Do you remember the book “MEN ARE FROM MARS WOMEN ARE FROM VENICE?” Neither do I, but we spent our last day (and last Euro) in St. Mark’s Square, and then it was off to the ship for a night-time crossing of the Adriatic Sea. By the way, did you know that this body of water was named after the famous Italian-American boxer, Rocky Balboa? (Yo, Adriatic!) All right, that was a bit of a stretch, but there are very few good jokes about the Adriatic!
Incidentally, the Adriatic is a gorgeous body of water and actually the most northern part of the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the water is crystal clear, and quite refreshing. Our destination (upon leaving Venice) was Piran, Slovenia, which bills itself as “Slovenia’s Prettiest Town.” The most beautiful woman in Slovenia now lives in the White House, but as a whole, the local chicks were quite gracious. (The men need to shave more often. Some of the women, too. But mainly the men.) Where was I?
Oh yeah, Slovenia. The country is considered the Switzerland of the Istrian Coast, and the comparison is fairly accurate. (Like my memory!) Piran’s claim to fame is its Oval Square, which is something of an oxymoron. (Although I did not see any morons or oxen there.) The town square, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, was built in an oval shape, and named after a gent called Giuseppe Tartini. Mr. T, as he’s often called, was a composer and virtuous, I mean virtuoso, violinist. His fans erected a statue of him in 1896, and if you glance around the square, you’ll notice that many of the buildings are Italian-styled structures. (This is because Piran was part of the Venetian empire from the 13th century to the end of the 18th century.) Those dang Venetians are everywhere!
In case you’re wondering, Slovenia gained independence in 1991, and they joined the European Union in 2004. Unfortunately, they also use those damn Euros, so we had to purchase a few more colorful bills. We did not have enough time to visit Ljubljana, the nation’s capital, but we did catch a glimpse or two of Bled Castle. I only have one complaint about Slovenian men. (Aside from the infrequent shaving) Their last names contain way too many consonants and very few vowels. Hence, our tour guide – Vladzk Jrvkcpt – and many of his comrades, were given nicknames. (Vlad The Cod did not like his name. No idea why.)
One other minor complaint. One of our shipmates slipped and broke his arm. When we took him to the (hospitable) hospital, he told the doctor that he had broken his arm in two places. The doctor told him to stay away from those places! (Come on, that was funny!)
So what else is new? Well, this past week I began teaching a writing course at Longhorn Village in Steiner Ranch. I’m conducting a creative writing class, focused on personal memoirs, and it’s great fun. My students are mainly senior citizens, and they all have marvelous lives to write about. One of the gals in my class told me that husbands were the best people to share secrets with. (They don’t repeat anything because they’re usually not listening!) True enough.
By the way, the Texas Book Festival will be held in Austin later this month, so if you’re in town, you might want to drop by and take a look at some of the outstanding books on display. My books will be featured at a (semi) private evening event. I’ll post the details as we get closer to the festival. In the meantime, check out my last history book, TURBULENT TIMES, which just received an unusual honor. Doris Kearns Goodwin (a friendly competitor) recently published a book titled, LEADERSHIP IN TURBULENT TIMES. (With my blessing) I was fine with the slight copyright infringement. Hopefully, folks will now order my book, thinking that it was written by a Pulitzer Prize Winner! (My mama didn’t raise no fool!)
Well, time to leave. Lots of chores to do today. To tell you the truth, I’m a person who wants to do a lot of things but I’m trapped in the body of a person who likes to sleep a lot. Ah well, onward and upward. I shall leave you with one final thought… The person who invented the doorbell obviously did not own a Chihuahua!
Love to all,