Thursday, June 3, 2010
I left my peaceful seat to head to Squero di San Travaso, the place where they have made and repaired gondolas for centuries. As soon as I got on the boat to go there, however, the rain picked up again. Pouring rain, thunder that sounded as if one of the lions guarding Venice's borders had come to live, and clear bolts of lightning fell from the sky. No one else seemed to think it was odd to have boats on the water in a thunderstorm, so I fretted alone. Has anyone ever been electrocuted on Vaporetto No. 51, or will I be the first? Made it to the boat stop in time for the rain to begin in earnest, and joined a large group of smokers under an awning to wait. (It was not as relaxing as our smoke breaks, Tony!) Just as I gave up, ran back to the station and prepared to head back to the hotel, the sky cleared and within an hour every could in the sky was gone. I bought an umbrella, which I hope will guarantee sunny skies for the rest of the trip - rain usually comes when I'm unprepared.
The gondola store was nothing too terribly interesting, but the walk was - I wandered through miles of Venice, along the canal but mostly off the beaten path. Back to the htoel to check in for tomorrow's flight home (sigh), then on to enjoy the afternoon. I spent 15 minutes in line for the Bell Tower at St. Mark's Square, jostled by tourists, then decided I didn't like lines, didn't like heights and didn't really care if I missed the 1000+ steps to climb, so I applied the €8 entrance fee I would have paid to a very overpriced but completely delightful ice cream sundae at Caffe Lavena, in St. Mark's Square.
I'm still here now, writing while teh enormously large gondola of ice cream melts in the sun. (Yes, Anna, I did actually ask the gorgeous Italian waiter to take my picture. Very embarassing but everyone else does it too!)
After my delightful 'lunch' it was another boat-filled afternoon. I really don't think I could ever get tired of someone chauffering me around on a boat. I've lost track now of how many times I've circled around and through Venice, but I always notice something new. I tried to figure out the rules of the 'road' for these boats, but couldn't decifer any method to their madness. The drivers get irritated with each other and may occasionally honk or wave their arms around, but they all wait their turn or get out of the way when necessary. The only sea vessl I saw be stubborn to the point of almost being run over was (no surprise) a seagull.
I did a lot of walking today, too - the highlight was the giardini, public gardens, with random statues in various stages of becoming old (like all of us). It was peaceful and quiet, away from the chaos of the tourists.
I've continued the garden theme, and now am in the small courtyard garden at my hotel. The photos of this hideaway were why I picked the hotel, and it was worth it. Occasionally you can hear footsteps outside the gate but most of the time it is just me and the birds, escaping the craziness of St. Mark's Square.
Soon I'll leave to have dinner and - if we're feeling crazy - a gondola ride with my wonderful friends from Denver. They've followed me to Venice today, and I'm very glad. Food and laughter are the perfect recipe for my last night in Italy!
Posted by Beth at 2:59 PM