"I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand:
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying Glory smiles
O'er the far times, when many a subject land
Look'd to the winged Lion's marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!
Lord Byron, Childe Harold 1817
I've always wanted to visit Venice and when my travel companion Ingrid said she'd love to return there (she was there last summer, and before that my other friend had visited there a couple of times), I suggested that this year, when we go to Greece, instead of travelling via London, a route often taken, we should go via Venice. A splendid plan! And from Italy we'll take the ferry from Anconda over to Igoumenitsa and travel down the west coast of Greece through territory Ingrid has not yet explored. (The last time we were there we missed Sappho's Leap at the south end of Lefkada, and Ithaka, and she's never seen the lovely little port of Parga either.)
So the plans are in motion and very soon we'll be booking tickets. (The hotel in Venice is already booked.) Ingrid has given me three books about Venice to read so I can study up on the sights and history to prepare myself for this dream visit to one of the most fascinating places in the world.
We plan to be in Venice in mid May, and then we'll go on to Greece. At the beginning of June another friend is coming to Greece who has not visited there since the '70's. And perhaps even another of our friends will come too. So I'll be the 'tour' guide which I love doing.
In addition, two of my Classical scholar friends -- one from Norway and one from Finland -- are hoping to join me for a little reunion. So, even this far in advance, next summer's travels are shaping up to be quite exciting.
I will post more details about the trip plans as they unfold. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to this new year. It won't be quite as full of unexpected trips as 2006, but this one is certain to be a highlight.
"Of all the dreamy delights, that of floating in a gondola among the canals and out of the Lagoon is surely the greatest..." George Eliot, Letters and Journals, 3 vols,. 1885