We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A bad boat week

Sciopero.  Now there's an Italian word you should learn quickly. It means strike. The verb is scioperare- to strike.  And yes, this week in Venice there was yet another transportation strike.  Fortunately, most of the time the strikes are short in duration, this one was from 9:00 until 12:30.  The one we had about a week before that was a 24 hour strike, which was very unusual.  But this week, the strike just compounded my boat woes.

The whole week started out badly for me with the onset of a terrible cold (raffredore) on Sunday. By Monday morning I was in no shape to get up for my daily trek to FateBeneFratelli for therapy.  So I stayed in bed.  Tuesday morning I felt only slightly better, but missing therapy two days in a row was not on my agenda- until I looked out the window to check on the weather. Fog was predicted for Tuesday morning. This wasn't just fog, this was the worst fog I have ever seen in my life! I could not see out the window.  For certain, there would be no boats running this morning. I dragged myself back into bed, a little bit thankful for the double reason not be going to therapy. Now, mind you, at the end of therapy every day I am grateful that I went, because I feel so much better afterwards. But the actual process of doing it is sheer torture - the pain is unbelievable.  And the commute is no picnic either.

Wednesday morning I was feeling much better. Not over the cold, but was feeling better after Mike had made a trip to the local farmacia for me the day before. He came home with a bag of goodies- pills for a runny nose, lozenges for the sore throat, and syrup for the cough.  All worked wonders.  And the fog that was predicted for Wednesday again didn't materialize. I got up, got ready, and was out the door headed for the boat dock at Sant Andrea on time.  The minute I arrived at Sant Andrea, I knew I had a problem.  When there is no one else at the dock, it's a sure sign there are no boats running.  There was no fog, and no other signs posted indicating anything different happening this particular morning, but I had to trust my gut instinct. No boats were coming.  I walked to Piazzale Roma.  Just as I made the turn around the corner by the Coop, I had the answer to the mystery.  It wasn't just the 42 or 52 boats not running, there were NO boats. Aha-  a strike.  The electronic sign over the boat dock confirmed this.  The stike would last until 12:30.  Ok- I would  at least get home from therapy, if I could actually get there.

I considered walking the whole way. It's a long way, and my knee was not feeling happy at all. So, I used Plan B- hire a private water taxi. These guys must love strike days, cause the locals use the taxis when they otherwise would not.  10 minutes and 40 Euros later I was standing at the doorway of FateBeneFratelli.

Thursday was a nice day, and the boats ran on schedule. I was thanking the Boat Gods.

On Friday, I double checked the weather forecast. Fog was not predicted.  Good. I walked to the boat docks, and again, there was no one around. The dock was open, but there was a chain over the exitway leading to the boats, which was a bit unusual.  I sat for a few minutes, during which time just one other woman arrived. This was definitely unusual. At this hour of the morning there typically is a pretty good crowd waiting.  I threw in the towel and walked to Piazzale Roma. Sure enough, the # 52 was not running and the # 42 was leaving from Piazzale Roma.  I didn't see any explanation for why the schedule changes, but it didn't matter, all I needed to do was get to FateBeneFratelli.  The # 42 wasn't running on it's normal schedule either, apparently, as  I waited 30 minutes for the boat.  I started to get nervous that I wouldn't have enough time to make it to my therapy appointment.  Fortunately, the boat arrived.

As we rounded the corner onto the lagoon leaving the Cannaregio canal, I saw what the problem was. The fog out here on the lagoon was thick as thieves. You could not see in front of your face.  I couldn't even see the shore line and I don't think we were 100 feet away from it.  I wanted to be mad. My whole week was sent topsy turvy by the boats this week. But- I just couldn't find it in me to get mad. Instead I was mesmerized by the view. Venice is even more mysterious, more beautiful when it is veiled in fog.


Jan Pag said...

Good morning, what a lovely description! We had one misty morning when we were there but nothing to compare with your description orwhat I see each day on the webcam. We got married in Venice nearly 8 years ago and the day before the ceremony we got a call from our planner to say that the gondoliers would be on strike! What we did instead was much more memorable - we walked in procession from San Moise to Palazzo Cavali and everybody stopped and clapped - including all the workmen still on La Fenice! We caught the Vap # 1 to the restaurant afterwards and i have some wonderful photos of me in my finery surrounded by people with shopping bags. Despite just having our 7 th trip to Venice I have still not been on a gondola.....

karen said...

Jan, what a great story! How fabulous you were flexible, and enjoyed yourselves despite the foiled plans! Next time you come, you must get on a gondola. I would take a ride every day if I could afford it. For me it is one of the most magical experiences, I feel like I am transported back in time.

Rob C said...

Ah, Venice in the Fog, wonderfully romantic UNLESS you have to get the Vaporetto :-)

Still, We're hoping to be back for Christmas again, so let's see if we will be fogbound.

Rob C said...
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Pamela said...

I returned to the U.S. on 24 Jan...knowing the sciopero was on, of course but working through the logistics certainly let me appreciate the planning that does go into dealing. On the other hand - it was not surprise to me that your ultimate response to the vagaries of transportation and weather in bella Venezia is wonder...and isn't that special! Another reason amo/amiamo Venezia, si?

Michelle said...

Ciao, Bella,
I thought of you when I saw the fog on the webcam.
Of course I often think of you when I look at the webcams and wonder if that little dot of a person is either you or Mike.

Italy to Los Angeles and Backe said...

Hi Karen,

Yes, unfortunately transportation strikes are common here. The only thing I can suggest to prevent you from tiring yourself out before heading off to the vaporetto stop is to stay up to date with the local news via the daily papers and the daily TgRegionale. They always announce the strikes at least a day ahead of time. Or you might want to check out the ACTV website too. Often they list strike hours and which boats are running.

All a part of living in Italia!

A presto,