|Tuesday August 24 - Ravenna, Italy - Ravenna is quite a ways from the port so we had to be bused into town. We are the first ship to dock at the new port of Ravenna and the captain is having a champagne toast with the port authorities today at 10 AM. We won’t see this as we will already be in town doing our walking tour of Ravenna - home of the best preserved examples of Byzantine mosaics in the world and they are spectacular. Ravenna is a very pleasant Italian city, very clean and friendly. The city is inland, but is connected to the Adriatic Sea by a canal. Ravenna once served as the seat of the Western Roman Empire and later the Ostrogothic kingdom. It is presently the capital of the province with the same name and is on the tourist map for one reason: it’s 1,500 year old churches, decorated with the best-in-the-west Byzantine mosaics. These religious building with their mosaics have been declared patrimony of humanity by UNESCO World Heritage List. They are a fascinating historical-artistic heritage, the richest and best preserved testimony of early Christian and Byzantine art in Italy. Today the art of mosaic decoration is still alive in the studios that reproduce the masterpieces of antiquity and create mosaic versions of contemporary works of art.
Due to the lack of hills in this area, bicycles are a popular source of transportation. After our guided tour, Rick and I decided to wander off in search of a restaurant that Rick Steve’s recommended in his travel guide. We found Tratoria la Rustica near the train station. We dined on local ham and sausage, a grilled flatbread known as Piadina and had some of the local cheese. A glass of white wine and a beer and we were happy. Returned to the ship to watch our departure back to sea. We have decided this is one of our favorite events of the day, sitting at the bar at the aft section of the ship and watching as we depart for our next destination.
Tonight is theme dinner night in the Windows Cafe Restaurant and the food is Indian. I’m not familiar with Indian food, but since there are many passengers from the UK on board and Indian food is quite prominent there, I had no problem finding someone to help me select what to put into my stir fry. It was enjoyable and as we watched the huge red sun set into the Adriatic sea and see the full moon rise in the east, we observed some strange flashes in the sky. Never did get an explanation as to what it was, but it was quite significant and lasted for quite some time. It was too high for flares and there were too many of them and they skipped across the sky sometimes as many as 7 flashes. We all decided it was aliens, proceeded to drink our after dinner beverages and off to late night shows or bed.