Posted by: jeanne | February 6, 2015

okay, the water’s really high today

the acqua alta sirens have gone off twice a day this last week.  hours before high tide.  and the wind is whipping around out there as a low passes us, swirling intensely.

i had to go back out for the key this morning.  they gave me a copy that didn’t work, and i got to rehearse the italian before going into the store – questa chiave che hai fatto ieri non funziona.  so he corrected it, and now it works.  yay.

i only needed to go to the san zaccaria bus stop in order to make my way to campo santa maria formosa where the hardware store is.  and the moment i got off the bus, the ramp descended into the water, and so everybody, boots on or not, had to walk thru the water to get to the boards, because there was no dry land anywhere in sight.

the ‘water on the venice floor’ app showed water water everywhere, and for sure that was the case.  i was so glad i’d decided to put on my boots this morning.  i had debated with myself before leaving, because high tide was still hours off when i started leaving.

but i put on a pair of socks, a pair of plastic bags, and another pair of socks, then my boots.  and was so happy that i did as i strode thru the water that other tourists had to slosh thru in their sodden sneakers.  i was walking thru the water at speed, happy that i was smarter than the average tourist.  and then i passed an old man who was bent double, holding two plastic bags around his legs at the knee.  as i passed, he fussed at me – ‘piu piano, per favore’ – and i slowed way down so i wouldn’t splash others.  not so smart.

especially once i hit actual high water, up to my calves.  the water leaked thru the zipper on my rain boots (never again:  zippers can’t possibly be watertight), and that was okay, because i had plastic bags on.  water in your boots warms up fast, and squishes, and it was impossible to tell if my feet were in water, or just surrounded by water.  i had no choice but to go on, anyway.  along the way i noticed that the water does indeed come flooding up from the drains, so even where there’s no canal, there are flooded streets, and most of them were flooded their entire length.


except this cute little courtyard, with a well head in it that might be just put there, instead of belonging there originally.  how would i know?

once i had my key, i backtracked thru the water to a cafe i saw that advertised fritelle con crema, and tramped thru the water to the front door.  my italian is adequate to order un caffe latte con grappa, e una fritella con crema’, which probably isn’t grammatic, but the only eye raised was when i asked him to put the grappa in the caffe latte.  venetians don’t drink caffe latte, they get theirs straight and thick, and the grappa only dilutes it a little.  but he didn’t say anything about it.


so i was standing there enjoying the wonderfull fritella and my coffee, when a couple of tourists walked in for basically the same thing.  the barman noticed right away that they weren’t italian, and asked where they were from, then spoke to them in french, which i understand as well as i do italian (un po’, un peux).  i felt pretty smug until he made a comment to me that i totally failed to respond to…


the water outside the cafe was as high as i’ve seen it in the streets, and when i pulled up the app, it showed about half the streets flooded, which wasn’t the case yesterday when the water was supposed to be so high.  i guess meteorologists get it wrong all over the world…


so i made my way back to the vaporetto stop, thru very high water, along a fundamente that was my only route back.  and looked at my flooding app to see that via garibaldi was under water, so i got out at the giardini stop and backtracked.  yes, it was flooded, but only at the edges, which meant that i had to cross the water to go to the store.  still not a biggie, because i had boots on.


it’s only when i got home that i discovered that the bags had worked their way down to my ankles, and therefore both outer and inner socks were wet, and so were my feet, and my leggings.  oh well.  i washed everything carefully (the water had a rather unpleasant smell out on the streets), and dried out the boots as best i could.  they’re resting near the radiator now.

one of the other problems with the high wind is that it blows the gas fumes back down the flue, and so my kitchen has a strong smell of gas in it.  after opening windows and turning off the heater, i called our landlord, who sent out a guy to tell me the wind was pushing the gas back, but there was nothing wrong.  and after that, he’s sending out another guy later, to make sure that everything’s okay.  what a great landlord we have.


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