Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Verona - Bones About It

Your young or English major children might be surprised at the contrasting tones at Juliet's supposed house:  the sometimes rowdy groping at the Juliet statue in the courtyard, and then the shift inside to find the dancing dead.
Here is the courtyard at Juliet's concocted house, and this courtyard (after the ticket booth) ushers you into the tour through imagined rooms. We understand that this particular house has no connection to anything Shakespearean, except for its look. Fine.  It looks as we might imagine from the outside.  And there is a nice art gallery filling much of it up as you go. Enjoy. There is also an imagined Romeo house, a serenade away, that we did not enter.

Then, inside, bones offering a stark view of a reality, the transience of joy as a general principle? Is that it? Are all the heights heightened by their loss. Do they live on because they die in full flower, as an unsustainable ideal, instead of life taking over. Read about it at ://www.william-shakespeare.info/script-text-romeo-and-juliet.htm/  But soft, draw closer, ah, there ....  See a snippet at ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UfUd03qOxE/

Is that part of life?  What say. Romeo, where art thou.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dolomites, and Cortina, Italian Alps

During World War I, there was horrendous fighting in these Alps. From 1915 to 1917, Italians and Austrians suffered two winters, dug in, tunneling, in trenches, and with mines. There were 6400 Italians killed, 1800 Austrians, for example, at one battle alone. See Dolomites, History, at ://www.dolomiti.org/dengl/sd/index.html/. That was at Col de Lana, and col means "pass". We did not know of the tunnel tangle at Lagazuoi, the Ice City, but if we get back, that will be on the list. See it at ://www.dolomiti.org/dengl/Cortina/laga5torri/storia/fronteLaga.html

The town and region of Cortina is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, see http://italy-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/italian_dolomites_alpine_driving_tour/, famous for its sports, partying and also its long strategic history, see ://www.dolomiti.org/dengl/Cortina/csto/mfbelli/index.html/ In 1956, Cortina d'Ampezzo hosted the Olympics. Read the index of topics at that site: prehistoric times, Romans, Middle Ages with the Lombards, Franks and then the Ottomans, nobles and Crusades, Venice influence, short-lived small republic (Maximilian let that go on a while), jump ahead to Fascism and World Wars, and boundary shifts.

Travel is restricted. Plan for it.

We arrived at Cortina from the north, from Lienz, Austria; then tried to get to Merano from Cortina.

Merano used to be part of Austria as Meran, and a dear friend's grandfather was from the old town. We were caught in the wrong place, wrong time. Too far to go to head back to the long valley route, and the mountain passes are impassible unless you start early in the day, plan to creep about, check the map every turn (signs are for passes and choices in passes, not the ultimate town heading for), and a full tank. Plan your time in the Dolomites so you see the topography, not just the distances. Ranges go north-south, and passes letting you go east-west are one hazardous switchback after another, on a 1 1/2 lane road, if that, with some lay-bys, otherwise you back up. So plan accordingly.

See that Italian Dolomites Alpine Driving Tour site for how to get to Cortina, and other places, from Verona.  Plan to go from the south.

As you go, watch for those WWI memorials.