On the little island of Murano, the glass-blowing subsidiary of Venice, Inc.

Mille grazie, Italia.

I’m exhausted.  My feet hurt.  My back is killing me.

And better moods are rare in my life.  Peggy and I flew back from UMKC Law’s CLE program in Rome last night, along with two dozen friends, both new and old.  Our operational tempo over the prior ten days was high, we walked everywhere, and on each end of the journey, we crammed ourselves into the euphemistically named “Economy Class” seats of American Airlines.  (This is not a slam on AA, but good grief, folks.  Could you have made that sardine can any tighter?)

During two of the free days of the conference, we headed up to Venice on the Frecciarossa (Red Arrow, high speed train) and got to savor cicchetti, some fantastic wine, and unbeatable scenery.  But while drinking it all in, I couldn’t help but imagine Marco Polo around the turn of the 14th century, in his hometown’s heyday.  As we sailed around the island on a vaporetto, the sea spray and cold wind blowing about, I was reminded that this place was where global trade truly began.  It’s by no coincidence that the world still comes to Venice, if for no other reason than to take a few pictures and buy some souvenirs.  It truly is a wonderful place– Peggy’s favorite in all of Europe.

The lawyer in me wonders how 14th century Venetian commerce would have reacted to a Hague Service Convention request.  Perhaps those merchants of old would have just thrown caution to the wind and relied on their formidable naval strength to ward off the procedural gestures of faraway litigators.

But I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t have closed up shop.  The economic engine would have continued to chug right along.