The trials of not having internet!

Well, with the Internet nearly nonexistent in most of the Italian towns, I have resorted to typing these entries on my laptop at a bar overlooking the beautiful Lago d’Orta on our final two days in Italy, trying to recap the last eight days of our adventure.

September 16 – Venezia – the day of the deluge on the streets of this water city. We wander on our own, looking for stores we had each marked on our Streetwise Venice maps. My goal is to get to a bead store called Anticheta in Dorsoduro, over the Accademia Bridge. It is raining, but nothing my umbrella can’t handle. However, I arrive at the store I’m looking for, only to find that it closed 30 minutes ago and won’t be open again for three more hours, at 16:00, 4:00 p.m.. This is a long break for a store in Venice, but since the shop is in Dorsoduro, rather than in San Marco or the Rialto district, it is calmer, this shop is probably more legitimate, rather than touristy, and the owner can close for as long as he chooses.

I look for a place to have lunch and find one just two or three doors down from Anticheta. I have an excellent sandwich, a delicious peach and apple tart, and a cappuccino. I eat slowly and stay in my seat, grateful for once that the bars and restaurants don’t slam down the bill (il conto) until you ask for it, even if that is three hours from the time you finish your meal.

Unfortunately, I have hope that the rain will abate, even slightly, so I finally pay for my meal and begin to walk, taking advantage of this “killing time” task, believing it will afford me a chance to see this part of Venice, even in the rain. However, “rain” isn’t really what continues. How about torrential rain? How about deluge? How about . . . the streets are ready to float into the canals!

However, I walk, my favorite, dependable Primo Breeze shoes sloshing, holding me without sliding on the wet stones, but never to recover from their afternoon and evening of Noah’s Ark weather. I have kept them on every windowsill (windows open) for the past 10 days, but still, they throw off the scent of Venetian canal water mixed with a rainstorm the likes of which they’ve never seen. A new pair from shoes.com is definitely in order as soon as I arrive at a dependable Internet point.

And the beads? I return to the store at 3:30, pace a bit, go two doors down to the little lunch place, ask for a cappuccino again, and sit, writing in my journal for 30 minutes. Then I pace outside the store. A young Pakistani man asks in a sort of Italian pantomime whether I am waiting for the shop to open (no, I’m just pacing in the deluge for my health!). He makes a quick phone call, speaking in rapid sort of Italian, and hangs up, telling me “Quindici minuti” Fifteen minutes. At 16:20, an older, graying man appears at my sisde to open the store. Three hours and twenty minutes’ wait, then ten minutes in the store, and Euro 200 worth of beads for Euro 150 in a little red bag . . . truly, there ware probably fifteen beads – very old Venetian, some sort of old, and some he says were “newer”. He’d throw those in for no charge. Wish I had known that! I would have gotten a few more. They are silver, and very nice. See the photo with the smaller beads. The second bead collection is one I purchased earlier that morning, before the deluge!

At any rate . . . my Venetian flood, from the heavens, not the walkways. And by the time I get back to the hotel and greet my travel mates, they have already changed their soaked clothing twice. We are all hungry and ready for some dinner. And the weather has cleared, so we walk the streets toward the Rialto Bridge until we find the Il Colombo Ristorante . . . very nice, lovely food, fresh fish, whole and waiting to be chosen, and the boast that Woody Allen has eaten here.

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