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5:51pm on Saturday, 15th September, 2012:



Day twelve of the cruise takes us to Ravenna, Italy. It's the go-to place if you want to see mosaics — there are world class ones in several locations. Ravenna itself is pretty upmarket, too — a very pleasant surprise. I enjoyed the place much more than I was expecting.

The view from the shop when we arrived wasn't very inspiring, though:

Fortunately, Ravenna proper is a 25-minute drive through oil refineries away.

The bridge on the ship is wider than the ship:

Wouldn't it have been easier just to have wing mirrors?

Hey, it doesn't smell that bad...

Bicycles are a big thing in Ravenna:

There are white, smoother parts of the street that I think are intended for cyclists to use, but pedestrians walk all over them and cyclists go pretty well where they please, so it's hard to tell.

So tempting:

Except those things on the plate are some kind of dark red chilli pepper.

These are the public toilets in the centre of town, and the only concerted attempt by people with spray cans to make their mark:

They're automatic, and inside they spray the whole thing clean after every use, so actually they're pretty good. Well, so long as you don't let any item of clothing touch the floor, which is always wet, of course.

I'm not going to show you all the pictures I took of mosaics, because if you're remotely interested you'll be hitting Google for some better photos than any I've taken. However, here's an example of the kind of thing on show:

They're impressive for a cynical modern visitor accustomed to digital splendours; gawd knows what effect they had on the people of hundreds of years ago.

This is one of the guides for a tour we weren't on:

I think she may have had some discreet plastic surgery work.

There are lots of shops selling stuff made of mosaic. I particularly liked this cat:

I'd have liked even more being able to afford it.

Here's one of the shops in Ravenna:

English, Scotch, yes...

I'm so glad my elder daughter wasn't with us, she'd have been in this shop within seconds:

She'd have been disappointed, though, because it only sells shoes.

The town centre has mosaics on the street signs that are quite pretty:

OK, so here's another mosaic:

I'm only showing it because I took it in the dark and somehow the anti-shake processor built into my camera managed to capture enough light and put it together sanely that it looks as if I'm a half-decent photographer. Well, except for the composition and what have you.

These are some big candles:

These little men drawn on the paths all appear to have a kinky clothing habit:

This was in one of the oldest buildings in Ravenna:

If it had been in Rome, there would have been people standing around holding sticks with gum on the end, fishing the coins out.

Whoah! Scary yellow fungus!

Ravenna isn't all about mosaics. This chapel in one of the churches has a nice little niche at the top with angels in it that's rather effective:

Yet another one of those images that would make a good 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

This sign on one of the buildings probably doesn't mean what it looks as if it ought to mean to a non-speaker of Italian:

Either that, or Italians aren't much for euphemisms.

Remember: always lock up your bicycle.

Not just the wheel, the whole bicycle.

Finally, these buildings are everywhere on the waterways approaching the city:

This is a particularly big one. There's a net suspended between the big spars hanging over the water, so I guess they lower them in, wait a bit, then pull them out and see what they've caught. If it were Colchester, that would be supermarket trolleys and sacks of dead kittens. Here, there may be some fish involved.

So that's Ravenna! A much more likeable city than Bari or Messina, and one I wouldn't mind coming back to for a closer look some time.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).