It's been a busy day, we've been to three different places, yes you heard it right, three, and they call this a holiday. The first was a must see, I don't know why, probably because the story is so remarkable. At Mosta you can see a church that was full at the time of bombings in the area, I suspect the bombs were supposed to hit the airfield that is now a Craft Village, anyway 4 bombs hit the church, 3 bounced off, two of which detonated without any causlties and the 4th dropped through the dome, hit a painting of Christ on the head and fell to earth without detonating or hurning anyone.From that moment on I suspect they celebrate Jesus Bomb Heading day. You can see a replica of the bomb in the church and whilst there is not guided tours, there was a helpful bloke there who explained everything.
The next stop was the Craft Villlage, yawn. If you like glass or ceramics or jewelry and that sort of stuff then go, but there's no need for everyone to go.
Finally to Marsaxlokk a small fishing village which is quite pretty and full of boats all painted in similary colours, all blue, yellow and red. As you can tell this bloke is a fisherman and so probably owns a blue yellow and red boat, unless it's all for the tourists and he actually owns something called a globaltrawler 3 that goes out once a week and hoovers up it's weekly ration of fish in one glup allowing him to pretend to fix his quaint nets for the rest of the week.
I am sure the last time we went to the National Waterways Museum it was huge, however this time, it seemed less so. I suspect part of that was because the engine hall was silent and the pump house was closed, so I suspect that didn't help. I also seem to remember that the blacksmith was working the last time too, so I suspect there were a lot of things to do. Perhaps we were lucky or maybe we went on a Saturday.
It's day one in Venice and it has been a tiring day with all the walking and getting in late last night. It's funny how your memory of trips ignores the long and partly arduous bits. I just never remembered that the water bus from the airport took that long. So as you could imagine I was getting more bored with each stop. Of course little chance to eat anything all day didn't help any as my hunger grew. Not that I am complaining. Whilst it was overcast taking this picture,and overcast weather is really difficult to take pictures in, it brightened up towards midday which was welcomed by a beer and then a glut of masked people with frilly wigs, some bizarre and some slightly scary to say the least. Anyway what tonight is to bring is anyone's guess, perhaps a trip into San Marco, a Bellini and a longer in Harry's Bar perhaps, who knows.
Which is a good start because this is the Duke of Lancaster which in itself is stranded on the coast near Mostyn. Of course I have been here before, but a while back I found that it had been painted... well graffitied to be honest and I wanted to see what they looked like. Of course since then I think other people have been busy and a few more have popped up as it hit the BBC news site though what is strange is that all but one of the works are on the other side of the ship which is not accessible to the public, so I can't help feel that the whole trip was a bit of a waste of time.
Feeling a little disappointed but with a few pictures captured (even after my Eye-Fi card decided to play up causing me to scurry around for a backup memory card) we set off back towards the direct path from the road, only to find that the tide had come in which not only flooded the path but made the water level on the path t come up to just below waist height. Now in an emergency this might have still been a viable route but finding a way down the path without falling into the river to the side may have been difficult so it was a detour down the coast in suede boots that were not really sited to yomping across fields. Of course yomping was the least of my worries keeping them on in the inches of mud were, I suddenly had images of the classic episode of the Good Life where Barbara tries to help but in the place of Barbara was me... in suede shoes. It wasn't a good look. It was a less of a good look at the end of the detour.
Being a sad sort of chap, when I found out that they made ships out of concrete I really wanted to see one. And now I have. This chap is FCB18 at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port. The museum is really impressive and I would definitely recommend it unless you don't like boats... or water, then you're best steering clear. It also has a pump house that houses a rather large engine and boiler which is very reminiscent but less impressive then the one in Astley Green but then again it would be rather difficult to be more impressive. Another interesting thing is Porter's row which is a street containing 4 cottages built in 1833 but done up in 1840's-1950's style.
And for this weekend's delectation we have the Anderton Boat Lift. Similar to the Falkirk Wheel in that it moves boats from a lower canal or rive to one over 50 feet above, this on is at least the original. Built in 1875 and used up until the 1970s whilst the Falkirk Wheel was build recently.
With the Northwich Thundersprint happening on the same day we turned up, we also had the enjoyment of seeing a Spitfire fly past several times. What a Spitfire has to to do with the Thundersprint I have no idea, other than they have a fly past every year by the sounds of it.
Anyway back to the picture. On the right the boat lift, and on the left there's the impressive and imposing salt works. This doesn't happen to be the best industrial building as far as I am concerned. In this picture the boat lift looks quite tall in respects to the building across the water. What you don't get in this picture is the building is huge and in fact there are bigger buildings just around the corner all teetering on top of silos that are huge enough to start with.
Years ago I used to do site trips to companies and messed about with their computers in in small offices in huge hangars and I used to be impressed but none of it seemed as impressive as these huge constructions.
Simple pic of a Gondola in Carnival season. I like the reflection from the water personally, it almost looks like it's reflecting off his hull which I think for me makes this picture. So as usual a complete chance causes a good picture. Well I say It's good. As in the (new) old tradition of Big Brother “You Decide”. Hmmm... perhaps I should put a voting thing on this site... on the other hand since comments didn't work then perhaps not.
With my luck there will be a film star of blue movies called Venice and now my hits will go through the roof. What is worse is as that when I started writing this wrote "With my luck there will be a" and Word Mobile suggested a word which it seems to wants to do anyway. It's an interesting feature that never works out the right word. In this case it suggested several words and suggested a line of three, in this case it suggested a word that made me chuckle. Top selection was a word that rhymed with plucker and started with an f. What is potty mouthed Word Mobile thinking about. It's got all post watershed.
Well today Murano (Uvavu) was a rather bad choice. If you like glass then perhaps it would be OK for you but after a while it starts getting boring. I got bored from the start. Also whilst there were interesting glass sculptures to snap (only photographically) I had no time to do it. I planned to take photos on the way back but there was no way back as we found a bus stop at the far end. We would have watched some glass blowing but it was a book only event and we were escorted off the premises quite literally. After such nice treatment and the fact the my Wife and I started to feel like we were bobbing about on the water despite being on dry land (no involvement with alcohol at all honest) it appeared time to go.
Back to San Marco and as luck would have it we stumbled upon the Helosphere, one of the performances we saw in the program that we though might be good but we thought we would just never happen to chance upon and here we were chancing upon it.
Now after a cultured day we are in Wylie Coyote territory on TV. In Italian or English it still makes as much sense.
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.
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.