These fortified walls in Venice form part of the defence of the old Arsenal, where the shipyards and armouries were located. In those days its power and wealth came from its ships and its ability to control trade in the Mediterranean as well as the trading routes to the East.
Having wandered round most of Venice, where being islands seemed to be protection enough, it was surprising to come across such solid defences. It was even more mind-blowing to realise they enclosed an old harbour…
The wall really made me think about Venice’s history and what was important to its people.
After visiting Yosemite a few times, one gradually becomes aware that there’s more to see if you travel further afield. Just outside the eastern entrance to the park, a few miles to the north of Lee Vining up US-395, there’s a very well preserved gold rush ghost town called Bodie.
While it was already know as a ghost town before the first world war, it was still occupied until the last mine closed during the second world war and as ghost towns go, it’s pretty modern – there is even a well-preserved gas station. There are full streets of “wild west” wooden buildings in a good state of repair, and you can definitely imagine the spirit of the place when it was a bustling and rowdy mining town.
It’s definitely worth a visit if you venture out of Yosemite, as is Mono Lake (visit the Mono Lake Committee store) and, much further to the south, the small town of Bishop where you’ll find Mountain Light Gallery, the photography base of the late Galen Rowell.