For those of you who might have been holding your collective breath, waiting to see if our valuables had survived their three day sleep away in the trunk of our car on the roof level of the Garage San Marco, you can exhale. When we arrived at the eighth floor penthouse parking spot, our car was in good spirits, apparently unruffled by ruffian hands. We inserted the special valet-proof trunk key, heard a slight click and pressed the electronic latch, and as the hood lid swooped open heard an angelic chorus, as the ten bottles of grappa, four cases of wine, presents for the kids and suitcases of dirty laundry were bathed in a celestial light. Or perhaps the weather was just breaking.
In fact, it was not breaking. The eighth floor of the Garage San Marco affords one an incredible view of la Serenissima, but it in not the place to be in a gale. At our altitude the wind was a full 100 knots stonger than at ground level and the car was angled perfectly so that when the doors were opened they caught the wind like an Americas Cup yacht, not only snapping the doors violently forward and risking breaking the hinges, but nearly lifting the car into the air (see Bernouli effect).
Having survived this typhoon, we moved on to the dangerous portion of our journey, taking the spiral ramp from the eighth floor to the ground floor exit. As we described several days ago, this cement block ramp is actually narrower than the car itself, but because the car is in a perpetual state of making a left hand turn, it is perpetually hanging over the left curb (in the front) and the right curb (in the rear). The only thing worse than going up this full employment act for autobody employees is going down it, as the hood and the cute Mercedes hood ornament, which oddly looks like a peace symbol) obscure any view of the roadway, which is falling away from you at a perilous slope.
But we made it, with all paint and side panels intact. A few minutes later we were on the causeway that leads from the islands that make up Venice to the mainland, pulling into a gas station to fill 'er up for our two and a half hour journey when I managed to run over a foot and a half diameter cement block, which was supposed to be holding up a lane closure sign but which had been blown over by the hurricane, the concrete disk devouring the paint on the underside of the front bumper that had so narrowly escaped the same fate just moments earlier. Well, it was bound to happen at some point. Especially here in Italy where automotive paint is a completely useless extra, like an appendix.
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|Ooh! I love lamb!|
The portion of our trip that started with our departure from Venice (and by that I don't mean the portion in a slightly dented new automobile) marks us crossing from northern Italy to central Italy. But it also marks a stylistic shift - one from a pretty tightly organized and planned two weeks to a more loosey-goosey, get up and go every day part of the trip. For the next week, as we travel down the coast of Emilia Romagna through Le Marche and into Abruzzo, we don't have hotel reservations, much of an itinerary (other than a few visits with some friends and suppliers along the way) or much knowledge of what lies ahead. It's like travelling in the old days!
|Detail from above|
|Night and day, you are the one.|
Only you beneath the moon
or under the sun.
I like that story. I may not know much about history, but after spending a few hours taking in the mosaics of Ravenna I do know what a wonderful world this can be.
Apologies to Sam Cooke.
Bill and Suzy