This plaque appears on a wall of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. Though Google translate comes up with a decidedly odd translation of the Italian – or is it Latin? – inscription from several hundred years ago, it seems clear that the plaque marks the spot of an office dedicated to investigating and rooting out tax cheats. It is no doubt just coincidence if anything about the sign or the lovely bas-relief of the head of the man has a contemporary ring to it.
I spent an October day in Innsbruck, Austria, a chance to relax in between larger, more demanding travel venues. The small city is beautiful, featuring plenty of scenic vistas provided by the Tyrolean Alps, more monuments to the Hapsburgs, and good food and beverages. I did little more than wander around for a day, but was in town long enough to get this postcard cliche shot of a lovely Gothic church in late afternoon light with the rugged Alps in the background.
A gray day and drizzling rain provided the flat light needed to illuminate the rich, beautifully saturated colors in this arched doorway. The Hue Citadel was the official seat of government and the home of Vietnam’s Nguyen dynasty emperors (1802-1945). It is a huge, sprawling walled area, a wonderful place to explore in any kind of weather.
I don’t know about you, but I am not going to miss 2023, though to be honest, on a personal level, I had a good year. However, I certainly cannot say the same for the world around me. There is not a great deal to feel excited or upbeat about as we stumble into 2024, at least that is how things look from my corner of the world. I guess it is up to all of us to make the new year as happy and decent as we can. Let’s get to it!