Friday, July 27
I asked at the front desk about Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies. The clerk looked up something online and said it would be on channel one at noon. That seemed like an odd time – why would London have their big event at 11:00 am. local time? Even so I did a bit of shopping, bought a pizza roll (clumsy thing), and got back to the hotel at noon. Channel one didn't have anything Olympic, so I scanned the channels and soon found the BBC. They had a countdown clock showing another almost 10 hours. It was hot enough a midday siesta sounded like a good idea, but was not to happen.
So, back on the street. I went to the Rialto bridge and market. I hear it is the place to be at 9:00 am. but at 12:30 vendors are packing up. The place reminds me a lot of Detroit's Eastern Market. This is the view from the high point of the bridge of the shopping street which is still going strong.
I wandered through the San Polo shopping district and at about 2:30 I felt bored. As I mentioned yesterday, there weren't any more museums or churches I wanted to see, even though I ended up outside a church with a Tintorello ceiling. I had wandered through all the shopping districts and side streets I wanted. I suppose I could have done a side-trip to another nearby city, if I had thought of it soon enough. But I guess I'm done with Italy, at least for this trip. It is good I'm flying out tomorrow.
About that time I noticed a nearby museum proclaiming “The Genius of Leonardo da Vinci.” After a bit of hesitation I decided I might as well. The museum had looked through Leonardo's notebooks for all the devices he described – the pyramid parachute, the helical flying machine – and built replicas for many of them. Some could only be admired, but I was encouraged to turn the levers and cranks on the rest of them. Here's one of them, a machine with wings that flap. But I was through that museum in an hour.
Strangely, I found another museum touting the same idea. I didn't find out whether it was the same as the first or a continuation.
I saw a gelato stand with an advertisement for Zero&Zero. It took me a moment to register what that would mean. I looked closer. It looked like zero lactose and zero fat and maybe zero sugar. I asked. Indeed it was sugar free. Alas, only in vanilla. Even so I got some, just to support the concept. It was nicely cold, but rather bland.
I wandered some more, through San Polo and Dorsoduro districts and across the Grand Canal. Back near Piazza San Marco I went into the park tucked between the plaza and the water, found a shady bench and sat and read for a while.
I did have a nice Italian dinner – saltambuco (I think that's how it is spelled), which is veal cutlet with a thin slice of ham on top. This was served in a sauce flavored in sage. For a side dish, I had polenta. Dad would recognize it as fried corn mush, but its origin appears to be Italy.
I'm now in front of my TV waiting for the Opening Ceremonies to begin. Still a ways to go. I probably won't stay up for the whole thing because I have to get up early to fly to Manchester and take a train on to Liverpool.
I found leaning towers are not confined to Pisa. I've seen two in this city. Here's one.