Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Travel Blogging XI

Ashore in Venice:  We left the MS Artemis today, said goodbye to our doughty little ship and her jolly crew. They picked up a new group of 'victims,' I mean "passengers" here in Venice today, we met a few. They'll be doing the trip we did, only in reverse, ending in Malta where we began. I wish them fair winds and following seas.

Now we're in a nice hotel - the Bonvecchiati - not far from St. Mark's Square, the heart of Venice. I gotta say Grand Circle has put us in nice hotels on both ends of this trip, the Corinthian Palace in Valletta was nice too.

I don't like touring Venice. That's not the PC thing to say, but there it is. I think what I object to most is there are only two ways to get anywhere: on foot or by boat. Boat is fine, it's the on foot part I resent.

I also don't like the dirt, the crowds, the bridges to climb over, the occasional sewer smells on the canals, and the humidity. It is certainly picturesque and I love cruising out of Venice on a huge cruise ship, majestically looming over the city down whose main 'street' you sail.

Relatively few people live in Venice anymore. Most of those who work here live on the mainland and commute to this 'renaissance theme park' from homes ashore. Living there is cheaper and more convenient.

Italians moved to these islands originally to escape Atilla and his Huns who swept down here in the dying days of the Roman empire. The marshes were malarial and might kill you, the Huns for sure would kill you, so out here they moved.

Have I mentioned the weather has been very hot and sticky the last three days? Darned tough slogging for old and not-in-the-best-condition travelers carrying a few (okay, a lot of) extra pounds.

We're here one more full day and fly out day after tomorrow. I'm ready to go home to clean, dry air, simple food, open spaces, and getting around as providence intended: by motor vehicle. I miss it. Living downtown and getting around by bicycle or on foot - the 'bomb' here - just isn't me.


Yesterday we were in Ravenna, very nice seaside town with a million bicycles, the town being flat helps. It was the ususal mix of old this and that, including a church repurposed as the city main post office and some world class mosaics. Plus one excellent restaurant in a former cinema, its screen is still there. 

An interesting feature is dozens and dozens of art students sitting about sketching the architecture of the main square, some were quite good. Nice to see representational art, I am unmoved by most 'modern' or nonrepresentational art.