The Scintilla Project Day 9: Talk about where you were going the day you got lost. Were you alone? Did you ever get to where you meant to go?
Huge cathedrals and museums, ancient statues, priceless art and architecture...it was all beginning to blur by the time we entered Piazza San Marco in Venice that hot July day in 1976. I mean, once you've seen one soaring, gothic, thousand-year-old historic tower, you've seen them all.
At least that's the way it feels when you're seventeen, on a grueling, tight-budgeted, whirlwind, month-long tour of five European countries. And it's over 90 degrees. And no one has heard of air-conditioning. Or ice.
So as the rest of our group moved into the entrance of St. Mark's Basilica, the three of us slowed down, dropped to the back of the herd, then dashed into a crowd moving away from the Basilica, deeper into the square. Our quest was simple: to find a place to sit down and relax for just a little while. To catch our breath and rest our feet. And being teenage girls, to eat.
We found much more than that when we wandered into a quaint restaurant tucked into the bottom of an old hotel just off the square. Not only did the Cokes we ordered appear with a slice of lime (delicious!), but there were actual ice cubes clinking around in the glasses! The only ice cubes we saw during that entire month of a record-breaking European heat-wave.
Thus refreshed, we spent the next few hours wandering through the narrow streets, dipping into one shop after another, until we knew it was time for our group's tour to end. It wasn't hard to find our way back. We just approached strangers and asked "Piazza San Marco?", pointing to our map, and they helped us along our way.
Being lost was never so lovely.
Oh, if only I'd had a digital camera back then. These are the only three photos I have from Venice.
That's Laura, Donna, and me in the one above, standing in Piazza San Marco, perhaps plotting our escape.
Or in the middle of it!
This is the amazing mechanical clock tower facing Piazza San Marco, dating from the 1400's.
Here I am fresh from a swim in the Adriatic Sea, standing on a bridge crossing over one of the Venetian canals.
Trust me, it's there even though you can't see it because of all the bodies in the way.
It's the closest I've come to a riding in a gondola.