We’re home. I love traveling. I love seeing new places, the way people lived and live, how people eat and shop and dress; I love seeing how different the earth can look and sometimes I am amazed by how similar it can be halfway around the planet. I do not enjoy the hours of sitting in small cramped places it takes to actually get to the places I want to see. That is one reason (of many) that we chose to take a cruise this time. So we left Charlotte on Friday afternoon flying to Venice via Toronto and Vienna. Vienna was interesting! The flight from Toronto to Vienna did not land until about 10 minutes before our flight was supposed to leave for Venice. In spite of that, we exited the plane onto the tarmack and were loaded onto a bus and taken to the front entrance of the airport where we had to go through passport control and customs (we just did that in Charlotte AND in Toronto!) and had to run through the airport back to about where we started when our flight landed to catch our plane that had been held for almost an hour for us!!! YIKES! There were about 12 of us in the same predicament, but the passengers who had sat on that hot, stuffy plane for an hour waiting on us were NOT happy!! Once we arrived in Venice, we were guided along by cruise ship employees and taken directly to the ship. NICE.
I know many of you have eagerly awaited pictures and stories. I’m not sure you want all the pics OR all the stories at once! I took 1454 pictures!! My opinion on taking pictures is that with 8 gig memory chip in the camera, I’d rather take pictures that eventually get deleted than get home and wish I had a picture of something. I also was taking pictures of “weird” things because the way my mind works, I’m always seeing quilt patterns or a new use of color or shape that I think I may use in my work.
One night on the ship, I attended a lecture on Picasso. One statement stood out in my mind. The speaker told us that Picasso said if he saw something he could use in his work, he felt free to use it. As I walked through ancient ruins, I was struck by how similar many of the patterns were to what we’ve been using in quilts for the past few hundred years.
So, to the stories and pictures:
We arrived on our ship around lunchtime on Sat. Once we ate lunch, we decided to get a map and walk into Venice. Downtown was only about 1 mile from the ship…. We walked and walked and saw gondoliers and canals and crossed several bridges. By around 4 we decided we really had no idea where we were or how to get back out: Venice is a maze of small alleys intersected by canals and bridges. Best we can figure, we walked about 6 miles by the time we found our way back to the ship. We are very thankful to a very small, older Italian woman who told us to go down the next alley and to “go and go and go”.
This alley is actually much larger than the one we walked down in the dark!
Our second day in Venice, we took a small taxi boat from the ship over to St. Mark’s square and stayed within a few blocks of the square periodically swinging back around to be sure we didn’t get lost a second time! This day found us sharing the small alleys with racers in an Orienteering race. The youngest racer looked to be about 7 and the oldest must have been in his 80’s. What was fun to watch was that each racer had a map and compass and they were weaving in and out of alleys each with a different goal in mind. One racer would go left and the next right; then someone would come out of the same alley another racer would go down. We stood transfixed watching for quite a while.
That afternoon our ship left Venice and the views were spectacular!
The next morning we found ourselves docked just outside of Dubrovnik:
These pictures were taken overlooking Dubrovnik while we were standing on the city wall. The city wall is one and a half mile around and there are over 900 steps to go up and down during the walk; the walk took Steve and me about 2 hours because we kept stopping to look at the views.
Yes, we did walk up to the top of that watchtower!!! 🙂
Two cities down and 4 more to go….. I will post again tomorrow with more photos and stories.