In the morning I made my first mistake of the day when instead of doing it myself I let Kim do the first thing job of checking the weather. I kick myself now because I should have done it myself; leave an important task like that to someone else and what happens? It all goes wrong of course and this morning it was raining! I’m sure that it would have been sunny if I had only had the good sense to do the job myself and have it done properly.
It really was very miserable, the sky was grey and the temperature had plummeted too and after breakfast we walked into town was much less pleasant as we had to negotiate puddles and streaks of sandy mud running across the pavements. And town wasn’t much better either; everywhere seemed gloomy and uninviting now that the sun had deserted us. Overnight a Mediterranean cruise ship had set anchor out in the bay and now the geriatric guests were being ferried back and forth into the town on the ship’s launches. The ship’s crew had established a security point on the harbour where cruisers were checked off of the small transit vessels onto the harbour where they were transferred to a town sightseeing train that was working overtime to accommodate the invasion of visitors.
Unfortunately these floating hotels seem to be turning up everywhere – ugly, monstrous and completely incongruous, dwarfing the city and the city walls and spoiling the view of the harbour and the sea front, an eleven-deck eyesore resembling a block of 1970s council flats, no style or charm, just a floating unattractive leviathan. These loathesome giants spoil everywhere they visit; Santorini has become a crowded nightmare, Dubrovnik is overwhelmed, Venice is sinking under the weight of tens of thousands of people. I hate these cruise ships not least because I immediately knew that it would unleash hoards of cruisers swarming from the ship for a quick culture break in between continuous gluttony at the all day, all you can eat on board troughs.
We walked into the town and visited the Cathedral, which was disappointing on account of having the builders in. In the October drizzle everywhere looked dejected today including the walk along the battlements overlooking a much rougher sea, now minus its sparkle, the old abandoned hospital that looked bleak under salt-and-pepper skies grey and the pavements that today seemed littered with dog excrement, which was bad, but not as bad as most of the pavements in France.
One sight did amuse us both though; there on the sea front was the tiniest Piaggio three-wheeled street cleaning vehicle I have ever seen with two of the biggest street cleaners that I have ever seen squeezed together in the undersized cab sheltering from the rain and I imagine doing irreparable damage to the suspension. I stopped to take their photograph and they laughed at me laughing at them.
As things started to improve we thought we would have a drink in the bar we liked yesterday but when we got there it was shut so we cursed the cooperative roster system and were obliged to find an alternative. We found one we liked the look of and as we sat and had a drink and felt sorry for ourselves we watched the tourist trains with the cruise ship visitors and the superior horse drawn carriages for those who had a bit more money to waste and surprisingly as we did so the weather started to improve and the sun started to peek out from behind the clouds. Soon it was quite warm so we walked back to the hotel and looked for a restaurant for lunch.
On the way we passed what we came to call ‘cat city’. A bizarre place with an assembly of pampered felines, a clowder of cats who lazed about on a designer fly tip made up of discarded old furniture and bits of plastic sheeting. These cats weren’t feral like those in Greece but very well looked after and contented domestic animals who were living in a specially constructed environment just behind the harbour walls. I have no idea what they were doing there or who was caring for them. Perhaps this was where the Canadian lady disposed of last night’s bagged up dinner.