Developments at Dusk
Uncertainty in the Twilight Zone.
Or so it seems. Remember those wonderful episodes of black & white TV strangeness, more fantasy than fiction, where no matter how strange things looked or how perplexing the end of the weird drama unfolding, you knew that eventually Rod Serling would surely step from behind the curtain and explain everything. Or at least, would give you the benefit of his own ambiguous interpretation.
That memory-association brings us back exactly to the French health ministry's decisions about fighting the widespread virus that we all have become accustomed to fearing, daily. I think the medical bureaucrats in Paris are likely very conscientious folk, whose intrusiveness suggests they're somewhat more realistic/hard-headed than our own officials. Which is to say they mean well. There now exists an official procedure for applying online for a digitized French health card -- Pass Sanitaire -- whose possession lets you bypass all sorts of government red tape on the street or anywhere such a document might be requested. You must have it in order to enter anyplace with a capacity of over 50 humans. Good, good.
Except you can't get one, the slick official mechanism has been shut down indefinitely. "... I know where you want to go, but you can't get there from here." Not from anywhere, certainly not via those much touted hi-tech avenues. Low-tech is even worse. So from here (literally from my house), two planned weeks/places/activities loci, are kaput. No St Emilion, no Avignon. Bordeaux wine will simply beckon to us from a bewildering flock of reds lined up on the grocery shelf elsewhere. Likewise the imposing hulk of the 14th c. Pope's Palace fortress will simply have to remain standing without our personal encouragement. Happily (huh? No St Emilion wine and there's an up side?) the displaced weeks are arranged, in the string of things, next to Girona in Spain and Levanto in Italy.
So on to doable alternatives. Here is a photo of an immediate possibility we considered, Seville.
We have been here, during a too-brief port stop by Holland America's Eurodam some years ago. During the previous century this was a thriving commercial port. The adjacent river had enough width to form a navigable estuary ... before accumulating silt made it into a mere stream/river again. And so commercial trading interests turned to Cadiz, on the actual coastline. Still, the belle epoque architecture here is wonderful and the cathedral of Seville is the third-biggest Christian church in the world; and the Alcazar Palace and Jewish Quarter richly deserve days to explore.
For me the negatives relate to population. While not a megalopolis, Seville is about the same size as Boise: under a million souls but a big city nonetheless. And given the limited days we have available to experience Spanish culture, I'm reluctant to have those days blunted or diffused by tens of thousands of people surging at will. My problem of course; your mileage may vary.
So the actual substitute hub for that week's travel in Spain is still being processed. I have a pretty good idea of what would fill all our needs hereabouts, but let's allow that to percolate awhile -- at least until the next edition of this blog.
Well then, Eric, anything you're pouncing on in Italy now, for the other hanging chad (hahaha, just now I remember that fuss in Florida) week? Another mood-photo that is meant to convey more than it possibly can without a little help from this quixotic writer.
Barley waving with a few pretty weeds sprinkled around, for interest. Nice, even soothing. But you have to have seen it from Orvieto to understand the emotional tug that draws me here.
So I have work to do on the website, to bring it up to speed with these details. Or maybe it's all in pursuit of semi-tedious fun? More anon.