I arrive by train to Venice. From the train station I follow the herd of fellow foreign cats to the water taxi until I reach Basilio. This was the real moment when I became aware of the ridiculousness of my oversized suitcase and hindering shameful abundance of everything I convinced myself I needed. I follow the directions to my b&b, a residential area filled with narrow uneven stone ally’s divided by tiny canals and joined by beautiful arched bridges.
However…NOT conducive for massive rolling suitcases. I feel like a smurf with a bad attitude. “Are we there yet?” I want to collapse. Men observe my struggle and offer to lift this massive albatross up the stone stairs. In broken English they convey their message consistent with one another “gu have ur boyfriend in dare?” “Gu have a dead body in dare? “. Finally I reach my place greeted by the housekeeper who does not speak a word of English but again body language is universal.
She opens the large wooden door and directs her gaze to the crooked staircase above. She is not hopeful and nor am I. God damn it! It takes both of us to haul that bloody suitcase one step at a time up to my room. We arrive and together sigh in relief. Then alas I turn the iron key and open my door to stand in the stillness of knowing this room was more than I could have imagined.
My moment is interrupted briefly by the thought of throwing that bloody suitcase, I want so desperately to abandon, out the window. Too much effort, I think.
This room with its brass bed and fringed lamps, with its open wooden shutters that reveal the small canal below, wrap me in a comfort that diffuses my frustration.
I am so eager to explore this romantic city that I foolishly leave my map behind along with my phone charger. You can see where this is going.
I explore St. Marcos’s square, I ride a gondola down the canals, I eat lunch along side of the grand canal. I do everything one must do in Venice and still I feel more like an observer than a participant. Maybe it was the fact I was alone surrounded by lovers, maybe it was the disappointing overpriced dinner of deep fried seafood or maybe it’s just I was a little tired. Or perhaps it was all compounded by the realization that I was in fact lost. In the dark. And not the wandering kind of lost. As terrible as I am at navigating behind a wheel I make up for it when on foot. Usually I can find my way back, when on foot, through any city maze. But I left too hastefully and everywhere I turned was a different canal which seemed to all muddle together in the dark like an ink blot. This was not the kind of place one can hop into a taxi. Nor was I staying anywhere of marked importance that one could help me find. I was utterly lost. It’s in a moment like that where traveling alone becomes a challenge. No one to guide you, no one to complain to, no shoulder to collapse on. But oddly enough other things become clearer. I’ll spare you the self-indulgant drivel. Suffice it to say, I sat in the dark near the water and had myself a good old fashion “moment”.
I would like to say the night ended well, but not every chapter ends so fairly. Eventually I find my way back and pull the purple coverlet over my head and think..”ah well..even smurfs have bad days”.