Did I ever tell you about the time I got stranded in Venice with no place to stay?
It was the middle of July and my friend and I were adding a few days onto an art workshop so we could visit Venice. We were both excited. We made reservations in a beautiful modern and chic Air BnB. The kind of place where everything is white and there is no clutter. We imagined waking up in our flat and heading out into the city for early morning cappuccinos, just like the locals.
Unfortunately, as our flight was about to depart, a huge summer storm blew through the area. We were delayed by a few hours. My friend sent an email to our host and we hoped for the best. We missed our connecting flight but we were able to get another one quickly. We did not hear back from our host but felt sure that everything was still going positively in our direction.
We flew into Bologna and had planned to catch the fast train to Venice. It was an easy trip from the airport to the main train station and we bought our tickets quickly. We were making good time we didn't panic, we would be in Venice in an hour and a half.
Sometimes when you are in a foreign country or in a situation where you are not totally confidant you listen to other people when you should be listening to your own intuition. This is what happened to us. Our tickets clearly said "Binario 3" and our train would be departing soon. We had our suitcases and we ran to the platform. There was a well meaning person at the platform who saw two female tourists and thought he would help. He insisted we were on the wrong platform, the one we wanted was just across the way and we should hurry over there. My friend and I were jet lagged and discussed what we should do. He was helping us we thought... We should listen to him right? Reluctantly and questioning ourselves we rushed over to the other platform only to see "our" train from across the trench of an empty track coming and going on the platform we just left. Delayed and mad at ourselves we could only wait for the next train. We never saw that well meaning "helper" again. We left more messages for our host. Can you see where this going?
We finally made it to Venice. It was somewhere around 11:00. Even though it was totally dark it was still beautiful. We took a water taxi to our stop and made our way to our Air BnB. If you have ever been to Venice (anytime of the year) you know that it is packed with people. Some streets are so full you can barely make it through at any pace other than a crawl. But around midnight, it is totally deserted. Freakishly deserted. Not a soul in sight. They literally roll up the sidewalks. As my friend and I rushed, two big suitcases a piece, from the water taxi to the apartment we saw no one.
I remember it clearly because It was a new experience and I was totally focused on the moment. There was a full moon. There was no other light. We were racing single file down a narrow alley. I remember thinking seriously to myself: "IF VAMPIRES DO EXIST THIS IS WHERE THEY LIVE AND WE ARE GOING TO DIE. "
We made it to the correct little plaza and began buzzing the door. No answer. Our host was still not answering our calls or returning texts. I think a neighbor finally told us no one was home. With no other choice we gave into the idea that we missed our chance at the apartment and had better find another place to spend the night - quick.
We wandered around for what seemed like an eternity not seeing a hotel or anything else that was open. I am not sure how but we finally stumbled upon a hotel that did not have a vacancy but helped us get a room at another hotel. We were given a confusing set of directions and sent on our way, back out into the dark.
Venice is a city full of charming canals. Each of those charming canals has a footbridge over it. Can you imagine lugging two-weeks worth of clothes and art supplies up down each of those footbridges? I don't know how my suitcase wheels didn't pop off as they went over those bridges and cobble stone streets. It was a miracle and at that point in the night, I was thankful for any miracle big or small.
When we finally found a hotel that could take us it was after 1:30 in the morning. We had been traveling for about 30 hours straight and we were delirious. It was the middle of July, Venice was booked. We were lucky to get a room at that hour for a night, we would worry about tomorrow night's room- tomorrow. We got into our room and fell into bed. Small miracle: it began to pour rain - we just missed it. I think we both had nightmares that night about being huddled under a footbridge bridge with our luggage and a few hundred pigeons.
The light of the next day made everything better. We found another room. We discovered we were'nt alone, Venice was brimming with people. We couldn't believe we evaded the vampires and found a hotel. We congratulated ourselves for walking around all those labyrinthine streets dragging our bags in the dark.
Sometimes, when you are right in the middle of it, a situation really sucks. There are also times a situation sucks but you can recognize that when it's all said and done the experience will give you more confidence. And maybe most importantly, you know it's going to make a pretty cool story in the end.
Do you love Venice too? I just added some new Venice oil paintings to my ETSY page, check it out here.