03 August 2020

Introduction to Moody's Black Notebook Travels

I have two great regrets in my life.  One is eating a chicken sandwich in Varanasi, shortly before flying to Kathmandu.  This gave me the worst food poisoning I have ever experienced, nearly killed me, and meant that I missed a unique opportunity to visit Lhasa before it was turned into a Chinese Disneyland.  The other regret involves three Inter-rail trips that I made in 1979, 1980 and 1981.  They were extraordinarily rich in sights and experiences.  Stupidly, though, I did not keep a travel diary at that time, so all I have are vague, if important, memories of what I saw, thought and felt.

At least I was able to learn from these two huge blunders.  Afterwards, I no longer ate chicken sandwiches in exotic lands, and I kept travel diaries for all my major trips.  The latter took the form of black notebooks, bought from Ryman's, in two formats: one small enough to fit in a pocket, and another, slightly larger, that I kept in the travel bag I used for longer journeys. 

I now have dozens of these notebooks sitting behind me, filled with my illegible scrawl.  I have been meaning to turn them into digital texts for some years, and to bring them into the 21st century, but have never got around to it until now.  I am not transcribing them in any set order, but will place links to them below, as they go online, ordered chronologically.  There is no overall plan, no overall significance.  They are just what they are: quick thoughts jotted down in black notebooks, captured moments of a specific time and place.

01 August 2020

Walks with Lorenzetti: Venice, Memory, Tourism

Just as A Partial India was a re-working of my travel notebook for India, so Walks with Lorenzetti re-visits a 1988 trip I made to Venice.  A Partial India and the notes it is based on try to capture the unrepeatable impact of seeing India for the first time.  Walks with Lorenzetti is quite different.  Although it was a particularly intense few days in Venice, it was far from my first trip there.  I brought with me other memories of the city and elsewhere, as well as various kinds of relevant knowledge built up over the years before.

Walks with Lorenzetti therefore goes beyond simply re-working one of my travel notebooks.  It weaves in other major strands, including three of the city's greatest creators and their art: the music of Vivaldi, the paintings of Canaletto, and the writing of Goldoni.  Above all, it follows in the footsteps of another book: Guido Lorenzetti's Venice and its Lagoona forgotten masterpiece that deserves to be better-known.  I hope the following pages will help to achieve that.



Introductory Chapters

The book
The itineraries
The man

The Twelve Itineraries

I - First act: eighth itinerary
II - First night movement: Allegro più ch’è possible
III - First portrait: Antonio Vivaldi
IV - Second act: ninth itinerary
V - Second night movement: intermezzo
VI - Second portrait: Carlo Goldoni
VII - Third act: third itinerary
VIII - Third night movement: capriccio
IX - Third portrait: Antonio Canaletto
X - Fourth act: fourth itinerary
XI - Fourth night movement: finale
XII - Fourth portrait: itinerant biographies


The personal tempest

Venice and its Lagoon