Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tuscany in a Day, the Divine Comedy

The highlight of the port of Livorno may be one of Moby Lines' ferries, garishly adorned with Looney Toons characters amidst the uniform grey of heavy industry. The ship's livery is evidence that not all European ferry disasters involve loss of life. Otherwise, I have almost no recollection of Livorno. It is the seaside gateway to the treasures of Tuscany, and most cruise tourists don't stop to look on their way to Pisa or Florence. I didn't. The Livornese may be the old-world equivalents of the overshadowed residents of New Jersey. 

Upon disembarking the Emerald Princess, we boarded a motorcoach promptly at 7 a.m. to beat the summer crowds to Pisa.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

I took this picture at the Pont du Gard world heritage site's visitor center this past summer (2015), and in the light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, I'm reminded that these principles are what France is all about.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

First World Problems on the Italian Riviera

Excursion queues on cruise ships are proof that, but for a scattering of genius individuals through history, the human species should not have progressed beyond the cave. Even management befitting of livestock is not enough to guarantee all of of the herd egresses from the staging area in an orderly manner. The Emerald Princess was berthed in Genoa, and we were booked for a day's tour of the Italian Riviera. Prosperity seems only by random chance when you watch so many well-to-do people struggle to navigate their way to the gangway on command. I could only think of the wreck of the Costa Concordia, rusting away within a stone's throw of our mooring like the rotting carcass of a beached whale, a tangible symbol of human absurdity.

Costa Concordia is in the process of being scrapped in the background (left). May the schooner in the foreground have a happier fate.
But the army of shepherds gets everyone to their designated bus in the end. As I waited to board the motorcoach I overheard our day's tour guide tell tell one young man, " need to have a ticket to get on the bus."