TYTN II's PicturesPages
After a thoroughly interesting day yesterday the plan was to see what bits of Venice looked liked without so many people. Sure there would still be loads of people but less than yesterday and we might even get a better view of St Marks Square. Unfortunately the amount of clutter still in the square diminished its impressiveness so I still couldn't imagine a sniper in the bell tower gunning down a lone man causing the pidgins to fly away as in an episode of The Saint or perhaps it was something else.
With the only Piazza in Venice complete we embarked on a trip to the Church of Della Salute (Cheisa Della Salute). Why? Well like all good and bad searches and escapades the answer is purely because it is there. Taking the long way around by foot to save the water bus fair and so we could take in Venice we converted a two minute water ride into a slightly arduous and confusing wriggle through cold back streets using nothing more than a tourist map and a GPS and Google Maps. BTW because of the narrowness of the allies the poor old GPS did have it's work cut out but we got there to find... A Church. Hooray now lets get back taking a far shorter route than we took to arrive.
The picture is of the Grand Canal just as it stops at the Cheisa Della Salute on the right. Whilst it was tiring and some of the trip seemed a chore because we went around the long way, if we had have taken the bus we might not have heard an American express an interest in only staying in England for one more year, so they could go somewhere that they could go out when it's February. They did however say this whilst being fully clad in winter wear. I suspect England is no colder at the moment it just doesn't have Gondolas.
No self-respecting person should be without a mask at the Venice Carnival. It's just a good job that I lost all my self respect many years ago or I too may have glamed up like Elton John and joined in.
It's definitely an interesting place to be at this time though at some point you do wonder when it will stop what with all the crowds funnelling onto the many bridges. Despite this a happy but tiring day was had by all so back to the hotel for a well earned Nastro and Cigarette. Mind you we saw nothing much as we were always at the back of the crowd but we did see someone descend from the tower in St Marks Square which in the end felt more like an stress position endured by interrogated POWs because of the time the chap took to come down.
Blimey have I been busy. So busy that I you're unfortunately going to have to put up with another old picture.
I think it's amazing that whilst you're in this Cathedral you have a small courtyard with walkways around that contains such a beautiful view... well I think so. It's seems to be a similar scene in taly and Spain with tower and a beautiful courtyard. It does make you forget the scary steps up and the scary steps that you will have to descend on your way out that you can see on this picture.
What do you expect to see on the outside of an ancient Greek city in Italy? Yes that's right, a great big papier mache ball chained to a post. As if finding is the biggest and most pointless papier mache ball outside Paestum's side gets, imagine my surprise to find papiermache.co.uk a whole site dedicated to everything that is papier mache. I suppose natural questions are who made it? Why is it there? Is it around all the time? When was it created? And who created it?s Of course those questions could be asked of the ball in Paestum too.
Because I forgot I had my phone with me you will never see any pictures of the Grotto Smeraldo, but if the grotto is pretty famous then someone will have a brilliant picture somewhere of it on the web. Mind you this was never the idea behind Zamyatin so I don't know why I said that other than to console you that if you were that interested in it you could find pictures elsewhere. It's a place to go alright but there is little to see; but with a backdrop of other places such as Solerno and the Paper Museum on the Amalfi tourist landscape seeing a small cave with an under the sea opening letting in the light causing the water glow blue is an attraction in itself. Add to this a boat ride in the cave that takes you round in a ten yard circle captained by a mad man then you feel that the fifteen Euros were all worth it. Well it was more than fifteen, the chap in the boat does remind you not to forget him, as if you can. Ten of the fifteen includes the boat trip to the grotto attended by a chap telling you about all the sights all down the coast as you pass whilst he smells of beer from the night before and by the smell of it he smells of beer from today.
So back to Amalfi and lunch and then back. There appears to be what looks like a fifties style ferry that appears a couple of times a day. Half the size of the Duke of Lancaster it awkwardly and gingerly docks in harbour that doesn't seem large enough. I only mention this because it looks an impressive beast just like the Duke of Lancaster and if the pictures come out alright then I'll put them up here.
On a traffic note. On the way back to the hotel we saw an exasperated American complaining to her husband that when crossing the road a car nearly hit her. I never saw the incident but I would say that in Italy a "nearly hit" counts as a miss.
Ignoring the guide book for a second time we set out for Positano. Consisting of little more than the obligitory marina (quite important since road access has been denied for over a week due to a landslide), beaches, bars, boutiques and a Church (S. Maria Asumpta) we walked around with a grumpy seven year old (not included in the ticket price) and left. It was pretty enough and the church was a little impresive, perhaps when the photos come back I'll scan them in and add them here.
This is a view from the ferry back. Ten or fiffteen minutes late it got a wiggle on, choosing to turn the thirty minute trip there into a fifteen minute blast back with aircon -mind you it was a bigger boat. As the grumpy seven year old put it "it's bigger than an airplane". Well it was wider as far as the seats were concerned. Grumpyness subsided when offered to sit on the upper deck outside, a luxury not allowed on the way out due to yesterday's sunburn incident. Also helping to good mood was her being handed the video camera. This fifteen minute epic naver may appear online I am afriad. This will assure it the title of the "Zamyatin the lost tapes/memory cards" along with all my other dull movies.
It was a day of rest at the house of Zamyatin so the beach in Amalfi was the order of the day. Not that good for pictures but good for... resting. Not a seasoned rester and always in need of a good picture... OK, always in need of a picture I left the good ladies Zamyatin at the beach for an hour in the middle of a day of sunbathing for two reasons. Firstly I am no good at sitting doing nothing. Secondly I fancied doing my own thing for a bit and thirdly I heard that there was a paper museum at the very top of Amalfi and I was sure the climb would not be enjoyed by my Wife and Daughter.
The climb was hardish but not that bad so I strode to the top in usual me fashion to realise that I was sweating through my shirt as usual. I found myself in a guided tour of the place and being asked if I spoke Italian, to which I said no. Apaulingly like all (most) Brits I rely on knowing brand names and the words for please and thankyou and rudimentary counting that might even go as high as 5 or 10 if you're lucky so long as there are pauses during the latter stages if counting to 10. So the guide turned to the Italians apologetically and asked if they spoke English, of course they did. Feeling like a shunned idiot I hoped the tour would end quick and mercifully it did. What can you expect from a 3.50EUR tour? I now know that Amalfi paper is of the highest quality and is made of cotton. I also know that the next time I shall bring my daughter and when they ask if I speak Italian I shall say Si but then point to my daughter shaking my head and rolling my eyes saying essa non pug.
Anyway to the picture. There were no good photo ops in the museum and the only picture I took of the place was rubbish so I had to settle myself with this. Coming back down the gorge that is Amalfi you end up at the Marina. In the middle where all the roads join there's this statue. With no markings and nothing in the guide books this is all I have. Obviously it will be something to do with Amalfi's Naval past but I am sure you could have guessed it and I am sure there is a Wikipedia page on it. Good luck.
Yes I know it's not his house at all, it's a Temple for Neptune set in Paestum and it's not Roman Greek. If our guide it to be belived then anything we consider Roman started here, yes here. That arena stuff with the Roamans? Here. Gladiator? Roman? No they started here too. Nastro Azzurro? Started here too, they found old fossilised beer cans. OK I'm joking about the Nastro. Paestum started as a Greek settlement taken by the Romans and finally lost in the nineth century only to be discovered nine centuries later when they build a road right through the middle of it. Full of the foundations of old buildings and the main bits of three a temples the later of which is this on built 450BC.
Next on to Paestum museum in the end we were completely Paestumed out so it was to lunch. Nearby Water Buffalo graze producing Buffalo Mozzarella, I'd have liked to see the Buffalo do this but instead we consumed their hard work. No course was complete without a dollop of the stuff whether it needed it or not. I was afraid to ask for the Chicken Rogan Josh. Needless to say I chose the Mozzarella and Ricotta Crepe and the Buffalo Panacotta.
Once fed and watered it was time to try and sleep off the food and Peroni with an Italian Job style drive on the twistly mountain roads back to Amalfi.
Read all the guidebook advice on Salerno. We read up but went anyway. Rudderless without our trusty guidebook we ambled aimlessly around the streets and back alleys hoping to stumble on something. More of a shopping place and even at it seemed strange as the shops appeared and then faded only to appear again. Mind you that might have been because we were wandering. Also since it's write-up was all about shopping I suspected grand shops and masses of them. It contained small interesting shops I suppose; full of jewellery, toys and groceries but not in the same shop you understand. Perhaps for the day-tripping souvenir hunter.
This is a picture of a water fountain that I assume had some statue in the middle of it. Now it's completely overgrown unless the overgrown bit is the whole point.
A very hot day today. I say today as if it's not hot now. Just imagine a no shirted me typing at his phone with a Nastro. Not a pretty thought I suppose so don't imagine it.
We walked around Amalfi today and there's nothing much here I can report. I suspect it's a Marina for the big boys with their boats. The Cathedral pictured here looks impressive but perhaps I have been spoilt by Seville and Cordoba, so I was left relatively unmoved even if St Andrew's bones are kept there to be dragged out on display every so often. Still the walk up is impressive if not a little worrying especially with a 7 year old in tow.
So after we set down in a bar for lunch that didn't happen in that we were too hot to eat. I asked for a beer and a water. I was asked was size of water and I replied large being thirsty. What turned up was a litre of both as if asking for a small water is an obvious option whereas everyone needs a litre of beer. I struggled but I overcame the beer but had to take the water away thus proving their theory.
Then to the beach and hopefully time to relax. I managed just enough of my book to say that I had started in time to was my daughter attempt to hold back the sea... Sometimes with her face.