needles all around. I, however, boasted that I had thick shoes protecting me! I wouldn’t have even noticed the gossip if there wasn’t a small company of people there, getting drunk every night at the nearby park and leaving trash. I ignored them.

Chiesa di San Simeon Piccolo

The hostel service was also quite excellent, and I particularly commend on Stefan who works at the reception. He helped me with all my concerns and questions. Although I speak in Italian, he spoke very good English, which deserves great praise because many Italians do not speak any other language than their own.

I really wanted to experience Venice because I have been listening about it all my life and I’ve never visited it myself although it’s very close to me given I live in Opatija. And Venice is truly phenomenotastic! I am now convinced at it. It reminds me a bit of Rovinj or Zadar which are historically known Venetian cities. However, each of them has its own, special atmosphere, created by the people who live there and those who visit (but more so the residents).

The Gondolas

In Mestre I was greeted by wonderful Anna, with whom I had volunteered 4 years ago in Sofia, Bulgaria, as a part of the International Short Film Festival “In the Palace”. Although I tried not to be late, it did not work for me. It is about 250 km from Opatija to Venice, and I did not take the highway but the side roads. I kind of think that if Twingo breaks down, it'll be easier and cheaper to deal with it on a side road than on the highway, but fortunately, Twingo is very reliable and he brought me all the way to Barcelona – a total of about 1,650km – and not a single problem! It is interesting how many people thought of my choice of car as dangerous or admired my decision to travel to Morocco by Twingo. They commented they wouldn’t dare to travel that far by Twingo precisely because it is Twingo. Only my mechanic, Mr. Matulja from Matulji, said: “Who cares what people think! Get in and drive!” That is precisely the moral of that old saying: “It doesn't matter what has been said, but who said it!”

I was running late while Anna was waiting because I didn't know exactly where the hostel was, and I was in Mestre for the first time in my life. Also, my GPS didn't work even though I had units and batteries. I had to stop and ask people for directions. It was a nice meeting. I was feeling stressful about the long drive and the delay, and Anna was waiting for a long time, so she soon had to board the train home. Still, she wasn't angry or anything, despite the fact that she had been waiting for me for an hour and a half. From the moment we met until the departure of the train, it was only half an hour; we made up for the time pretty quickly. She was talking about where and what she was doing, and so was I while we were drinking a spritzer; she explained to me that the spritzer allegedly originates from Venice. It's a sweet, bubbly drink that is made by mixing prosecco or martini, or some other sweet liqueur, with sparkling water; it’s a really nice and refreshing combination, but maybe a little too sweet for my taste.

Anna is a fine young lady not particularly tall – actually, maybe my perspective isn’t valid because I'm tall, and she looks tiny, but in fact isn’t. That tiny, dear lady has a distinctly white complexion and dark brown hair and eyes. She looks gentle and fragile, but I prefer to believe the other – that “looks are deceiving” – because this seemingly weak woman is moving towards her second diploma, she works 2 jobs and still manages to travel occasionally as well as to volunteer and work on her journeys. All this makes her very powerful in my heart!

The All-Seeing Eye

Campo de la Maddalena

Speaking of looking through your eyes and heart, 2 days before St. Nicholas and my departure, I attended a great premiere of the children’s play “The Little Prince” at the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka. This small booklet was close to me in childhood since the moment I read it, and then I forgot it. If I remember correctly, I was 9 or 10, and it was ether the 5th or the 6th grade of elementary school. Shortly afterwards, I was completely oblivious to what this “guide through life” was all about. It was in high school that I read it again, so I had the opportunity to remember; and I loved realizing again that I forgot, that many of us forget again and again... And again! I had forgotten the essence of life again! Sometime after my college days, I found this spiritual guide in a large container, the one for large waste, in the parking lot in Lovran, of course, and I picked it up and saved it from destruction alongside the national Croatian tale “Beware the Hand from Senj”. It was really big waste!

Forgetting – man’s greatest curse or just my own?! Seems as if when I get to know something, a new realization holds me for a while – a month, a year – and then I go back to something old or something completely new and forget what I had realized, and on it goes, without stopping to dwell in the present moment, which is truly important – to remember that in addition to eyes, we have been given a heart that sees! To me, an obsession with something new always causes the forgetting of something old, but nonetheless important! Because being old doesn't signify being outdated. The essence is timeless! It is always valid! Just like forgetting – it is a curse for all time, but it is also a blessing because if we would forget about something we experienced as negative, it would affect our feelings and make us feel bad. When we forget such events, or better yet, when we forgive and let go, we can return again to feeling positive and peaceful!

Piazza San Marco

BUT, HAVE WE FORGOTTEN TO JUST BE?!

Let Me Remind You: “Look with the Heart and Not Just the Eyes!”

Speaking of “The Hand of Senj”, Venice and Senj meet again, if not anywhere else, then at least in this text... Well, let’s remind ourselves: Venice was one of the stronger Italian urban centres that established dominance in the Adriatic by seizing the land of other peoples who lived in the area, by conquering and subjugating, using and exploiting them for several centuries, especially on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, where Croats, Montenegrins and Albanians had lived. Therefore, we have nothing to wonder about Venice sinking! Anyway, nothing in this dimension is eternal, except maybe the dimension itself, neither stone, nor wood, nor iron! Everything is falling apart and collapsing, and so is Venice. And if we add to that the theory of karmic processes, that all that which has been stolen and taken away unfairly, will thus perish, it all makes sense: the cosmic and karmic processes are much larger than those common human laws.

The Gondolas & the Canals

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The contemporary explanations of Venice's sinking are, of course, materialistic, which is to say, capitalist, that is, indirectly the result of another human curse – greed. In fact, more and more people visit Venice every year, and all these people come in different ways. There is much mention of the so-called “cruisers”, the oversized ships which are increasingly entering the Venetian waters. But why? Because of greed! Greed has made Venice so magnificent, but greed can also destroy her. What we can conclude is that greed has been widespread in Venice for several centuries. And it is represented as something magnificent and beautiful. All this is possible thanks to that first curse – forgetting – but also to the psychological trait of humans behaving like sheep and doing what others do, as well as to methods of mass brainwashing by the media, repeating untruths until the people accept it as a truth. At that moment, the repetition of the “truth” continues in order not to be forgotten. And so it goes, round and round, the vicious circle.

Street Art – The Beauty from the Canal

The Malvazija Passage

Greed is like an aunt to capitalism because capitalism allows greed to become fully realized, to full glow. Accordingly, this disease of the present times that we (seem to) love so much, which we call capitalism, is also co-responsible for the deterioration of Venice. But it’s not just Venice. The disease has spread dangerously.

And so, in our Liburnia we have our mayors who are unfortunately enchanted by the ideas of capitalism, who are planning and promoting the so-called “Capital Projects”, and the population, being silly and uneducated, approves of this... But I won't say much about it because it’s the same story as Venice, so if you forgot, read from the beginning... Read until you understand!

Finally, one last question: Will we allow Liburnia to collapse because of capitalism and greed and to sink as Venice is sinking, due to “Capital Projects” such as golf courses, ropeways and marinas...?

(Yours) Truly,

Nikica Karas

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Few videos from Barcelona:

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