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.