Sunday, 21 July 2019

Weather and wayward tourists and weddings!

It seems there was a mini tornado in Manchester on Friday; nobody was seriously hurt but cars and buildings were damaged. Well, who would have thought it? We had two weeks of relatively calm weather there, even some sunshine. The only real rain was occasional overnight stuff and then some drizzle on Friday, which became more realistic and heavier rain the close we got to Liverpool.

As we waited through the three hours on Friday for our plane to Porto I heard conflicting explanations for the delay:-

  •  The plane had been delayed arriving at Porto. 
  •  Indeed, they were still waiting for it. 
  •  There had been dense fog at Porto in the morning and planes had been unable land or take off. 
That last explanation was pooh-poohed by one person who had spoken to a friend in Porto who denied that there had been any fog, and by another, a native of the city, who declared that they never had fog in Porto. Now, that was rubbish as we have seen fog there and in fact, even though the sun was shining on northern Spain, there was still some fog hanging around when we arrived at Porto. So it goes!

It was overcast and drizzly first thing yesterday but the day improved. Today dawned bright and sunny, with a predicted top temperature of 26 degrees. This may not constitute a summer for the local people but it suits me fine. Maybe this is the start of the promised heatwave. Time to go and check out the pool again.

 The problems of tourism in cities rumble on. I read yesterday about two German backpackers who were spotted sitting on steps near the Rialto bridge in Venice quietly making coffee on a camping stove! It must take a special kind of self confidence, not to say cheek, to start making your breakfast right in the middle of a tourist spot. You would think they might at least have chosen somewhere a little more secluded. They were arrested, fined €950 and issued with a Daspo behaviour order, something used against misbehaving football supporters, and ordered to leave the city.

Venice has public decorum laws which were introduced after residents complained about the bad behaviour of tourists at the Unesco world heritage site, including picnicking, diving into canals, washing in fountains or walking around bare-chested or in bikinis.

“Venice must be respected and those rude (people) who think they come to the city and do what they want must understand that, thanks to the girls and boys of the local police, they will be taken, sanctioned and removed,” said Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor. “From now on furthermore, we will also report them to the embassies and consulates of their countries of origin.
Our city will always be open and welcoming to all those who want to come and visit it, at the same time we will be intransigent with those who think they will come and do what they want.”

Earlier this year Venice said it was introducing a booking system and an entry fee of up to €10.


Maybe that sort of measure will put a stop to people who arrange to get married in some picturesque spot far from home. (Didn’t George Clooney get married in Venice?) Weddings are expensive enough without having to pay extra for all your guests to get into the city!

Journalist Grace Dent was writing about weddings. She wrote, “I swore I’d never mention marriage again, but everyone deserves an Instagram wedding.”


I think it’s something to do with the appeal (to some people, many people even) of the stage-managed event with lots of supposedly romantic instagram photos.

And, boy, are they stage-managed in some cases.

In her attempts to cure herself of being obsessed with weddings, Grace Dent trawled the internet for extreme examples. “My favourite this year,” she wrote, “ is a bride who wrote to one guest insisting she buy tattoo camouflage cream, as her blue arm inkings would spoil the wedding colour scheme. Another bride sent out a weight chart decreeing anyone over 80kg wear only dark colours, or have the common decency to loiter at the back of the group photo.”

Such is the madness of those few minutes of instagram fame!

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