20180413_112918

Truth held her tongue

Shuddering, timid and weak

Kneeling to power

 

For too long subdued

By weaponry of the state

Built on the Big lie

 

For too long crouching

Convinced she could not win

Against the mighty

 

For too long ruled

By bigotry and sly greed

She  lifted the stone

 

Now we have a sling

Giving voice to the voiceless

Through phone and fibre

 

Empires will fall

When crowds speak truth to power

By choosing their mark

 

The David within

Dormant for too long

 

Montreux 2012 205

Snow-capped mountains

And spring flowers trim the lake.

You are not alone

 

As you pay homage

To a love we’ve both kept warm,

Across time and space.

 

As you re-trace paths

We once walked together,

I am there with you.

 

Your joy is mine too

When your memory recalls

Great times we shared.

 

Just like the seasons

Straddle beneath the bright sun

Our souls do the same.

 

Spring transcends Winter

Each time I see you again.

 

 

 

Last week, my work took me to Rome and I added a day to visit the beautiful Renaissance  city of  Florence. The speed train from Rome took me through the beautiful scenery of Tuscany and by 8.30 a.m. I had a glorious spring day ahead to explore the scenic nucleus of history, art and a tapestry of culture and medieval architecture. Of course one day can not do justice to all there is to see and do here and I would love to  return for a more leisurely visit.

IMG_0860

From the Piazzale Michelangelo, a square with a panoramic view of Florence, I photographed breathtaking views of Florence including the iconic Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The stories told by tour guides is that Florence was a very competitive space for artists. So after the dome was built by Brunelleschi, he promptly destroyed the plan and no one has been able to recreate the plans even for the purpose of reconstruction or repairs. The
cathedral named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore is a vast Gothic structure built
on the site of the 7th century church of Santa Reparata.

IMG_0851

IMG_0862

Take in the view of the Arno river from the south bank above and the medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge below which has been rebuilt several times due to damage from various floods. It is now also home to jewellery merchants and tradrs of souvenirs.

IMG_0865

IMG_0868

IMG_0866

IMG_0869

Tucked amidst the amazing textures and colours of vegetation are villas of the rich and famous who can best afford living with these panoramic views.

IMG_0853

IMG_0855

20180413_093504

20180413_094800

In the midst of the Piazzale Michelangelo stands a replica of Michelangelo’s “David” Join in a future post to marvel at the original sculpture of “David”

20180413_094033

A closer look at the cathedral displays its intricate artwork carved in a marble facade. You’ll also have a closer view of the dome which has a viewing area if you are fit enough to climb over 490 stairs.

IMG_0918

20180413_120635

The Giotto tower stands alongside the Cathedral below.

20180413_121610

Baptistry – Duomo: The Baptistry of San Giovanni below, one of the most ancient churches in Florence, sits opposite the city’s cathedral, the church of Santa Maria del Fiore. Octagonal in plan, it is totally clad in slabs of white Carrara and green Prato marble.

IMG_0916

IMG_0914

There are a number of fortresses around Florence and below is a part of one of them.

20180413_101406

Join me in my next post at the Galleria dell’Accademia to take a look at the artwork and some of the great influences of the Medici family.

 

 

Winnie 5
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela – Source: Mail & Guardian

The river ran through you

Sometimes in your lonely tears

Sometimes like bounteous rain

For the forlorn and forgotten

 

Sometimes it seeped through

Cracks hardened by scorching

Sometimes it gushed with rage

In thorny jungles among fallen trees

 

Sometimes it tried to engulf you

Still – you rose to walk tall and regal

Rising after each tumultuous fall

Sometimes it flowed in your smiles

 

As lenses flash and accolades stream in

It is clear – you cast your own shadow

Carved your own path through the valleys

The hills and treacherous mountains

 

Sometimes an enigma in your depths

But now always our crowning waterfall

 

A TRIBUTE TO WINNIE MADIKIZELA MANDELA – MOTHER OF OUR NATION:

                                                        26/9/1936 – 2/4/1918

Winnie 2winnie-madikizela-mandelaWinnie-Mandela 3

Fierce and Feisty

Who knew the mother you were

Than the downtrodden 

 

Murano, Burano and Torcello

Murano

Murano is situated about 1.5 kms from Venice. En route to the island, we passed this abandoned island below. Water levels are constantly monitored to check the rise of water against  the sandbanks. No doubt, islands will continue to be at risk especially in light of Climate change.

20171230_124005

The island of Murano is renowned for its long tradition of glass-making. Ferry-loads of visitors come to explore the Museo del Vetro, which tells the story of glass through the centuries, and to shop for locally crafted souvenirs.

20171230_121312

IMG_0766

20171230_152719

Burano

I fell in love with this picturesque little island with its pretty, brightly coloured houses and shops and the magnificent reflection of sky and water. Our tour guide informed us that in the old days the rule was for each house to be clearly demarcated by their individual colours in order to assist the fishermen to find their homes in foggy weather. Clearly, everyone had to stick to their colours to avoid confusion. We were rushed for time by our tour guide so I was sorry that we couldn’t linger in the pretty little cafes. The island is renowned for the craft of handmade lace so I did make sure to buy a few beautiful handmade lace products.

20171230_125108

IMG_0778

IMG_0781

IMG_0788

IMG_0785

IMG-20171231-WA0008

IMG_0774

Torcello

20171230_135745

Museo di Torcello

Occupying two buildings across the square from the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, this museum is dedicated to Torcello’s bygone splendour. The main building, the 13th-century Palazzo del Consiglio, displays mainly religious art recovered from the island’s many long-lost churches. The annexe focuses on ancient archaeological treasures, many of which were recovered from the abandoned Roman city of Altinum (Altino) on the mainland. The collection includes tiny Egyptian figurines, Etruscan bronzes, Greek pottery and some lovely Roman cameos.

 

20171230_14080220171230_140044

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta (basilica di Santa Maria Assunta) or Torcello Cathedral  is a notable example of Venetian-Byzantine architecture, one of the most ancient religious edifices in the Veneto, and containing the earliest mosaics in the area of Venice.

20171230_140733

20171230_140532

20171230_141219

I loved this patch of garden which seemed to share a partnership between Winter and Spring. Couples are known to come to Torcello for their wedding celebrations. There are a number of restaurants here to enjoy if you have the time.  Thank you for stopping by and enjoying this trip with me.

Part of  the build up to the celebrations of New year’s eve was spending time along the  Grand Canal of Venice. The star attraction for many tourists is jostling for space on the Rialto bridge pictured below. It offers beautiful photo opportunities of the thriving 2.5 miles of the Grand canal.

20171231_145438

20171231_145456

IMG-20171231-WA0005

This a great spot for choosing to travel by water bus or Gondola along the Grand Canal, stop at one of the many restaurants or simply grab a big slice of Pizza from one of the smaller outlets as you get lost in love with this beautiful  city.

20171231_145713

20171231_163259

On the Rialto bridge, you see people gathered from all parts of the world and it was a great place to check out the Winter fashions. We stopped at one of the restaurants on the right below to enjoy a great Italian meal which by European standards was reasonably priced and the service was very efficient.

20171231_163217

20171231_162526

I could stare at these Venetian buildings all day. The architecture, colours and festive lights created a wonderful and romantic ambience.

20171231_164813

20171231_163223

20171231_163039

If you can afford the high prices, shopping in this district is another favoured pastime.

20171230_152603

20171231_163355

I think that the glamour of walking through these expensive and beautifully decorated shops is entertaining in its own right. It was a new experience for us to see red escalators.

20171231_161030

20171231_161813

20171231_161539

20171231_160954

20171230_152411

In summary, I’d say Rialto is the place to visit if you’d like to check out fashion, feel a sense of romance or just admire manmade beauty in the beautiful floating city of Venice.

20171231_163155

Look out for my next post on our visit to some of the islands. Happy Easter to you all!!

PIAZZA SAN MARCO AND ST MARK’S BASILICA

New Year’s eve heralded a bright sunny day after a few days of rainy cold weather. This is the view across the lagoon of St Mark’s square.

IMG_0757

Saint Mark’s square, the largest square in Venice, is said to have initially been built between 800-1100 though numerous renovations were undertaken until the 19th century. Below is the western side of St Mark’s Basilica and the landmark Campanile Bell Tower which stands almost 99 metres tall. At the top of it is a statue of archangel Gabriel.

20171230_153117

Below is a closer view of St Mark’s Basilica which forms part of the square. On new year’s eve it  would gradually fill up with revellers waiting to see the new year in. Detail of the gable shows Venice’s patron apostle St. Mark with angels. Underneath is a winged lion, the symbol of the saint and of Venice.

20171230_153619

20171230_153718

The Clock Tower below, is part of an early Renaissance building. Both the tower and the clock date from the last decade of the 15th century, though the mechanism of the clock has subsequently been much altered. It was placed where the clock would be visible from the waters of the lagoon and give notice to everyone of the wealth and glory of Venice.

IMG_0814

IMG_0808

Below is the Procuratie Vecchie built by Bartolomeo Bon in about 1520 – Another impressive building which lines the square.

IMG_0807

20171230_153330

Below is the the Piazzetta di San Marco which is (strictly speaking) not part of the Piazza but an adjoining open space connecting the south side of the Piazza to the waterway of the lagoon.

20171230_153732

The Piazza is surrounded by shops, restaurants and provides ample space for shows. It provided the perfect space to just hang out, take selfies or as this young lady did below – pose for her wedding pictures. Not sure where the groom was 🙂

IMG_0811

IMG_0813

I had been warned that eating or even drinking water at the piazzo was an expensive affair. Nevertheless, just doing some people-watching was ample entertainment. Window shopping was also an inexpensive way to spend some time in the earlier hours of New year’s eve. Below are some beautiful exhibits of the famous Murano glass products. We had taken a boat trip on the previous day to Murano island where some of the Murano glassware is manufactured by age old craftsmen.

20171230_171151

20171230_171132

IMG_0819

IMG_0818

We did eventually have a meal in this beautiful nook of a restaurant close to the Piazza. Apart from a superb meal, indoor heating against the growing outdoor chill, we enjoyed the vantage point of more people watching.

IMG_0824

While we had initially planned to see the new year in within the square, we were advised by locals that the best place to be where we’d enjoy full sight of the magnificent fireworks display, was very close to where we were staying, at the edge of the lagoon. This was after saying goodbye to the very festive look and feel of the square.

20171230_172949

20171230_173417

In my next post, join me on a trip to the commercial/shopping  and tourist hub of Rialto and the spectacular views from the Grand Canal in Venice.

 

My sincere apologies for my absence on the blog. Life has been very busy. So yes, Easter is almost upon us and I’m still catching up on a trip that my family and I did over Christmas and New year’s Eve. If you’d like to catch up on earlier posts, do check out my posts on Malta. You might also want to look at a previous post I did on Venice when I was still dreaming about travelling there.  https://chevvy8.com/2017/09/03/venice-the-floating-city/

In the Neighbourhood

After Christmas we left Malta with plans to see the new year in at the lagoon in Venice. We had also decided to live amongst the locals to get a real feel for the place.

20171227_125431

A totally new experience for me was having to travel everywhere by boat. Even the boat- stop moves and I was ever so glad to have a friendly hand reach out to help me skip over the plank when I found the motion between the boat stop and the boat a bit precarious. Of course this is no big deal for the locals who sit dressed up to the nines and unflustered  on each boat ride.

20171227_090221

20171226_202053

Living in the neighbourhood means walking through a maze of cobbled streets and not seeing too much of your neighbour since all windows were shuttered to keep the Winter chill out. Household rubbish is hung out through your window each morning before 8a.m. and magically removed  before you leave the warmth of indoor central heating. Temperatures outside varied between -1 degrees – to 7 degrees centigrade in late December. You’ll appreciate that we had left our Summer behind with soaring temperatures of 30+ degrees centigrade.20171230_100216

The first thing we needed to do upon arrival was stock our cupboards up with food. Above is the main street just around the corner from where we lived, where you can stock up on freshly caught fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, and visit the butcher and little supermarket.

20171230_100343

20171227_094929

Coming from a shopping mall culture back home, I think the layout of of fruit and vegetables is quite a work of art and makes shopping for your daily meal that more fun.Of course the irony was not lost on me that the biggest,sweetest grapes we bought here were from my own country – South Africa.

An added delight was taking these scenic walks to the shops each day.

20171229_141921

20171227_090805

20171230_175042

Our first first few days were rainy days but when you’re surrounded by water who cares? I loved walking in the rain.

20171227_205717

20171227_154014

Even the local park was deserted most of the time,yet still I loved it. Having been warned that Venice attracts over 18 million tourists in the Summer, I was glad to enjoy the feeling of having the place to ourselves.

20171227_091132

The Piazzo San Marco or St Mark’s Square which was a 2 km walk away, stood aloof in the rain on those first few days.

20171227_125624

But of course when the sun did come out, it was laundry day and a very novel experience for me was to see the women chatter away with their neighbours while using pulleys to string up their laundry across the paved streets.

20171229_114336

20171229_114324

20171229_141635

The sunshine meant strolling past stalls along the lagoon  and buying a few souvenirs like paper maché or ceramic masks and paintings of the beautiful scenes of Venice.

20171230_104925

20171230_104844

And suddenly the Piazza San Marco looked more inviting.

IMG_0754

Join me next week for our visit to St Mark’s Square. Thank you for stopping by.