Sunday 14 April 2024

Moody: the works

A list of links to all my non-tech writings:


Glanglish - all 
with audio versions

Travel writings


Introduction to Moody's Black Notebook Travels

I have two great regrets in my life.  One is eating a chicken sandwich in Varanasi, shortly before flying to Kathmandu.  This gave me the worst food poisoning I have ever experienced, nearly killed me, and meant that I missed a unique opportunity to visit Lhasa before it was turned into a Chinese Disneyland.  The other regret involves three Inter-rail trips that I made in 1979, 1980 and 1981.  They were extraordinarily rich in sights and experiences.  Stupidly, though, I did not keep a travel diary at that time, so all I have are vague, if important, memories of what I saw, thought and felt.

At least I was able to learn from these two huge blunders.  Afterwards, I no longer ate chicken sandwiches in exotic lands, and I kept travel diaries for all my major trips.  The latter took the form of black notebooks, bought from Ryman's, in two formats: one small enough to fit in a pocket, and another, slightly larger, that I kept in the travel bag I used for longer journeys. 

I now have dozens of these notebooks sitting behind me, filled with my illegible scrawl.  I have been meaning to turn them into digital texts for some years, and to bring them into the 21st century, but have never got around to it until now.  I am not transcribing them in any set order, but will place links to them below, as they go online, ordered chronologically.  There is no overall plan, no overall significance.  They are just what they are: quick thoughts jotted down in black notebooks, captured moments of a specific time and place.

1986 India I: Delhi, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri
1986 India II: Kashmir
1986 India III: Jaipur, Udaipur
1987 Italy
1993 Urbino new post

1993 Urbino


Urbino: a name that has hovered strangely in my consciousness for more than 20 years (at King’s, an article referred to “The Urbino”). The reality – as opposed to the vague image of a hilltop town – is perhaps more striking than I thought.  Seen from afar (as we drove up in the car after someone had to pick us up when we had failed to catch the original train, after misreading the orario) – it was muted, but as soon as we had taken the lift up from the car park (300 L.) and were greeted by the amazing facade of the palace, it was clear that the place was a bit different.

Walking along the fine arcade opposite, we came to the main Piazza della Repubblica, an irregularly-shaped space, and then we turned left along Via Raffaello, up the hill towards Raphael’s birthplace, then moving off to the right towards a classical facade, a primary school that stood in for the music summer school registration office.  That smell of paint, that sound of high, hard rooms.

Then back to the car and we sneak into the city – closed to non-residents’ cars – to leave our luggage.  The place we are staying at in Via Saffi, on the edge of the city (not that this is far).  From here (and where I now sit in the living space of the mansard) there is a stunning view over the Marche hills (or maybe Umbrian?), now blue with haze, and not so much rolling as tumbling.  Not much sun – great fleecy clouds.  Everything in the attic rather low in height for us grandi.

Yesterday evening, a lovely stroll to the antipodes and restaurant (Ragno d’Oro, Viale Don Giovanni Minzoni, 2
) that serves a characteristic dish: crescie, made in the open kitchen with pig’s lard and panache, twirling the pastry round into coils, and then spirals – cooked, they are cut in two and have various savouries put in them – verdure, rucola and cheese etc.  Yummy.  Then to the piazza for an unsatisfactory (bottled) juice.  But the situation made up for it, the night falling, the lights coming on, the people gradually filling the tables.

Strange to be here, if only because now I feel in an odd, rather frightening prepartum stage, with Doing The Business about to come.  I have with me printouts (Word, XL, Project) of the various plans; I hope to work a little on it, since I am only down for one course – clavicembalo with Rinaldo Alessandrini – had to practise for the last week, 2/3 hours a day: Byrd’s "The Carman's Whistle", Couperin "La Couperin" (Ordre 21ème de clavecin in E minor)
, Scarlatti F major sonata and Bach C major 48 prelude and fugue (the lush, not pretty, prelude).  

I have woken reasonably early at 6.30am, showered, and smell heavenly coffee from somewhere… Walking around the city (the sun now strong) after breakfast in the Piazza della Repubblica.  The particular quality of the bricks: they look like carefully treated masterpieces themselves.  The Piazza del Rinascimento: stunning set piece.


A strange day.  To the cembalo class with Rinaldo Alessandrini – where I sit for four hours on my bum and listen to others.  But this afternoon in the main church (cathedral) by the palazzo (great facade) working on Doing The Business which is coming along.  Before, a walk, rather hot and sweaty in the city.  The narrow streets, with their brick pavements, a little oppressive.  In some ways, Urbino is Siena upside down, everything falling where Siena rises.  Last night very civilised meal at Ristorante Oxford.  

My position here is rather ambiguous: playing the harpsichord briefly yesterday and today is the first time for two years (since 1991 Dartington) – most of this music for the first time ever on the harpsichord.  Strange too this school with its hard seats and semi-desperate musicians.  Rinaldo impressive technically, but rather down – shyness apparently.  Musicians give so much and yet generally receive (from this world, at least) so little.  Like actors, but the latter are more extrovert – when they’re not playing, musicians are almost invisible.  A world full of musicians would have to live in harmony - they couldn’t risk damaging their hands/throats/mouths….


On the hill opposite Urbino, looking across to the palace.  What a view...the whole city at a glance, almost.  Strange, but rather like Mowley in Doing The Business, I find myself increasingly worried by the state of international affairs: things are really going to get worse, I fear.  

A bell rings – that clangorous after-sound, hollow, other-wordly…


A day off.  (Interesting night before last – trapped by torrential rain, very impressive lightning.)  At the 
Palazzo DucaleIn the library – rather bare.  Always interesting to see third-rate pix – reminds you how good the others are…

Finally PieroThe Flagellation: much smaller than I expected – also very grey, not brown with age.  And the Madonna too – very grey.  With the strange stillness in the figures – very modern.  The Flagellation – the extreme perspective of the marble floor.  The isolation of the spaces.  The blue of the sky.  The very low viewpoint.  That stillness again – as if caught in a moment of pensiveness.  Strange to see the naked wood around the outside. The Madonna – the angel with folded arms like a heavy.  The imperious gesture of the child.  The moulding on the wall behind.  The mother’s downward glance.

To the study – the smell of wood.  Like painting by numbers – but in wood.  The music in the wood, the lute strings.  The Tempietto delle Muse with 88 putti, all different, in the ceiling.

La Città Ideale  – possibly Piero, or by Luciano Laurana – reminds me of Canary Wharf – all the grey marble and classical forms.  Strange that in the ideal city there are no people.  Just the hint of them: a door half open, a few plants, paths in the hills.  No animals either.  At once serene and disquieting.  

Odd: pic of Giusto di Gand (Ghent) - apostles and Federico with his nose…  The Raphael tapestries.  Unusual colouring of Giovanni Santi saints.  Weirdest – Signorelli – two pictures – what drugs was he on?  The space very odd – god outside.  Raphael – La Muta – very unusual – big-jawed woman, like a horse-faced GiocondaTwo dull Titians.


Work today – more on "The Carman’s Whistle" – and nothing on "La Couperin".  Also played the Prelude and Fugue in C, Book II.  Very incorrectly, it has to be said.   Trouble is, I am not built for practising, and tire quickly. 

To the concert: Roy Goodman and the Euro Baroque Players.  Roy looks like a pint-sized Dennis Hopper, and jigs around in a very unbecoming way.  Good play of the Rameau and interesting Dutch bloke – HellendaalVivaldi awful – very muddy.  Left before Handel.  Pity about the acoustics of the church (San Domenico).

Thursday 29 February 2024

1994 Bari

5.8.94 Cozze

Bloody flies – the heat driving them – like us – mad.  Mid to high 30s, humid, sun like a knife.  Down here, staying in a house in Mola di Bari – street rather noisy, very hot in the afternoon.  Cozze by the sea wonderful (we swam for about 30’ today – very salty), but the beach a poor thing.  Mostly tufa stone (?) - some cut out in parallelepipeds – leaving curious and sharp shapes.  Litter and worse everywhere – the Italians being distinctly ungreen.

Flew down here from Garda/Verona.  £400 – but the older I get, the more I feel money is to be spent.  From Verona to Rome, Fiumicino – first time there.  Cool but quite small and lacking in character.  Then down to Bari.  The drive from the airport through the dry land, full of blocks of flats, building sites, rubble.  A poor land.  A sense of desperation in the air of being a long way form the rich north.  Interesting the dialect here: very sing-song, with vowels sliding strangely, but overall quite musical.  

The day’s plan here rather contrary to mine: start and finish late.  The first day here we were whisked off at 10pm to Polignano, a nearby village – beautiful old town, full of brilliant whitewashed houses – rather like the souk and old town of Essouira.  Fine views to the sea, no beach but sheer drops.

I have been rising early-ish at 6am to work in the few cool hours.  Outlining the Internet book – aided by the many Internet books I have read recently (around 25).  With portable and modem here – recently took out subscription to MC-Link, the first Internet service in Italy.  Via host, and no SLIP.  Still, I have been able to telnet to CIX – but only at 2400 baud – because also using Italpac X.25 network that only runs at 2400.  Otherwise it’s a direct line to Rome – but pricey.  Give that the line seems good (3400 characters per second achieved) I’ll probably lash out on a 28.8K modem when V.34 is approved (I almost wrote homologated…).  With the possibility of a regular Internet column for Computer Weekly I could be spending more time online.

Yesterday we went in the evening to the family orchard.  As well as figs (which grow in abundance here – black and green – dio sia lodato), pears (tiny, delicious) almonds (rather green), lemons, prickly pears (I think: called fichi d’India here) there were some amazing gelsi (mulberries).  A super-sweet, super-juicy blackberry, we picked them straight from the tree – and were covered in a blood-red juice.  In fact we wore old clothes specifically because of this: the dye is pretty strong.   Wonderful eating fruits straight from the tree.

Pizza in the evening with an extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) around the table.  Very intensely familial here – almost too much.  Amusingly, one of the aunts wanted to reassured that everything here – the food, the fruit, the vegetables – was the best.

Today working, then into Bari to replace a part of the car we were using (a Citroën – diesel – so no acceleration with very heavy steering, and the weirdest array of controls imaginable).  Then a snooze (very necessary), to here for a huge swim – very cool, but not cold, very refreshing.  You realise in this heat what an achievement it is even thinking…

To Monopoli (yup, it exists).  A beautiful whitewashed courtyard of a monastery – arriving for the last 10’ of a jazz concert.  Stunningly simple facade of the church – reminds me of Mexico.  Palm tree majestic in the middle.

8.8.94 Conversano

Hot, fresh panzarotti, then spongato – a cappuccino and gelato.  Lovely stone city, fine old cathedral and castello.  White polished stone.  Streets full of young people, the elderly sitting on their chairs.  Cool tonight – only 28°C earlier, now 25°
C…  The Romanesque duomo reminds me of Pavia: three sections  connected simply but effectively.

9.8.94 Cozze

A day of sitting around, swimming (slightly: in the evening as the sun turns into a vermilion globe – otherwise light here is like a knife – to be avoided even by mad dogs and Englishmen).  The beach here reaches to rocks at the water’s edge – then plunges almost instantly to about two metres depth.  Taking long swims quite far out in the clear, clean water.  Very salty – and very tiring, but great for the body in general.

Food: today we tried ricci – sea urchins.  These black, spiny things are cracked open and you eat the orange paste inside.  Which I did – a bit odd.  But nothing so odd as the feeling I had when I saw that not only were the spines still moving on the other ones on my plate to be eaten, but the one whose being I had just scraped out was also still jigging about the plate.  I felt like I had just de-cerebrated a live monkey.  I couldn’t eat any more: wimpish and hypocritical perhaps, but at least it made me more aware of what veggies must feel when confronted by meat…

Back to Monopoli – figuratively speaking: a lovely warren of streets, with a church on every corner.  I had not realised the waves of occupation were so thick and enduring: Norman, Swabians(?), Aragonese, French et al.  A fascinating place it seems, Puglia, worth returning.

Conversano even prettier – fine castellocattedrale - lively evening scene.  And the panzarotti – which we eat this evening – to say nothing of the spectacular spongato – fine name.  Another family do tonight – all the aunts, uncles and cousins here.  A little trying – I just feign ignorance.

10.8.94 Castellana Grotte

Le Grotte – suddenly cold.  First hall – like a Hyatt atrium… Artificial it looks, so strange are the forms – the dripping stalactites on the walls of this huge cave – lit from above. Shafts of light in a biblical fashion.  People disappear into a hole in the rock face like something out of Tolkien.  Behind us, forms scramble down the steps like extras in an adventure film…

Through to another huge hall – imagine being the first person to see this… Vast, with a stony fringe along the top.  Seeing the file of people dwarfed by the stones – like the damned going down to hell.  Stalactites hang above us like rows of Damocletian swords.  Some walls looks like cathedral facades, others teem with writhing organic forms.  This journey – walking ever deeper into the earth – has a wonderfully symbolic feel to it.  A long, long passage – that perhaps goes on forever.

The forms always different, but always related – fractals.  To the final hall – more water dropping here – surprisingly absent otherwise.  La Grotta Bianca – beautiful creamy white, strange, spongy forms.  Two huge columns – cathedral-like.  Surprisingly unclaustrophobic even though we are thousands of metres from the entrance.  Quite well done – not too obtrusive the lighting on the path.  Amazing such a long, linear path exists – and with no stream running through it.

11.8.94 Bari airport

Up horrendously early (not in se – but given the rhythm here, where lunch is eaten at 3pm, and dinner at 9pm) to here.  Yesterday into Bari – carefully removing all wallets, bags, rings, jewellery etc.  Apparently Bari is worse than Mexico, New Delhi, Jakarta etc put together.

Interesting conversation about those who thieve here.  About markets where children are sold: for working on the farms.  Of ten in a room, of kids with only one pair of trousers, kids leaving schools at some early age to tend sheep. Unemployment in Puglia is around 50% - and worse among the young.  The only industry here is steel…  I must confess I’d not realised that things were so medieval – the divide between northern Italy and here is truly immense.

Old port of Bari – rather like Palermo I remember.  Fine lungomare with ornate triple-lamp lights.  Ancient walls mostly intact.  To San Nicola – fine, simple Romanesque church with internal buttresses across the nave.  Very high, even at the crossing of nave and aisles.  Outside a police car – to protect any foolhardy Barinese tourists.  Then to cattedrale – also Romanesque, very plain.  Interesting pulpit: one panel half-finished à la Michelangelo, the others never started – who knows what happened when and why?

Then for a walk in the “new” gridded city – still a few cops around just in case.  Resisted temptation to buy more books.  Learnt today that Bari was hottest major city in Italy: 37
°C. Yow.

Friday 23 February 2024

1998 Elba


Villa Ottone, Portoferraio to be precise.  I sit gazing out at the remarkably picturesque boy (the capital of Elba, Portoferraio, is much nicer to look at from here), with the thin white arrow of a jet 10km above me in the blissfully blue sky, boats moored beyond a private beach, and with a towel on my head.  Just a precaution, you understand: the sun is bloody hot, and I have had more of it than I should in the last twenty-four hours, so the watchword is caution.

I say towel, but in fact the object is made of a special water-repellent material that ensures you are just as wet after trying to dry yourself with it as you were when you got out of the shower.  This is just about the only neo of a place which is more or less perfect.  We are staying in the best room of the Villa Ottone, right at its heart.  We have (as usual) a fine, painted ceiling, and (as usual) a chandelier.  Our room gives onto a West-facing terrace, which has the aforementioned view.

Built around 1800, it shows how (a) they really knew where to build, and (b) we have no idea today of scale.  In particular, the height: the main rooms downstairs are (like a certain other house) two or three times what we have today.  Right on the beach the house has a simple porch with pillars.  Painted a gentle cream colour, the whole thing glows in the sun.  Of which for the moment, there is plenty.

In fact, it is not entirely chance that it is sunny now: we waited nearly a week until the weather forecasts (Italian TV, and looked reasonably good.  We needed a hol: amazingly enough, it seems that we’ve not had a “real” hol for two years.  Last year we kept postponing, and never went.   The year before, we were in Ithaca of blessed memory, but Elba is really our first sun hol for 24 months.

We left yesterday at 6am – or rather a few minutes after (alas…).  We had booked a place on the 10.10 ferry (Moby Lines).  We foolishly believed a friend that three hours were enough to get there.  In fact, crossing the mountains was slow.  There were also roadworks, idiots in front etc.  The net effect: we arrived on the quay at Piombino, literally as they were drawing up the back of the boat.  What a sight – one that I’ve never before had (at least I’ve extended my range of experiences).

Fortunately, there was a ship after only an hour.  But unbelievable to be perhaps 30 seconds too later after four hours of travel...


On our patio, 3pm – the sun fierce today but the wind very fresh.  We had the beach and pool practically to ourselves – what few people there were here yesterday have gone.  We ate lunch by the columns – gorgeous view.

The bartender – ex P&O – told us the sad story of the villa.  Built by some Florentine noble family for their phthisic son who died here a few years later after completion.  Eucalyptus trees planted to aid breathing…

Air very clear, unlike yesterday, when there were the most amazing sea-mists rolling in – very thick.  Then we went in to Portoferraio – an ugly, sprawling place.  But the rest of the island (such as we have seen) looks remarkably unspoilt.  One of the problems of looking at endless holiday brochures is that you get the impression that the place is full of tourists.  Coming in on the ferry round the north east corner of the island the landscape looked remarkably similar to Ithaca; and driving from Portoferraio to the hotel (about 10km) also showed a landscape not dissimilar, and rather beautiful.

The hotel is four star, and the food in the restaurant in the evening is good.  Served with four-star style.  We drank a bottle of Elban wine – rather good.


Well, not much to write really.  The rhythm of the day is very circumscribed by meals.  Breakfast at 7.40am (late…), then an excursion – yesterday to Portoferraio, today to Rio Marina.  Then to the beach  at around 11am, there for a couple of hours.  Lunch in our room (and illicit goods bought at the Co-op), me outside on the terrace from 2 to 4.  4 to 6 on the beach or at the pool, then up here for shower (with towels borrowed from the beach), to dinner at 7.45pm.  Then to bed.

Portoferraio has two ports: the new (horrible) and the old (quite charming) by the harbour and fortifications.  We walked around a little of it yesterday, parking in the Piazza della Repubblica.  Attractive enough – a little like Garda, but not as genteel (double-parking endemic).  Interesting city fortifications through which one passes.  The water in the harbour disgusting and full of litter – and yet there are fish there.

Today we aimed to visit Nisporto and Nisportino, supposedly very unspoilt bays.  Alas, the road beyond Bagnaia turned out to be unmetalled.  Instead, we cut inland under the superb ruin of Volterraio Castle that hangs over this whole area.  Stunning landscape: twisting curves climb steeply along roads lined with blood-red poppies and myriad other wild flowers.  Everything is very lush and unspoilt, and reminded me insistently of Mallorca – but to the latter’s disadvantage.  This is greener and cleaner, but has something of Mallorca’s primitive, isolated flavour.  This is surprising, given how close we are to Tuscany – and to spots I already know well: Pisa, San Gimignano, Volterra, Castiglioncello.  But here really feels like a true island: near to the sea and far form everything else.  Rio Marina is dubbed as retaining its medieval flavour, but you could have fooled me.  Scrubby harbour, dull-ish main street.  Hot.

On the way back, I slightly take the wrong road, and end up in Port Azzurro, which looks cheerful enough.  The Spanish fortress looms impressively – and looks too nice to be a prison (which it still is).  The road back to Villa Ottone less wild than the way out.  To the beach, for more sun, sea and sand.  The view across to Portoferraio makes this a slightly different sun-based hol.  We are strongly minded to come back, perhaps for more than a month, as a summer retreat. We shall see...

1998 Modena


On the train to Modena (I hope – we all rushed off on to this one in the fond belief it was the right train).  Ages since I’ve written – it gets harder all the time without a keyboard – and ages since I’ve travelled.  In fact, I shouldn’t be here: this UUnet white paper is hanging still – and I’m fed up hanging around. So off to Modena – partly to see the exhibition of the Ferrara collection, partly to add to my collection – of Italian city states.

Cold December morning, pale pink sunrise, touch of mist on the ploughed fields (there is a mad Ivesian concerto of mobile phones, all different tones, going on here – horrible).  Generally I am perhaps working too much – but I enjoy it so.  Now is really such an exciting time – and I am right in the middle of it.  Since the Linux piece last year – now shown way ahead of its time – I am really on top of what’s happening, and everything I write is pretty much spot-on and ahead of the pack.  I really wouldn't want to ease up at the moment, even though things like travelling and sonnets (to name but two) are suffering.

In the duomo.  Nice.  Dark brickwork inside, moon-coloured Romanesque outside.  Modena centre is nice too: arcade from Palazzo Comunale to centre, lots of 17th, 18th century buildings.  Helpful information centre (plus Internet connection for free).  Lots of museums (and Philip Glass at the local theatre).  Cold here, but beautiful clear skies.

Now in Da Enzo, with a view of the synagogue.  Awaiting pappardelle and scaloppine.  A good morning.  To the exhibition of paintings from the Estense lands – Guercino (Barbieri) the star.  Then to a photo exhibition in the main Galleria Civica – very poor stuff.  The almost total lack of ideas highlighted by the exhibition of Robert Wilson in the park.  His use of coloured, stretched, painted, emphasised letters, plus the brilliant idea of painting dabs of colour and lines on glass – a real 3D painting – works, and is a sure mark of genius.  Someone who simply has new ideas – not forced attempts to be original.

Walking back past the stables, the healthy stench of horses.  The Teatro taking down the scaffolding in my honour.  Pity I won’t get to the Dossi exhibition in Ferrara – the catalogue looks good.  I feel very drawn to glossy art books.  Partly because I feel being in Italy almost requires me to take an interest.

The pappardelle good, the scaloppine (with local balsamic vinegar) exceptional.  In the train at Fidenza.  Sun setting now – I have been out in the arc of a day.

Main exhibition at Modena was interesting, if not great.  I was strongly tempted to buy a couple of books: the catalogue of the Dosso Dossi exhibition at Ferrara, and a very curious but fascinating translation of Adams (contemporary) Language of Architecture.  I hope I can find it online.  Talking of which, I see that Modena has a rete civica – complete with digital certificates and corresponding intranet.  There really is a very interesting feature here: I wonder if I have the time to write it.  In fact time (and money) is the main obstacle to many articles.  If I didn’t need to write for dosh I could do many.  For example, one on MP3 for New Scientist.

The nice thing about these days out is that I return from them keen to get on with work; without them, I pine, inefficiently wasting time fantasising about them.

Friday 8 December 2023

1992 Padua, Venice


In the (small train), waiting to go Brescia, then Padova.  Lovely old train that reminds me of my Interrailing days.  First time I went to Padova was about 13 years ago.  In 13 years time I will be...old.

Padova.  In the Sant'Antonio Basilica.  Wow.  Very Russian from outside – all cupolas.  Inside, spacious.  Very busy – great.  Amazing south transept – huge altar.  At the tomb of Sant'Antonio – votive offerings, the pix… A wall of silver hearts in thanks.  Majestic exterior matched by the grandeur of the interior.

Through the backstreets to Caffè Pedrocchi – rather nice.  But the memory of the church lingers: the best skyline in the world? Like San Marco, but more forceful, more heavenward. To the Cappella degli Scrovegni.  New (for me) museum here: hundreds of religious pix, few much good, but nicely set out.


Cold today – around 2°C.  Bought gloves even (at 5,000 Lire).  Breakfast outside the hotel in café in the Piazza dei Signori.  Bustling market around loggia.  To Eremitani – lovely Mantegna frescoes, badly damaged by Allies.  The face in the middle, staring out of the pic – Mantegna?  Then to the main Palazzo della Ragione for rather small/unexciting exhibit of rings and jewels.  But the hall is magnificent – a huge rhombus, painted walls, and at the end a huge horse, like the Trojan one, made of wood.  Why?

Lunch in pizzeria nearby – excellent gnocchi (absent last night from the otherwise excellent restaurant, near Piazza dell’Erbe).  Reminded me of Venice, where I had polenta first, and also Florence, a restaurant we frequented.  After lunch  and a rather perfumed grappa, to the church Santa Giustina beyond Sant’Antonio.  Beautiful open piazza, spoilt by renovations and traffic.  Church closed...but seems similar to the Basilica.  Which we return to.  Look at the fine frescoes in the north transept of Altichiero – again a face looking at us – “that fat guy”.

Slow walk through the colonnades, which make me think of Calvino for some reason, a little stop in bookshops and a few other negozi.  A lazy, pleasant day, sunshine this afternoon, still very cold.


Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Hotel Scandinavia – which despite its name is beautiful.  The train journey across to Santa Lucia must be the most romantic in the world.  Especially, as now, in the mist.  Very cold, damp, beautiful.  And eccoci.

The view from our room number 1: Santa Maria Formosa to the left, the greengrocer’s stall to the right, lights in the church and in the building opposite, above “Il Burchiello”.  Voices in the square echo hollowly.  The room small but perfectly 18th century and Venetian.


This hotel has an amazing view of the viavai del mondo – Calle Lunga is right next to us.  Cold again, but no fog.  Saw some quite clever pix in the trattoria last night: long exposure jobs of Venice at night – perfect for the Nocturnes of Walks With Lorenzetti.  Went to the Forestiera Valdese too: rooms available.  I must stay there when I come to photo this place.  Cheap too.

You appreciate Santa Maria Formosa from here – its mass.

In the newspaper La Nuova Venezia (ha!) says that the population of Venice has gone down by 1,000 to 75,000.  What shall we do with this impossible city?  I’d like to turn it into the world’s capital for artists: imagine.

The choreography of crowds – as I first understood at the Bolshoi in Moscow...

On the vaporetto: the gondole as they cross the Grand Canal, passengers standing stiffly as if in some ceremony…

More destinations: