Life, is pushing me along as it does with lots of changes and challenges happening over here in Italia. Of course Life has decided to throw everything at me all at once! How dare you challenge me like that! I had a series of appointments in Venice a few weeks back and I happened to arrive the day the tornado went through. I was on the mid-morning train to Venice. I lucked out and managed to have 2 seats all to myself the entire trip. I paid a visit to the restaurant car for my morning cappuccino and chatted with the man that served me. I love being able to speak in Italian with the staff. I arrived into Venice at around 2:30 and was first at the car door to disembark…I walked down the platform and the man who worked in the restaurant car waved goodbye to me.
I took the Vaporetto from Ferrovia to Ca’D’Oro Fermata … I had booked a hotel room at Al Canal Regio through www.booking.com. The boutique hotel is located in the Cannaregio neighbourhood and is about a 5 minute walk from Ca’D’Oro. I have stayed at this hotel before and will share my photos in a separate post.
As I started walking towards the hotel, I noticed the dark clouds in the distant background. I didn’t think much of it as my mind was on the appointment I had at 4:00 pm. After checking in, I had enough time to grab a bite to eat before catching the Vaporetto to the other side of San Marco. I sat in a café in Campo S. Sofia and ate the best croissant I think I have ever had… It did not leave sticky croissant flakes on my face or my fingers…nor did it have some sort of overly sweet or strange processed after taste. Mr. Fluffy Croissant and I were in the moment together and then, Il Cappuccino joined us… it was almost like some sort of naughty food affair. I was pulled out of my indulgence when I noticed the staff running to the corner of the restaurant… I was not sure if it was a TV or a computer screen they were looking at. Their faces looked concerned but then everyone carried on as if all was normal. With Mr. Fluffy Croissant and Il Cappuccino now gone, I came out of my food haze and got up to pay my bill. I turned to look at the screen the staff had been looking at. That was when I saw photos of a twister … as in tornado… . I was not sure where it had touched down but no one appeared alarmed.
I dashed off to catch the Vaporetto Line 1. The dark clouds were climbing along the sky moving fastly towards where I was at Ca’D’Oro Fermata. I boarded the Vaporetto having full confidence that if anything was wrong, they would have stopped us from boarding. Then the wind picked up. As we got to the Rialto bridge, I watched the Gondolas as they paused for the passing Vaporetto’s, water taxi’s and other boats. With the wind, the backlash of waves from boats, I watched the Gondoliers working hard to paddle their loads of tourists along the Grand Canal. As we moved along there were 2 Gondoliers with very serious expressions, fiercely oaring their empty Gondolas. They were off to the side, parallel to the Vaporetto. The Venice cupid had struck again… my spirit was back and I smiled to myself as I posted on Facebook “Be still my heart..”. The rain had started and people were covering up their boats. By the time I arrived at my stop, the wind had started to blow all of the clouds away and the sun was out. It was not until later, that I found out there indeed had been a Tornado. When I went online most people were posting that it had happened after 11 that morning. It had ripped through some of the outer islands of Venice. For some reason I thought it had happened just after I arrived in Venice. I guess this was a new storm rolling through…
After my appointment I walked from Castello along the seawall passing a group of massive yachts as I headed towards San Marco Square. I made my way to the Hard Rock Café. It was now time to relax with an early dinner.
The next day as I was getting ready for my 11:30 a.m. appointment, the hotel advised me that they wanted to give me an upgrade to a canal view room. Of course I said yes! This is the second time they have given me an upgrade. I dashed off to my meeting, which was the appointment from hell. I slowly walked back to the hotel… praying that the next day’s appointments would be better. It just goes to show that things aren’t always what they seem and something that appears fantastic might have a catch. I walked into the hotel office and was offered an espresso. I accepted and went to sit in the courtyard thankful. I relaxed for a bit before going into my room to change for lunch. My new room was right on the canal with high windows and it even had a bathtub… I had my view of man and his boat. After having 2 espressos, lunch was followed by a nap. I woke to a thunder and lightning storm but decided that it was too early to stay in so I grabbed a hotel umbrella and went to my favourite Frulalà stand for my ritual Spritz. When I arrived, the Latin music was playing and I felt my spirit pick up. I could still feel the weather acting up as it was constantly changing… windy one minute… raining, thundering and then sunny. I sat and chatted with locals and tourists. Alvise, pronounced “ahl- VEE-ze” (kind of like Elvis but authentic Venetian!), made me his special drink. It was a blend of fresh ingredients: passion fruit, mint and vodka. Then… that “smell” … floated past my nose and I am sure it wafted over to the couple sitting beside me. …If you have been to Venice, you will know what I am talking about. The words in the thought bubble above my head read, “It’s not me!”
The next day I checked out and moved to a hotel over behind San Marco Square. It was the Relais San Marco. I managed to scoop another good deal on booking.com. The front desk person who checked me in had a good sense of humour. I wasn’t expecting it because he seemed serious at first. When he found out I was from Canada he mentioned “mountains”… and then “bears”… and he said “Italy has a lot of bears” and then laughed… he was referring to the Italian men. I wanted to give him a high five because that made me laugh and based on my personal experience I knew exactly what he was talking about. After finding out that I was a frequent visitor to Venice he suggested some palaces and museums that he thought I might like to see. I wondered if he had ESP because the places he referred had costuming on display. It wasn’t the usual suggestion that I get and I was really impressed. He then told me that breakfast would be served in my room and to make sure that I fill out the form and hang it on my door that evening.
My room was in a separate building next door to the office. The same man that checked me in then took my suitcase and escorted me to my hotel room. It was all stairs but I am totally used to that. Once I got over the initial pee smell, I quite liked my room. (by the way, that is something that can be easily cured with those infused coconut oil and reed sticks.) The room was big with 2 windows that opened and looked down to the restaurants below. I really liked the festiveness. The hotel was right behind San Marco square and close to my next day’s appointments. I will also post photos of this room as well. Note: the breakfast in the room was a really nice touch. I was given a feast of fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, yogurt, and ample coffee and the in room service was not extra, that was how breakfast was served.
Later, I went to visit my friend at one of my favourite lounges… the Starhotels Splendid Venice. As I sat relaxing and making notes, a man approached the bar and ordered a Bombay Sapphire martini. I could see him looking down at me. “Just ignore him and he’ll go away”, I thought. But I was drawn into conversation and it turned out that I met the founder of “1-800 Junk”…. How crazy is that. He was waiting for his wife and when she arrived, I was introduced. Before they left for dinner he slid over into the chair beside me and shared photos of their trip through Italy. When he got up to leave he said it was nice to meet me and winked at me. Like I said, never a dull moment in Italy and I continue to meet interesting people from all over the world.
The following 2 days were spent running around to appointments. It was during this time that information was revealed to me about someone I knew. It did not surprise me at all and in fact everything that my intuition had told me was correct. This person just filled in a few of the missing pieces.
With appointments finished I was back in Rome last Saturday just in time to meet a family member who had arrived for their very first Italian vacation all the way from Vancouver. I was warned that the weather was going to get very hot and it did! Regardless of the heat, the Roma tour commenced!