Minus Tourists from China and Russia, Europe Is Pleasantly Quaint Again
Before any knees jerk and politically correct readers accuse me of being a nasty, dumb racist — which all racists are — let it be said that if you have ever read my articles, you will know I am not one.
Do my past convictions, however, establish enough “non-racist” creds for me to give this article such a title? Well, I believe so; and so, before lashing out, read on.
Normally this time of year, the city of Venice, Italy is packed wall-to-wall with tourists from China. I was recently there on a quiet Sunday morning, sitting with my wife and son. We were enjoying a wonderfully typical Italian breakfast of cappuccinos and Italian-style croissants with chocolate.
The most wonderous part of our breakfast, though, was the silence broken up only by the musical incantations of the present soothing a restless past. The distant echoes of the cooing of pigeons, drowned out when the bells from the assortment of Venice churches burst to life each hour, made me think that the moment we were experiencing could easily be from one hundred years ago, and most notably thirty years ago.
It was thirty years ago that, give or take a moment or two, the Soviet Union was ended. It was about that same time that China was transforming itself from a nation that traveled mostly on bikes and lived in rural squalor to what it would become today. The rice paddies are now modern cities with populations of over twenty million and the bikes have been replaced by high-speed trains, cars, and mass transit.
But in March 2022, sitting in a time-confused Venice, we had time to stroll about leisurely taking photos of empty streets. We were actually able to hear the locals chatting animatedly after Mass, shopping for the finishing touches of Sunday feasts, and gushing the way only Italians can do over infants dressed in wonderful little church outfits.
Avoided Venice like the plague
Having traveled to practically every corner of Europe, I always avoided Venice simply because there seemed never to be a respite from the crowds. Don’t get me wrong, I like…