Friday, September 5, 2008

PhotoHunt: Strings - of flags festooning a cruise ship in Venice

This is my latest entry.

The Rick Steves phenomenon: Is he an asset or someone to avoid?
Alessandra Federici of Il Girasole in Cortona once very wisely said,

"What I find strange is that almost all of the ones that complain about how touristy places have become, are themselves tourists."



Before I stayed in the Aberdeen Hotel in Rome for a few nights and found several of his guide books on a coffee table in the lounge, I'd never heard of Rick Steves. Apparently he is thought to be responsible for an influx of visitors to certain areas in Italy. The Cinque Terre and San Gimignano to be precise. I'm wondering what the shop owners, hotel keepers and restaurant owners think? Not to mention the workers in the tourism industry. Are they upset or are they pleased by the extra visitors?

We are all so diverse in the ways in which we travel. There are those who dart like dragonflies from place to place while others practice slow travel by staying in one location for a longer time in order to get more out of the experience. Some are 'foodies' and patronise the restaurants, others prefer a trattoria or pizzeria. We may spluge on a four star hotel, or maybe we stay in convent accommodation. There are guided tours groups and independent travelers.

The way we travel and who guides us in the end, be it Rick Steves or our own independent spirit - is ultimately up to us. And as I often say - whenever the crowds start to overwhelm, there are lots of alternative possibilities to explore. There are numerous side streets, day trips, a myriad of museums and glorious little art galleries to explore.

Just a thought, but there are lots other of beautiful places in Italy that the tourists like to visit. I wonder if peope are blaming him for this as well:




I filmed this in October last year at the start of my way too brief, eight night stay in Venice. This was at 7.30 in the morning. Walking through San Marco before the majority of the visitors are up and about is a glorious way to start your day.

And I just discovered a wonderful report on Venice on Trekcapri's website. Great photos and beautiful writing.

44 comments:

Lilly's Life said...

I prefer the slow travelling, usually away from the hot spots (once you have seen the hot spots of course) and just trying to mesh in with the way of life. Loved this post, your writing and your video. How often do you go to Italy?

girasoli said...

Interesting post. I say travel the way that makes you happy :) One of my favorite memories when in Venice was the morning I arrived in St. Mark's Square early in the morning. I was amazed at how peaceful and empty it was. I must go back again one day and repeat my early morning visit.

By the way, very creative "strings" post!

keeyit said...

Very nice and informative post.

Great theme for this weekend.

Happy hunting!

Annie said...

Excellent post! You know, I didn't see a single cruise ship in Venice last December. Not sure if they don't come in the winter or if I just didn't see them. I too love Piazza San Marco early in the morning or very late at night.

Great photo for "strings"! Have a wonderful weekend!

WillThink4Wine said...

I like a little touristy once in a while. There's always a quiet spot when you need a break from it!

jams o donnell said...

Great take on this week's theme. You are quite right about there being alternatives allowing you to get away from the hordes. Happy weekend

Sue said...

Lovely entry for the theme :) I enjoyed the video clip! Happy photo hunting :)

ellen b said...

I like ship and the string of flags. Travelling is really a learned experience. I think the more you travel and reach out to your surroundings the better traveller you become...

leslie said...

Wonderful take on the theme today! I love to cruise because it has everything - even your own cabin to rest in until you're ready to boogie down!

LibertyBelle said...

What a great idea for the theme!
Happy weekend
L

Gerry said...

I think people should go where they like and see what appeals to them and try to pay attention so they can actually learn something. I live in an area heavily dependent on tourism, so I know that "touristy" and life as it is can exist in the same place and time.

Those photos of Florence, now - those are something, ma'am. I could just climb right into them and visit for awhile.

Rick Steves has his virtues, but he and his guests can become just a teensy bit self-congratulatory and condescending.

SASSY MOM said...

Very informative ... thanks for sharing. Have a happy weekend!

Snap2Days said...

Great post and an interesting take on the theme. It is interesting how differently we all travel. I make lists but don't mind throwing them out the window, or rather in an appropriate trash can.

jmb said...

I think in Italy everywhere is pretty touristy depending on the season. If you want to be in Venice with only the locals go November to March, except for Mardi Gras. The rest of the time it is very crowded.

jmb said...

Oh good post for the theme, have a happy weekend!

Colin Campbell said...

Lovely post. Strings of flags are so ubiquitous and useful. I have never been to Italy. I will have to put it on my agenda.

julie said...

This is an interesting post :) Thank you.

Chiocciola said...

Great post! I haven't been on your blog in a while (tendinitis in forearm so I need to stay away from the computer) but I am looking forward to catching up!

YTSL said...

Good choice of photo. Also, as someone (else) who loves to travel and lives in a part of world which attracts it share of tourists, found your comments very interesting.

Something to add to the discussion: It can amaze me how many people who come to visit Hong Kong (where I live) are averse to straying away from the beaten path. As for me: 1 and 1/2 years on after moving here, still find so many interesting places to check out -- that still aren't all that crowded, actually! :)

sho said...

i enjoy cruises only if I have go with great company. I usu get bored witht the facilities after a few hours. nice pic of the ship!

Picturing of Life said...

wow..that was a big ship

Please stop by also in my PH post : in HERE and HERE Thanks

Blur Mommy said...

Interesting post! I think it depends on where I go. Sometimes it's the touristy spot, other times it's the off-beaten path.

Aileni said...

Since settling on the island and moving our stuff in (then out), I have developed an absolute loathing for travelling.
It was great in the days when we went everywhere on a motorcycle but family changed that.
Can't bear crowds either.
Grumpy old man, me.
Nice post - this is how I travel now. So much less expensive.

Huey said...

Interesting and informative post. I agree with blur mommy. It depends on where I go.

Sarah said...

Great post :) I'm a day-tripper ... I hate to be away from home for long. And I have a day-trip already booked for Venice on Feb 14th 09 to see the Carnival!

Mickey said...

I am not familiar with Rick Stevens either. However, when a person has limited time to travel, it is good to have a 'guide' to let you know what to see. Once you choose your destination, it's up to you, how you want to explore the place ;)
I agree with "ellen b" who said that you become a better traveller the more you travel :)

Hootin' Anni said...

a string of flags....way cool.

My strings are strung and strummed...stop by if you can find time. Happy Hunting!

Kathy (Trekcapri) said...

Hi Leslie, awesome theme photo selection this week. And I also loved reading about your thoughts on travel style! You really nailed it! I loved Alessandra's quote. That video is awesome. Really amazing watching that cruise ship go by like that.

Early mornings near Piazza San Marco -- fabulous!

Thank you so much for mentioning my blog. I'm so glad that you enjoyed reading it.

Great post and theme photo choice! Have a wonderful weekend Leslie!

Sarge Charlie said...

Venice is a beautiful place, as I read your post I remember sailing up the grand canal while listening Pavarotti

H e n r i c k said...

Ohh, I never thought of the flags on a cruise ship before. Nice one! :D

MarĂ­a said...

Interesting blog entry. I'll be soon enjoying St. Mark's Square early in the morning or late at night and will be thinking of y’all in Slow Traveland. :-)

Have a terrific weekend!

Daisy said...

I'll bet Venice was very wonderful! I think you can see some of the best things early in the morning.

marta said...

A very thoughtful post. Nice video

Sandrac said...

Leslie, this really is a very thoughtful post. And I like Alessandra's comment very much -- it's true! We aim to be travelers rather than tourists, but it's a very fine line between those two positions!

Lovely shots of San Marco, it must have been a gorgeous sunrise. And I see the boards are out -- I was there 3 years ago when the tides and the rain intersected, causing a lot of flooding. It was pretty tricky trying to get on and off those boards (and trying to pass others!) I stepped off at one point into knee-deep water!

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Really interesting. Travel is really subjective and you're usually on vacation so you should always do what makes you happy!

Brine Queen said...

Nice shot for strings. I am a list traveller... When I go somewhere it's because there is something I want to see there. (although it's usually something odd like an animal or a museum)

Thanks for stopping by. I haven't read Gerald Durrell's books, but I did put my family and other animals on my to read list since you mentioned it last week ;)

Sammawow said...

What a brilliant take on this week's theme! I have only been to Mexico a few times and Canada a few times but love the pictures of your travels. Like they say, maybe someday... I would love to see Italy, Germany, Australia and the list goes on!

Shoshana said...

Rick Stevens does a lot of travel book. Great idea when going to Italy...hit the hot spots, and then just go like the locals, sort of.

Carver said...

I enjoyed this post a great deal. I was doing the Snap2 visiting this week so I won't repeat myself but I wanted to thank you for visiting me at Carver's Site too. Hope you are having a pleasant Sunday.

kaycee said...

lovely post and informative too, thanks!

Baker Watson said...

This reminds me that I need to take a cruise again soon. It has been too long since the last one.

Baker
(Thank you so much for dropping by and for the kind comments)

mama meji said...

Interesting post. I've never been to Italy and how I wish I can visit it one day.

Louisa said...

gosh this makes me want to go to Italy!!!

Dee said...

I regret never travelling when I had the chance. Good luck with all your travels and photos