Travel: Sleepers and Bazaars

After Ranthambore, Nick and I had booked a night train to our next city, Jodhpur.

imageAs has often been the case, we were woefully unprepared for how basic the sleeper cabins were. Unlike trains in Europe, you are only provided a cot. It was only after we found our berths that it dawned on us why so many people on our platform had brought pillows and blankets.

 

Needless to say, it was the coldest night we’ve had. The train windows are openly ventilated, and despite putting on all our layers, time passed slowly. I’m pretty sure I contracted a cold because of this. ūüė¶

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Jodhpur is known by two names, the “Sun City” for the year-round sunny weather, and the “Blue City” due to the uniquely blue houses that surround the fort. It is the second largest city in Rajasthan, and was formerly the capital of the Marwar Kingdom.

 

 

imageNick and I were not up for much after we finally arrived at our hotel. It was also the King’s Birthday (royalty still resides in the palace) so all of the major tourist attractions happened to be shut down. We opted to visit the Ghanta Ghar “Clock Tower,” and roam the nearby Sadar Bazaar to make a second attempt at finding me a Saree.

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It took quite a bit of negotiating, but we finally found a shop that had all the pieces and would measure me so that it would be a custom-fit. We then proceeded to buy all the requisite shoes and jewelry to match this outfit before heading back to the hotel for dinner and an early night.

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Travel: Piazza San Marco

Anticipating the crowds we would encounter, my friend and I opted to wake early so that we could avoid the lines. I’m quite impressed with ourselves as we made it to St. Mark’s Square around 8 AM when it was still peaceful and quiet, void of boisterous vendors and the hubbub of tourist groups.

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St. Mark’s Square is the principal public square in Venice. This sprawling open area formed the social, religious, and political centre of Venice.

A popular remark attributed to Napoleon termed this area as “the drawing-room of Europe.”

It is breathtaking to witness during tranquil moments, but also impressive as one of the few remaining great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic.

The Piazza is dominated by some landmark buildings:

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St Mark’s Basilica

 

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Torre dell’Orologio

 

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Campanile

Procuratie

Museo Correr

 

 

Doge’s Palace:

The Doge’s Palace is built-in the Venetian Gothic style; it was the residence of the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice. He was the chief magistrate and leader of the Serene Republic of Venice¬†for over a thousand years. Doge’s were elected for life by the city-state’s aristocracy, and was commonly the shrewdest elder in the city. He was variously referred to as “My Lord the Doge”, “Most Serene Prince”, and “His Serenity.”

This institution originated around 700 replacing the  tribunes that formerly led the cluster of early settlements around the lagoon. The official elected was a the local representative of the Emperor of Constantinople, and regarded as the ecclesiastical, the civil and military leader, in a power structure named caesaropapism. His prerogatives were not defined with precision, and despite the position being entrusted to members of the inner circle of powerful families, a law was necessary to decree that no doge had the right to name his successor.

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In 1172 the election process was finally entrusted to a committee of forty, who were chosen by four men selected from the Great Council of Venice, an annually nominated group of twelve people. New regulations were then introduced in 1268 that remained effective until the end of the republic in 1797. The primary objective was to minimize the influence of great families by instituting a complex elective machinery.

The ceremonial formula before the doge took the oath of¬†investiture¬†was as follows. “This is your doge, if it please you.”

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