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Well, the holidays and the opening of my solo show in Ormond Beach Florida in January got the best of me, and despite good intentions, I had no time to process photographs or write blog posts in December. I hope to make up for that in the coming weeks.

Before posting about my own show and some recent shows of other people’s work that I attended, I wanted to post some more photos from our European trip.

Here are a few from Trieste. The first is a neighborhood fish market and a view of a canal in the city center. The last three are from Trieste’s wonderful theater museum.

Neighborhood-Fish-Store

Fish Market in Trieste Neighbor. Open for only a few hours in the morning when the fish are fresh.

Trieste-Canal

Display-in-Theater-Museum

Poster-in-Theater-Museum

Puppet-in-Theater-Museum

 

From Trieste, we took a bus to Rovinj, Croatia, a beautiful seaside town on the Adriatic. It was a peaceful and relaxing place, partly because cars were not allowed in much of the city center. The narrow streets were a visual feast for the artistic eye, since texture and muted colors were everywhere. Below is a window and wall on the street where we stayed, in a charming airbnb.

Wall-and-Window-Rovinj

 

After Rovinj, we drove to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. None of my photographs could capture the awe-inspiring majesty of this amazing place, so I’m not including them here. Check out the above link to see why this park is worth a visit.

Next it was onto Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Below are a few of the many photographs I took there:

Outdoor-Market-Zagreb

Main food market in center of Zagreb

 

Partly-Reconstructed-Church-Zagreb

Partly restored cathedral. This is being restored over time as the city has money to do so.

 

Statues-Inside-Church-Zagreb

Statues inside cathedral

 

Two-of-Zagreb's-Beautiful-Women

Zagreb is said to have the most beautiful women in Europe. Here are two examples.

The Mirogoj Cemetery, owned by the city of Zagreb, is one of the most famous in Europe. It is non-denominational and people of all faiths, and no faith, are buried there. The cemetery contains many beautiful sculptures and art work as well as beautifully-designed buildings.

 

Statue-at-Cemetary

Image-at-Cemetary-2

 

One of the most exciting museums in Zagreb was the atelier and home of the famous Croatian sculptor, Ivan Meštrović, now transformed into the Ivan Meštrović Gallery. Meštrović’s work is extraordinary, and it was fascinating to see the range of media in which he worked. Later in life, he emigrated to the United States where he taught at the University of Notre Dame.

Sculpture-Museum-1

Sculpture-Museum-2

Sculpture-Museum-3

Upon leaving Zagreb, we took a spectacular train ride to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Every mile contained amazing vistas. Below is a bridge reflected in the river below it.

Zagreb-to-Ljubljana

 

Ljubljana was like a fairy tale city, its beautiful buildings lining a small river that wound throughout the city. Despite its fairy tale appearance, the city was very modern and technologically savvy, using a smart card for public transportation and the free rental of bikes to be used for short trips. City Hall, set in an amazing old building, featured a juried exhibit of energy-conscious projects from all over the world.

Lbj-Building-along-River

Sculpture-on-Church-Doors-Lbj

Part of a sculpture on the doors of St. Nicholas Cathedral. Though the cathedral itself is old, the front doors were replaced in 1996 with the bronze sculptured doors shown here.

Ljb-Grafitti

Graffiti was common in some parts of the city, especially on the local trains and on some walls.

 

From Rome, we took the train to Venice. It was a pretty trip, particularly through the Tuscan countryside. though nothing like the spectacular train journeys we would take later in the trip.

Right before arriving in Venice, the train stopped at Maestre, an ugly industrial suburb outside Venice proper. Then it rolled over a quay, pulling into Santa Lucia station. The station was like any small train station, and I had no idea what to expect next. But when I stepped outside the station, this is what I saw.

Venie-from-Train-Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I realized at that point that every cliche I had heard about Venice was true. It was certainly unlike any place I’d ever been before, and throughout the days I was there, I continued to be astounded by the beauty of the city. That beauty was evident everywhere, in the buildings, the sculpture, the canals with their ever changing reflections, and even a worn brick wall that had weathered to improbable colors.

Venice-Reflections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brick-Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the interesting aspects of Venice was that it could be quite quiet and peaceful despite its hordes of tourists. As soon as you stepped away from the main tourist areas and started to walk the back streets, the feel of the city changed. It became easy to imagine the Venice of another time in those quiet streets.

We stayed in Giudecca, south of the main neighborhoods of the city. From the fondamente (the small path alongside the water), you could see Dorsoduro and St. Marco, areas crowded day and night. Giudecca, however, felt like an ordinary neighborhood, filled with small apartment blocks and lines of washing hanging out to dry. At night, walking along the back lanes to our B&B, we rarely saw anyone. We later discovered that Guidecca was home to a luxury Hilton and a small showroom selling beautiful home decorating fabrics made from original Fortuny designs.

On one of our days in Venice, we decided to visit Burano and Murano, two islands not too far from the main part of Venice. Once a fishing village and a place where women made handmade lace, Burano now feels a bit like a recreated village whose raison d’etre is tourism. Still, despite the fact that the food was bad and the lace on offer in the many stores is made in China, Burano was very pretty. Its distinguishing features include brightly colored houses and charming little canals. It also has a leaning tower similar to that in Pisa, though smaller.

Bike-in-Burano

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burano-Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murano is famous for its glass. Glass has been made on the island since the 13th century when glass making was moved from Venice to Murano because it posed a fire hazard to Venice’s wooden buildings. Although some Murano glass is now imported from China or made for a mass market trade, the island still contains some working factories as well as many glass showrooms selling beautiful pieces along with lots of kitsch.

As I peered into the open doors of one of the factories, a worker hammed it up for me as I took his photograph.

Glass-Factory-Murona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A brief walk through some back streets of Murano yielded a very modern sculpture, quite different from the more sedate sculptures seen in Venice proper.

Modern-Sculpture-Murano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two other places stood out for me in Venice. One was the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and the other was the Jewish Ghetto. The Guggheim Museum sported a wonderful collection of contemporary art, including works by Picasso, Dali, Klee, Rothko and Moore, among many others. The collection is housed in Guggenheim’s former palazzo, located on the Grand Canal. It is very varied and consists of both sculpture and paintings. The art works are thoughtfully presented and not crowded together, allowing visitors to savor each piece. The buildings comprising the museum are quite beautiful, increasing the pleasure of the viewing experience.

Visitor-Looking-at-Sculptures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the canal entrance is a wonderful statue by Marino Marini, aptly called The Angel of the City. The “angel” looks upon the canal in exuberant joy.

Statue-in-Front-of-Guggenheim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The museum also contains a restful courtyard and some amazing views across the Grand Canal. Below are some pictures taken through a decorative scrollwork window covering.

View-from-Guggenheim-through-Scrolls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close-Up-View-through-Scroll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venice’s Jewish Ghetto has a long history and some powerful, though disturbing art. From the 16th to 18th centuries, Venetian Jews were forced to live in the ghetto, once the site of a foundry. (The word “ghetto” originated from the Italian spelling of “gheto”, the Venetian word for foundry.) Shakespeare made this neighborhood famous through his references to it in The Merchant of Venice.

Unlike in the rest of the Venice, the buildings in this area are very tall, some  7 floors high. The height of these buildings resulted from so many people being forced to live in such a small area. Several synagogues were housed in the top floors of some of these buildings.

Tall-Buildings-in-Ghetto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While not outwardly different from the rest of the city, the area’s main piazza contains remnants of the area’s history. Surrounding the Casa di Riposo Israelitica, the site from which Venice’s remaining 250 Jews were deported during the Holocaust, are memorials commemorating the fate of Venice’s Jews. The bronze sculpture panels designed by Arbit Blatas, a Lithuanian-born sculptor and painter, depict the brutality of the Nazis against the Jews.

Memorial-Plaque

 

 

 

 

 

Arbit-Blatas-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arbit-Blatas-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today the Ghetto area is just an ordinary neighborhood in Venice filled with people enjoying the day. It still remains as a center of Venetian Jewish life and is also visited by many tourists interested in its history.

Child-in-Jewish-Ghetto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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