Monday, November 22, 2010

Arrival: Getting my feet wet

I have only arrived in Venice by car or train.  This time I arrived at Marco Polo airport, to be surprised that there is Vaporetto service from the airport to several stops in Venice. It is truly a wonderful way to arrive.  There is a 7 minute walk from the airport terminal to the harbor, and as I was dragging my wheeled luggage I was wondering what I was doing coming to Venice at all, but when I got on the boat, that nautical motion made me feel right at home and I knew it was a good decision.  The Vaporetto service is only several years old, and when it was instituted they also had a shuttle between the terminal and the docks, but intergovernmental bickering shut it down, so now we are all forced to walk, fortunately the weather was nice.  This state of affairs is something I thought only New Yorkers would put up with, making the the experience all the more familiar.

My first day started early, as a ferocious alarm went off in the middle of the night.  It seems that an alarm is sounded 3 hours before Acqua Alta, so, if the high water is at 8 in the morning, the alarm is sounded at 5AM.  Pleasant.  Anyway, my first job was to buy boots. Everyone in Venice walks around in waders, giving this most aesthetic city a distinctly casual air.  Having gotten booted up, I took a cruise down the Canale Grande. Acqua Alta was making itself known to the great Palazzos.  The vision of the Ca' d'Oro ground floor under 2 feet of water twice a day is the shocking reality that the Venetian water problem isn't just bothering tourists, but actively destroying the city.

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