01 October 2013 Tuesday - Ravenna

Today we drove from Tuscany to the city of Ravenna, which has one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. The city is known for its mosaic art, and there are little churches and such, with some beautiful mosaics on the wall. The nice thing about mosaics is that they don't lose much with time, so these pictures are as beautiful today as they were when they were created. Of course, we took lots of photos.

The churches were beautiful and the artwork was not all mozaic.

The town also contains the tomb of Dante, the author who wrote The Divine Comedy, which had his visions of heaven and hell, including his famous “Inferno”.

The down side is that it took a long time to drive there. From Ravenna, we drove to Venice, which is a few more hours driving. So between driving and eating, we didn't do much, other than walking around Ravenna and taking photos of the churches.

One of the churches had the remains of an ancient Roman church. It was flooded with water, but you could still see the tiles on the floor.

I don't know what it is about this town, but for some strange reason, I kept losing my bearings there.

At lunch, we gave Skip a hard time about wearing Mitzie's reading glasses. Then we all took turns wearing the glasses and taking photos. It was fun.

One of the things that amazes me about Italy is the number of tunnels. As I was driving, I went through what seemed like hundreds of tunnels through mountains. I can't imagine how much money it must have cost to blast dynamite through all these mountains to create all these tunnels.

Another thing that surprised me is the tolls: everyone tried to discourage us from driving in Italy, and one of their reasons was due to the high cost of the toll roads. But that wasn't my experience. I didn't keep track of how much it cost to get from Rome to Venice, but it wasn't the excessive amount everyone had warned me about.

After filling up the car's gas tank in Venice, we stopped at the airport and turned in our car. Then we took a bus to a square on the edge of the main city. Kathy and I left the others in the square while we walked a few blocks away and fetched the keys to the apartment where we are staying. Then we went back and we all caught a water bus. That brought us to the Realto bridge, which is closest to our apartment.

We pulled out our directions and tried to follow them, but they were difficult to say the least. For example, at one point it said to look for “The Golden Statue”. Well, we discovered that the statue is not golden; it's a statue of a man whose name was Golden. Another example: It said to turn left at the XXX bank, but we found two banks with that name, and they were very close to one another.

After a bit of a walk, dragging our heavy luggage, we finally found our apartment. Unfortunately, we had to climb five flights of stairs, dragging our luggage. Karen, Mitzie and Skip were all older than me and their luggage is much heavier, so I made several trips up and down the stairs, with one suitcase each trip. By the time I got to the last suitcase, I was very tired and hot. Kathy helped me with the last suitcase, taking the other end. Everyone (especially Skip) was exhausted from effort of climbing five flights of steps. Although I was tired, I was feeling pretty good; I'm much stronger now, due to all the exercise.