Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Venice: It Would Have Been Worth It

As I'm sitting here, the church bells are ringing from the bell tower next door. Occasionally, we hear the purring of a motor boat wending its way down the canal outside our door. We've just made a cup of Starbucks instant coffee to get us going until we go out for a pastry and real coffee later this morning.

After a long day of travel, which actually wasn't too bad, we arrived in Venice yesterday afternoon. Ten-hour flight from Salt Lake City to Paris, two-hour layover, 90-minute flight to Venice, collect luggage, walk 8-10 minutes to water bus dock, 30-minute ride over the lagoon to our stop, 4-minute walk to our apartment in the Canareggio section of Venice. Everything went beautifully ...

The 500+ year-old church of Madonna dell'Orto right next to our apartment. The wall encloses our garden. The bell tower is visible behind the church.

Across from the entrance to our apartment

... until we arrived and the property manager wasn't there to meet us. We knocked on the door to the building in which there are three apartments. After a couple of minutes, a 60-something woman, who turned out to be English, opened the door. She and her friend, from Oxford, England, had been sitting on the steps leading to their upstairs apartment, waiting on someone to show them how to get in. They had a key; they just couldn't figure out how to work it. They asked if we could give it a try. After playing with it for a minute, the door opened. They were so grateful and offered for us to sit inside the vestibule as we waited for someone to bring us a key to our place. Later, one of them came down and brought us glasses of wine while we waited. Nice.

After waiting an hour, an effusively apologetic young woman, Georgia, arrived, saying she had gotten delayed at another check-in across the city. She showed us around the place, we signed some forms, and thirty minutes later, having completed our business with her, we sat down to have a well-earned gin and tonic (thanks to the duty-free store at the Salt Lake airport).

An hour later, we set out for dinner. We love where we are staying because it is far away from the thousands of tourists who throng the area near the Piazza San Marco. We are in a real neighborhood with real Venetians. As we walked to the restaurant on the Fondamenta della Misericordia, we passed through a small square where music was playing and neighbors were chatting, laundry hanging outside windows, children playing.

We arrived at the restaurant as the sun was setting. The light was magnificent. It was magical and became even more so as the twilight arrived. A waiter brought us our first bottle of prosecco in Italy.

I know I've already said that the evening was magical, but I'm going to repeat myself. It was truly, wonderfully, magical. The Prosecco, the food, the atmosphere - boats gently sliding up and down the canal right next to us, itinerant musicians playing in the background, neighbors chatting in Italian, my lover across the table from me ...

A mother and daughter at the table next to us, chatting with one of the restaurant employees

As we walked back to our place after dinner, I told Mark that, if we were to go home the next day, I would have felt that the trip had been worth it. It truly was a magical evening.


Postscript 2.28.17 - There were numerous times during the years Mark and I were together, on the trips we were privileged to take - such as this one that began in Venice and went on to many other magical places -  that I found myself writing these same words: "it would have been worth it if this was all there was and we went home tomorrow." As I pondered these words and the life that Mark and I had together, they seem so appropriate to our experience. For if our 4-1/2 years were ... the equivalent of only one evening, it was so worth it. It was ... magical. 


  1. How beautiful. I'm glad the lady showed up with your apartment key. Thanks for sharing your experiences and photos. Someday I'll go back. Maybe even with a boyfriend.