Thursday, March 28, 2013


Restless nights breed restless days. Or at least days prone to hiccups. Of course, good travel doesn't require being prepared for all exigencies. You keep things fluid and open just a little. You don't pack ten photocopies of your passport or two credit cards just in case. There are too many "just in cases."

Breakfast in Gargnano. Lovely today because at least initially, the lake is very very still and that kind of a mood spills over into the dining room that hangs right over the water.

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After breakfast I want to do things right: last year, when I was checking out, Valerio had trouble printing a receipt of payment. I had to hurry. Things got hectic. So this year I am going to take care of everything well in advance. Forty-five minutes in advance. Just in case.

Valerio runs my credit card. No, sorry -- it's rejected. He tries again. Nope. He runs Diane's card for her bill. That one works.

I take my card and run up the three flights of stairs to my room. I'm on the phone with the company again. Why are you blocking payment?? I ask as if this is their fault, as if their precautions are over the top absurd.
There have been charges…
Yes, yes, I cleared that already! I'm in Italy! Please unblock the card!

Not only won't they unblock it, but they tell me that they have to change cards on me. Someone hacked the number. I'm getting bills for underwear from Victoria's Secret and money wired to a prison in Alabama.

Really, people? You steal card numbers for underwear from Victoria's Secret? Whatever happened to aiming high -- going after TV sets and stereo equipment?

The card company will allow me to clear this one purchase (the hotel bill) before it shuts down the account. Provided that I stay on the line with them while they process the transaction. The transaction is downstairs, I am upstairs. I run down, I run up. This was supposed to be the more mellow departure!

The trip is winding down. Two nights here, one night there, one final night elsewhere and I'll be home. Suddenly, the ATM will be my friend.

Such a fond good bye to Valerio and his staff. Next year. Not on spring break anymore, but somehow I will try to pass through here, if only to challenge myself on the summit again.

You were my friend this year, Cima Comer. Be there for me again next year.

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The grand peak hides, pretending not to hear.

We are at the bus stop. I note to Diane that we have some flexibility: the bus can be twenty minutes late and we'll still make our train. But twenty minutes pass and there is no bus. Don't tell me -- is it me again? Is it?? Surely I rechecked the timetable with my new knowledge of secret symbols! Surely I know the codes: fer means working days, fest means holidays.

No. I did not recheck the schedule. My mind was not on schedules at all these last days, because if it was, I would have seen that there is no bus now. Not to Descenzano from where we were to take a train to Venice.

So we take another bus. To Brescia. Where we can catch a later train to Venice. And if you think you can exchange your missed train tickets in Italy -- think again.

But of course, there is, ultimately, at the end of it all, Venice. Oh, that troubled and beautiful place! You are moody today! So am I, my dear, so am I...

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It's raining. You can try to hide from it, but ultimately, if you're out, you're going to get wet.

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I had great ideas about dinner, about long rambles, but great ideas are never firm ideas and so as we approach the ever homey, ever reliably there Al Campanile Pizzeria, we stop to eat.

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The proprietor thought we needed to smile more

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mine was with mixed sea food

Outside again. It's cold, dark, wet. Diane is ready to retire to the B&B for the night. Me, I can't just yet. I've spent many a cold, dark, wet, March night in this city -- I expect no better, I find her beautiful anyway. And so I keep at it.

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view from Accademia Bridge, made special by the night rains

And at last, there is San Marco, nearly empty, except for those who must pass through and those, like me, who just cannot stay away.

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And here I turn back. It's a long walk back. I cut through to the Rialto Bridge...

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...and from there, easily find my way to the Ca San Giorgio B&B. With a stop for cookies.

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Comfort food. To munch on during those endless phone calls that must be made, emails that must be written. Not too sweet, not too overpowering. Venetian cookies for a cold Venetian night.