Friday 15 November 2019

Poor Venice

Both climate change and bureaucratic incompetence are being blamed for the Venice floods.  Venice has been sinking all my life, and I suppose it will eventually sink---unless of course Venetian and other Italian officials really get their act together.

I am reminded of the idea that the Amazon jungle should be the responsibility of the world, not the Brazilian government and the other eight regimes with Amazonian territory. Would it be nice if Venice were ruled by professional conservationists, like Benedict Ambrose? One thing about Old Building Fanatics: they love their work more than money, and embezzle from its preservation fund they would not. 

My one and only trip to Venice was in 1998, and I remember it being a sad place. Of course, it may have been me, not Venice, that was sad. I made a mental note not to return to the city without a loved one. Being all alone, save for my Contiki tour group, was sad in Venice. Now I am wondering if I shall ever return, for tourism is killing the community as much as it pours money into it. 

I was there that October, so the crowds were not as daunting as they would have been in July. Because most of us tourists dress any which way now, crowds of tourists detract from the beauty of a place. Venice is intricately beautiful, but crowds are not, and because when I think of Venice, I think of crowds and obscenely overpriced gelato in St. Mark's Square, I have not be dying to return.

If I did return, I would read all about it first, spurred by the understanding that this would be for the last time in my life, not only because Venice may indeed slip under the lagoon before I die, but because I myself would be an unlovely foreign tourist, part of a crowd, displacer of citizens.

At least I was in my twenties when I first saw Venice, and although I had no entree anywhere, knew no Venetians, stayed in a cheaper hotel outside, and had a cookie-cutter Venetian tourist experience, the memories are special to me now because I was young. My unasked for general advice is to go to the great urban jewels of the world when you are old enough to truly enjoy them and not to old to truly enjoy yourself. This means between 18 and, say, 28. 

I suppose in some cases you should take an oldster with you, but only if they have some useful skill (like local languages) or acquaintance in the urban jewel of your choice. My dear late friend Angela brought the first Scottish art exhibition to the Venice Biennale, and she was friends with an actual Venetian family. Angela, therefore, would have been an excellent chaperone for a young person wanting to see Europe. She had acquaintance in Paris, too, and in Oslo, I believe. 

Should my niece and nephews' eyes fall upon this post, I will point out that I would be an excellent oldster to bring along on travels to Italy and Poland. However, I do hope they are 18 or 19 before they   see these countries. Currently they seem not to distinguish much between playgrounds in Brussels and playgrounds in Berlin.  

Of course, I am taking for granted that transatlantic air travel for entertainment purposes will still be permitted when my younger relations reach gap-year age. Greta Thunberg has finally found someone to sail her back to Sweden, which suggests a new (or renewed) industry for forward-thinking sailors: eco-transit. Currently it takes just under 4 days for racers to sail from New York to Cornwall. It warms my heart to image the seas full of sailboats racing across the seas with their eco-conscious travellers. 

Well, that's enough from me, for I have to write up a speech on the use of the internet to further socially conservative causes I'm giving tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dorothy,
    I very much hope that the silence here means only that good things are happening elsewhere. However I whish you and B.A. a blessed Christmas an an equally blessed new Year.