Well, I said I wouldn’t be posting from Europe, but the wife has gone earring shopping again, and I had a few minutes to make a post.
I’m sitting in one of those Internet Cafe thingies, typing on an insane Italian keyboard. The apostrophe is way up on the top row, and every time I need to press the “shift” key, I end up making one of these: <.
It’s been a great week, with a week to go. We’ve spent a few days in Venice, and a few more in Rome. Venice is in fact the true Euro-Disney, complete with rides. Here’s a picture of a tour group taking their pre-packaged gondola ride, lined up one after the other the length of the canal. It’s a real-life It’s a Small World. The only thing destroying the Disneyesque illusion there is the omnipresent graffiti — most of it in protest of the
U.S. Coalition of the Willing’s war in liberation of Iraq.
Here in Rome, the tourists are more wi-fi than ever. Tour group leaders have wireless headsets, and patrons stroll silently with headphones through which they are fed they key bits of cultural literacy they’ll need to impress their friends when they get home. Still low-tech are the car-antennas topped with handkerchiefs the tour guides wave as beacons so the group members won’t get lost on the walk from the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain.
Of course, I also can’t help but marvel at the same sights everyone else does. The Pantheon manages to convey a sense of volume that must be as profound today as it was when it was built nearly 2,000 years ago. The illusionistic ceiling of Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola is utterly breathtaking. The Sistine Chapel is, in a word, divine. It’s been a great trip. More later.