Last November I spend a few days in Venice after getting off of the Norwegian Jade for a Mediterranean tour. Unlike the year before when I did the same itinerary, Venice was quite wet this time around. The people of this enchanted city (not to mention the tourists) were enduring Acqua Alta (High Water) and high it certainly was, actually a few feet in some place. High enough to have the concierge at the Danieli be in a pissy mood when we asked about taking photos.
When I met up with my friends in Rome Milena offered me use of her galoshes. I thanked her but told her that there would be no need. She eyed me a bit skeptically and I’m sure thought something along the lines of “she has no idea does she.” — She was right I had no idea.
I took the train from Rome to Venice, came out of the station and walked the few meters to my hotel. (Hotel Florida) I checked in, went back out to find some dinner and then settled in for the evening. The plans for the next day was to meet my new pal Thaddeus who I’d met on the ship and who was also coming in via train in order to explore Venice. Sounds easy right?
The next day I bounced down the steps looking forward to meeting up with my friend and seeing all the cool sights while playing “tour guide” (I’d been there once before!) while walking jauntily down the streets, sipping cafe at a small shop and laughing gayly the way you see people do in those advertisements for sexy sophisticated European cities.
As I virtually pirouetted out the door the hotel manager stopped me and said, “You can’t go out that way.” I turned around and looked at him with a look of confusion that probably rivaled Mr. Bean in his most befuddled and said “How else should I go?” He simply smiled and said “You just can’t, it’s Acqua Alta and the streets are flooded.” — Somehow despite hearing and reading about this regular flooding it never really hit home. So I just looked at him smiled, opened the door, stepped out, looked to my left, then looked to my right, stepped back in and spoke to said manager saying: “I can’t go out that way.”
He smiled that knowing smile that Western Europeans give Americans when we finally come to a conclusion that’s perfectly obvious. It’s a smile that combines hilarity and pity all in one look. Guillermo (the manager) then said “I can give you these.” and hands me two large unused plastic garbage bags. Now if the evening before you told me that I’d be wearing garbage bags on my feet, I would have laughed, if you’d told me that morning I’d be wearing garbage bags on my feet, I would have guffawed, and if you’d told me 5 minutes before those same aforementioned words, I would have tried to give you that smile that I just described previously. At this point though I grabbed them from his hand with relish, thanked him, put them over my feet and sloshed out the door.
In what had to be the longest and wettest 300 meters I’d ever walked, I jumped up and down off of the platforms that are in place on many Venetian streets and made my way over to Stazione de Venezia Santa Lucia.
Before I go any further I have to explain that I don’t really have any phobias but there are things that skeeve me greatly. Walking on dirty wet ground is one of them. So you can imagine my cringing chagrin in simply walking those few steps. I didn’t know how well this day of exploration was going to go considering that this was the state of the entire city but I certainly wasn’t going to let my foible ruin the day.
After about half an hour “T-Bone”‘ arrived and I warned him that there was a surprise waiting for him in Venezia. On our way out of the station a street vendor approached me with what I hope wasn’t contraband, in the form of Zebra stripe galoshes. I’m not one for animal prints but I put on Marty’s cousin and was happier for it.
That day we walked and swished all around Venice and Murano, took a lot of cool photos, watched some kind of foot race going on in the city, swam through St. Marks Square 😉 found a great place to have an evening meal after “T” saying “not that one” to darn near every place along Ponte della Constituzione, bought a few different Italian wines to try and I learned some new Judo moves. All in all a fun day.
The next day I went to Burano and thereby found myself on one of the cutest islands that I’d ever seen.
After that chilly but beautiful excursion it was time to get ready to go home. That evening I repacked and the next morning I made my way across the bridge to the right of the train station and made my way to the bus which for about 5 euros took me on a 35 minute ride to the airport. definitely one of the easiest and cheapest ways of getting there. If you’re worried about crossing the huge bridge along Ponte della Constituzione with heavy luggage, there’s usually a man that will offer to carry it for you for a few Euro.
I gave 5…hey it weighed about 50 pounds and he actually carried it, but I too wish I made
€2.50 per minute.
Goodbye Venice. Until next time.