Friday, June 5, 2009

Travel Diary - June 5th

I must apologize for my absence this week.
For almost two years I've dedicated myself to publishing one post a day, sometimes taking a day off now and then.
Access to internet is available on the ship, but at the going rate of "an arm and a leg" I'm not tripping over myself to get things done via the web.
I've never had much tolerance for the "popcorn in a movie theatre" approach to pricing.
This ship even takes things a step further: drinking water is available at the dinner table…for an extra fee.
Needless to say, I buy it in town and smuggle the contraband H20 aboard.
My wife and I were musing this evening over the fact that our cruise ship stops in a collection of ports that have all, in some way or another, been ruled or connected to the former Venetian Republic.
Yesterday, in Rhodes (Greece), on the side of a church we saw a winged lion holding a book.
Today, while touring the Acropolis in Athens, our guide pointed out a nearby hilltop and told us that "the Venetians" had taken over the hill and set up a fortress, loaded their cannons, and proceeded to bombard the Parthenon and all of the surrounding buildings.
Three days ago we visited Bari, at the heel of the boot. I'm not sure if it was ever under Venetian rule, but I'm sure they went into port there many times. Meanwhile, our final port will be just across the Adriatic in Croatia's Dubrovnik; it's my understanding that Venetian control encompassed that port city as well.
Now if I can just figure out a way to write this whole cruise off as a business trip!


Ricky said...

While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

Tamas Feher from Hungary said...

Greg, be prepared for more nasty to come from the cruse-ship companies. Supposedly they live off not just the ticket price, but a handsome tip at the end of the journey, which they openly demand from disembarking customers!

To the topic of drinking water: I was as much suprised about the situation in Venezia. My country Hungary is rich in springs, so mineral water costs peas. In Venezia I almost fainted seeing 1.5 euro prices for a small bottle of water! Luckily DESPAR supermercato on the mainland sold three times as much for just 30 eurocents.

BTW, the mafia's might partly comes from its grip over drinking water sales in dry Sicily, where many places are without tap water.

Tamas Feher from Hungary said...

Nature of Venetian rule is difficult to judge as a whole. The Aegean and Levante regions (Greece to Holy Land) were scene to rather nasty fights against the Ottoman Empire, a brutally medieval entity, so venetians could not pretend to be choirboys there.

On the other hand, venetian rule in its small italian mainland territory and the adriatic shore cities was much appreciated, even mourned when Napoleon ended it. Stability, prosperity and the rule of law under strict written codes.

The only serious complaint was about venetians' dislike of higher education and medical sciences. That is people of St. Mark usually tried to stop epidemics by building a new church, not always an efficient remedy...