03 October 2013 Thursday – Venice

It's October 3rd, which was my mom's birthday. I still miss her, and I think about her often, but especially on her birthday.

Skip's cold has gotten worse, so he and Mitzie decided not to join us today. Instead, we went out to see a few things Kathy had planned to see. I think Kathy's pace is just too fast for them.

So Kathy, Karen and I started out walking around Venice, exploring the little shops around town. A lot of the shops carry dolls and decorative masks.

We took the water bus to a museum Kathy wanted to visit.

First, we went to a fancy church. It was really cool, but again, we weren't allowed to take photos inside the church. There was a side-door that was open, so in defiance, I stuck my camera inside and shot an inside photo from outside the church. Ha! Take that!

Our next stop was the museum Kathy wanted to see. I'm getting a little tired of sightseeing, especially museums, but as we got close to the museum, I saw a sign for a special exhibit on Leonardo DaVinci. I've always been a huge fan of DaVinci because he was not only a master artist and master sculptor, he was also a master scientist and inventor for his day. So I let Kathy and Karen go to the museum, and I went to the DaVinci exhibit. In the exhibit, someone had implemented a bunch of DaVinci's designs from his notes. It was amazing how many things he invented. I sat and watched a long video about DaVinci and it was fascinating. I think I got the better end of this deal!

Afterward, I reconnected with Kathy and Karen and we were tired (again), so we treated ourselves to more ice cream.

At dinner, Mitzie and Skip joined us again. We walked from small bar to small bar, sampling their appetizers. It was very expensive, though: Fabio had warned me that Venice was an expensive town, and he was right.

We also took a water bus ride just to see the city at night.

In the late evening, there was a bit of trauma while trying to arrange for a water taxi to pick us up near our apartment for tomorrow's early morning departure.

Earlier in the week, we spoke to a water taxi driver and asked him how to accomplish it. He asked, “Where do you want to be picked up?” I showed him a photo I took of the bridge by the apartment we're renting. He gave me a business card and said to call the second number on the card and ask them to send a taxi to the “San Canzian” bridge.

So around 10:00pm tonight, I dug out the card and dialed the number. The guy on the other end didn't speak any English, so I couldn't communicate what I wanted. At one point he just kept saying “Pronto, pronto, pronto, pronto” but I couldn't make him understand. Finally, he hung up. In desperation, I called the first number. The same guy answered. No joy.

We walked around, trying to find someone to help, but there weren't any taxis around. We tried a shop keeper, and she suggested a taxi. We tried a gondolier, and he tried to help, but he couldn't find a taxi driver either.

Eventually, a water taxi pulled up to the nearby dock and we talked to him. He didn't speak much English, but we were still able to communicate what we wanted. He suggested we call his company's dispatch number. I tried to tell them I needed to be picked at the “San Canzian Bridge” at 4:00am. The dispatcher said, “San Canzian is a neighborhood. Where do you want to be picked up in that neighborhood?” I said, “There's a bridge there that says San Canzian.” He didn't believe me. He said, “Is that near San Canzian Square?” Well, how the hell should I know? I showed the photo from my phone to the taxi driver. The taxi driver spoke to the dispatcher, and they argued in Italian for a few minutes. Then he put me back on the phone. The dispatcher asked us a few more questions, then asked to talk to the taxi driver again.

By the end of the conversation, neither Kathy nor I were confident that we would see a taxi in the morning. As we walked away, we were nervous and talked about various contingency plans. Kathy's mom, Karen, walks slowly and if we had to walk back to our bus stop, it would delay us by a half hour, which might be enough to miss our international flight. When we got back to the apartment, we packed and went to sleep, uneasy.