PhotoHunt "Public": Remnants of World War II on Venice's Lido

I went for a more historical approach than an aesthetic one for this week's PhotoHunt.

Here on Venice's Lido, the entire barrier island is dotted with small but imposing World War II bunkers. For years, they remained where they were, I guess because they were too difficult to tear down. Or perhaps during the Cold War the military thought they might still come in handy someday. Anyway, nowadays, they can't be removed, from what I understand... Nobody seems to know exactly the reason why, but many are still owned by the state and maybe it's because by now they are presumed to be of historical value, no matter whether the property they are on is public or private.

Why private? Because after the war, there were a lot of squatters who took over abandoned shelters, and over time a number of these habitations became permanent, even after times had gotten better.

So, here are a sample of a couple of these structural remnants of World War II...

At left, at the San Nicolo end of the Lido by Pachuka Beach is this charming little bunker. (Notice the new fresh paint and stucco!)

Most impressive, and really good for thinking about the tension between this week's PhotoHunt theme "public" and private, I think, is what had been the barracks for some of the sailors who had manned these bunkers!

It's in the "Ca' Bianca" neighborhood of the Lido, and has the unused bunker pictured at top on one end and now the great pizzeria "Cason" on the other.

In between, you can barely see still the words painted on the bunker end of the building: "OBBEDIRE. CREDERE. COMBATTERE." These were by-words of Fascism in Italy from the 1920s to the '40s: "Obey. Believe. Fight."

Best of all, I think, is the house that's in between. On the wall, you can still make out the words "è stato e sarà".

The very kind lady who lives there told me the rest of the saying, which has since been covered up with whitewash: "Il nostro destino è stato e sarà sempre sul mare." (Translated: "Our destiny has been and always will be on the sea.") The words were meant to inspire the barrack's sailors who were guarding the coastline.

And there you have it for this week's PhotoHunt: "public" and private. (In fact, as one last nice touch, you can see the sign to the right of the doorway which now reads "Private Property"!)

Are you doing the PhotoHunt too? You can sign in here!

The Ultimate in Retro Bicycles

The British site I Want One of Those (subtitled: "stuff you don't need, but you really, really want!") is selling the ULTIMATE retro bicycle! (It's so old school you won't even find one of them on the Lido!!)*

It's the "Penny Farthing" and it's available for just under a mere 500 pounds! Cash, that is, for us Yanks... not weight! :-)

*Inside joke for Venetians and other Lido habitués!

Scenes from Italy: Awesome Api!

Those little scooter trucks that you see in Mediterranean countries and around the world are "Api." The "Ape" (pronounced "A-PAY"), which means "bee" in Italian, was - like the famous Vespa - created after World War II to give Italians an affordable means of transportation, in this case for merchants and craftsmen to carry their wares.

But just get a load of this load! As you can see here in this shot I took today on Venice's Lido, they really are sturdy little things!!

Previously on *MMC*: "a fantastic little animated short of a love-struck octopus' rescue from one of those cute tiny "ape" scooter trucks on a small Greek island... It's a hoot! Enjoy!!"


The satisfying fruit of my first-ever, very-clumsy attempts to photograph lightning!

PhotoHunt: "Hanging"

I'm posting this week's submission for PhotoHunt early, since I really don't think I'll come up with anything better! (Although, if I stand corrected, I'll update this post accordingly!)

This week's theme is "Hanging." Lots of stuff hangs, of course... but nothing has spoken to me more than this broken umbrella that was hung out to dry in a surprisingly empty, small dead-end court near Venice's overly-bustling Piazza San Marco.

I transferred the pic to my iPhone and used the ColorSplash application to turn the image monochrome but leave the umbrella bright yellow. See what you think! :-)

PhotoHunt: "Triangle"

Wow, this theme for PhotoHunt was harder than you might think, since you don't easily find triangles in nature!

On one hand, I was a little tempted to stage a portrait, but I would have had to scare up three willing participants. On the other, I might have had some interesting opportunities to look for triangles tomorrow at the celebration of the Redentore here in Venice, but I'm simply not up to suffering through the heat- and humidity-wave we're in right now just to maybe get the shot.

So, depending on whether photo manipulation is allowed, I may or may not have sort of cheated on this one! Actually, though, it honestly happened completely by accident... I was playing around last week with a photo editor on my phone, selected a vertical mirror option, and this is what I got! Rather cool, if I do say so myself!

The original photo, in which I caught a shot of a bit of a traffic pileup near the Piazza San Marco last week, isn't bad at all, but it's far less surreal, as you can see at right.

Next week's PhotoHunt theme is "hanging". Now, that should be fun!

PhotoHunt: Open and Free (but Late)

I've decided to join the PhotoHunt movement! Each week, tnchick posts a theme and participants display on their own webpages one of their photos that illuminates that theme.

The first theme here on *MMC* is "Open". I really racked my brain on this one because I thought that "open" usually suggests all kinds of warm, fuzzy feelings, but I wanted an image that might challenge those associations. This is what I came up with...

Unfortunately, only afterward did I realize that "Open" was the theme for last week, and I should have had "Free" submitted by July 10th instead! Oh well, for my first PhotoHunt post, better late than never! My thinking is just about the same regarding that theme as well, so here is a slight variation on the above premise for "Free"...

I promise (at least I think I can promise!) that the upcoming PhotoHunt pic will be lighter... It's due the 17th and the theme is supposed to be "Triangle"! :-)