Today I realized a dream I've had since my first year of Latin, and wandered around the ruins of Ostia, which served as the port for ancient Rome. It surpassed my expectations, so I'm not going to say much about it because when I get all elegiac it makes me gag, and I expect does the same for you.
I'll be sorry to say ciao to the Minerva II, but the ship's time has run out anyhow. Carnival has bought it, and the likely outcome is that Swan Hellenic, after 100+ years in operation, will cease to exist. The Minerva II is going to be gutted, the paneled and frescoed library ripped out, and it and the Wheeler Bar (dedicated to Sir Mortimer Wheeler, one of the founders) will become a casino. Because of course what the world needs is one more cheesy cruise ship full of white trash playing slot machines.
I'm sorry, that sounded snotty, didn't it? Well, for once I don't care if it is. It's been awfully nice to sail around in a boat that came equipped with the Oxford English Dictionary (the full set), that showed documentaries about the Aegean as we sailed over it, the offered fantastic lectures by articulate experts, and that was populated by people who cared where the hell they were sailing to.
Enough, enough. Where was I?
So this morning was Ostia, and this afternoon was Tarquinia. In Tarquinia the chief attraction were painted Etruscan tombs, followed by a ramble around the "modern" town which is mostly two or three centuries old. I was wrapping things up and about to put the camera away when I decided to take one more shot up a winding street that was especially well-lit by the setting sun.
While I was framing the view, something close by snagged my auto-focus for a minute. I realized with shock that it was a rack of...yarn.
I hadn't seen a yarn shop anywhere during the whole trip, and now I'd stumbled over one in the last ten minutes of the last excursion on the last day.
Upon investigation, it turned out to be not only a yarn shop, but a combination yarn/lingerie shop. They arrange these things so well in Italy. Guys, you think it's tough in America going into a yarn shop? Try it when the front window looks like a clearance sale at Victoria's Secret.
The glamorous saleswoman was an utter doll and happily I remembered the words for "pure wool" because they had an awful lot of acrylic going on. She understood and directed me to this pile of lovely stuff in neato colors. I left with enough DK weight Italian yarn, in the same red-brown used in the Etruscan tombs, to make myself a sweater. I won't tell you how little I paid, because it would just piss you off.
A good ending to a good trip. Tomorrow, by way of punishment, I have to deal with the airport in Frankfurt. For that, if past experience is any indication, I'll need one of the words in my meagre German vocabulary: scheisse.
(I'm not sure I spelled that right, but I do know how to pronounce it.)
Next report will appear as jet lag permits.