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ADVENTURE! That weekend was supposed to be relaxing. It was many things, but relaxing it was not. After waiting around train stations that smelt of impatience (thankyou Douglas Adams), I got to Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre, the Five Lands. My hostel room was shared with 4 architecture students from Columbus, Ohio, and I have to say, goddamn Americans! You want to dislike them but they keep on being these warm, friendly people who are really good to you! Hopefully I will catch up with 'em at a later date. Anyways, we hiked all over the shop, ate good food, saw beautiful countryside, learnt that sea-urchin stings are not fatal when I grabbed one instead of a ball I was after (Brian, one of the architects, has life threatening allergies to sea-food, and he was all ready to stick me with his emergency syringe if I went into anaphylactic shock), collected cuts from the slate rock everywhere, got nasty blisters but had a good old time.

After bidding my traveling companions Bocca Lupo, I decided to head further south to Pisa for the day. The compound is very good, but I feel the management are irresponsible and hypocritical in their handling of the irreplaceable art they are supposed to be the custodians of. There are self-righteous signs everywhere about how marvelously they restore everything, but when I went into the cemetery and duomo, the tourists are taking flash photos of the medieval frescoes and paintings. In the duomo, I went up to one lady and politely informed her that flash photos bleach the pigments, but the selfish bitch already knew. She just didn't care. There were dozens of people using their flashes, making it impossible to talk to them all, so when an employee came out yelling that everyone should be quite (ironic) owing to the 'sacred, holy' nature of the place, I asked him if he could make an announcement about the flashes. The little prick shot me a dirty look, shrugged his shoulders and walked off. Thus, I went to the ticket counter to push the issue a little more, and the fellow there, also with a dirty look on his face, informed me that it is the official policy to allow flash photos, despite the fact they acknowledge the harm it does.

Someone cynical may assume they want to keep their restoration staff employed and their concern about their charges is only financial. Some may think it disgusting they are more concerned about their grass and have taken more stringent measures to protect it than the paintings. Some of you may think I'm pushing an irrelevant point too far, but I firmly believe that these paintings are a legacy left to us from an earlier generation, and our legacy to future generations is whether or not we are greedy and short-sighted enough to destroy them for photos which can never be of any reasonable quality anyway. In any case, I will be writing a letter, though I doubt these heathens will take much notice.

When I was finished at Pisa, around 6pm, I wandered down to the station and discovered the earliest train I could get back to Padova would get me there at 4:45am, going via Firenze (Florence). Thus, I got to Firenze and with several hours to kill so I caught the new Spiderman flick. Perhaps not surprisingly, you don't lose much of the plot when you don't understand the language. Good film, but far too little development and screen time for Venom. One final note: one of the two train stations in Firenze is named 'Campo Marte', or Mars Camp. Nice.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
May. 2nd, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)
Gah! Those flash fuckers all deserve a swift punch in the junk. Jerks.

I'm glad you had a good time though. I was hoping you would.

-Jodie x
(Anonymous)
May. 9th, 2007 06:29 am (UTC)
I apologise to all for my daughter's language (just you wait until I get home!).

Jodie's Mum.
(Anonymous)
May. 7th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
The travelling man
Hi Paul

I have just began to follow your travels, and you have a way of writing that is both enjoyable and informative.

It is amazing how officialdom can ruin any good adventure, aside for that BS, It seems like you are having a great time.

Your northern family will continue to follow your travels.

Mal
(QLD)
paulfraser
May. 7th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
Re: The travelling man
Cheers! It's always a boost to hear folks back home, and especially the family, are reading.

All the dramas just give me good stories, so once the sting of the frustration wears off everything is good.

I hope all is rolling on well up north. I believe you are up to Stage 5 restrictions; I can only imagine what that entails. The rain hammered down here last week, and thinking back I can't even remember the last time I was caught in proper rain like that.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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