Week 35: The Wild Side

The John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art has the usual galleries filled with world-class art for visitors to ponder and ogle. But its grounds command attention, too. Several ponds are located on the sprawling estate, including the pond by The Muse, the museum’s restaurant. Dining there al fresco is always a pleasure. From the raised patio you view the wild side of Ringling, such as this softshell turtle sunning himself on a beautiful Florida day. He lives with Koi fish and water birds and other aquatic life. I have also seen a garter snake slithering near my table. Yikes!



Week 34: Aged to Perfection

The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen. The four-foot sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside in Copenhagen Harbor. Based on the fairy tale of the same name by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, the small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen icon and has been a major tourist attraction since 1913.

She is so delicate, small and unassuming, I was quite surprised to learn that in recent decades she has become a popular target for defacement by vandals and political activists. This statue has been damaged and defaced many times since the mid-1960s for various reasons, but has been restored each time.

In 1964, the her head was sawn off and stolen. The head was never recovered and a new head was produced and placed on the statue. In 1984, her right arm was sawn off and returned two days later by two young men. In 1990, an attempt to sever the statue’s head left a  7-inch deep cut in her neck. Good grief!

In 1998, the statue was decapitated again; the culprits were never found, but the head was returned anonymously to a nearby television station, and reattached a month later. In 2003, the statue was knocked off its base with explosives and later found in the harbor’s waters. Holes had been blasted in the mermaid’s wrist and knee.

The following year, the statue was draped in a burqa in a protest against Turkey’s application to join the European Union. In 2007, it was again found draped in Muslim dress and a head scarf. I wondered if she had been donned in a pussy hat Jan. 21, but could find nothing on that.

Paint has been poured on the Little Mermaid several times, including one episode in 1963 and two in March and May 2007. In 2006, a dildo was attached to her hand, green paint was dumped over it, and the date March 8 was written on it. It is suspected that this vandalism was connected with International Women’s Day.

Poor Little Mermaid. She ‘s been through a lot, yet continues to rest on the rock by the harbor in spite of years of tomfoolery.


Week 32: Quaint and Quirky

As we entered the outdoor reception area of the Hotel Borgo Pantano near Syracusa, Sicily, we walked past these three chairs. They helped set the tone for a fun, laid-back stay  at a 19th Century farmhouse in the southern countryside. The chairs reflect the sun-soaked colors of Sicily with the yellows, terracottas and reds of this colorful island.