Litkicks Message Board Archive

canal scene #2 (subtitle: swimming through venetian streets at dusk)

Posted to Roadgoing

sub-subtitle: acqua alta sucks

this was originally an email (it may be cheap, but it works) i sent to everyone back home after experiencing some of the worst flooding venice had seen in 12 years.

Okay, for those of you who don't know, Venice sits on
a lagoon, and every once in awhile, the water comes
up, and voila! Venice floods. Well, on Monday night,
Acqua Alta hit a record...apparently it was the worst
that's been seen since 1988. And it was some kind of
freak occurrence, because it started at 5:00 in the
afternoon, instead of early morning or night, like is
usual. So, there we were, sitting in Italian class,
and we heard the siren go off. We asked Stefania if
that was for Acqua Alta, and she said yes. And we
were all kind of worried, because we had left our
stivale (galoshes) at home, because there wasn't
supposed to be Acqua Alta that day. Well, a half an
hour later, Anna came into the class and asked us if
we had our boats....we laughed....and then when class
was over, we went out to take a look:

The water was knee high all over Campo Santa
Margherita (which never floods).

So, Doc O came over with garbage bags and tape and
taped bags to our feet and E and I took off toward
home. I lost my bags somewhere in Campo San Barnaba
(about a block from school), so I rolled my jeans up
over my knees, and set off walking. My tennis shoes
are still wet, by the way. (stuffed with newspaper, sitting on the radiators... the whole apartment smells like... canal. bleh.)

Anyway, we managed to catch a vaporetto at Ca'
Rezzonico, and we headed toward home. We were unable
to get inside the cabin (stuffed with people), and the wind and the water was so bad; there were huge waves splashing all over the deck. Everyone on the deck of the vap stood
huddled in a circle, shivering, laughing about how were were gonna die in the Grand Canal. It was terrible. The
vaporetto kept trying to dock....couldn't stop at San
Marco, couldn't stop at Arsenale...couldn't stop at
our stop....and so we just stood there, waiting to see
what we would have to do, and hoping that it would
stop before it went to the Lido, an island off the
coast of Venice.

Anyway, moving on... So, we stopped at Sant'Elena,
which is the last stop on the island of Venice. E
and I started heading toward home. She runs through
there every day, and so she thought she knew a
shortcut that would keep us away from the lagoon--we
didn't want to get any wetter, but, I think, by that
point, we couldn't hve gotten any wetter....we were
saturated with disgusting canal water. So, we trudged
through the calles in brown smelly water that was at
least mid-calf-deep and sighed in relief when we
reached the gardens which are at the end of our
street. We waded through, and hit Viale Garibaldi
(the street that leads to our street, Via Garibaldi),
and were pleased, because the Viale was devoid of
water. But we stopped short at the gates of Via
Garibaldi--the water was higher there than we'd seen
yet! Probably because behind the street is another
canal (we live on that canal) and the Grand Canal
leads into the street at one end (sorry this is hard to describe... I'd draw a picture, but, well...). So, we took a minute to catch our breath (we had walked about a mile
through knee-high water...not an easy task) and took
off toward home. When we reached the calle that our
apartment is on, the water was well above my knees,
but I pressed on, and we got into our apartment
building (the entryway was also flooded), and walked
up the stairs to our dry home.