One last out-of-order post from Italy and then back on track:
I scheduled my journey home from the villa via Venice, a city that always impresses my love for color and history, no matter how overrun or dirty or filled with tourists it may be. In my heart, there may always be a soft spot for Venice, no matter how much Italy hates me.
After getting lost on the approach and finding myself an hour late for a dinner date with Karen and her mother, who just happened to be visiting Venice at the same time, I found the garage, eventually my hotel, and then in desperation used the hotel phone to call a US number to tell Karen I was late. We agreed to meet in 45 minutes at the train station ferry stop and then get dinner.
I paced and paced and paced, no Karen, no friendly faces, the sun setting, my heart sinking, tears welling, defeat overwhelming. After about an hour and a half, I waited in line at the tourist information to try and find another phone (because I couldn’t even find my hotel again when I tried to walk back to it) when I heard her voice calling me.
If I had ever wanted a friendly face and a mother to grab my hand and not let it go, it was then and there, with Karen and her mother. With only hours left in my journey, I never wanted to let them go and savored every second in their company. Every second, and every moment of calm that holding a friendly hand does to the soul.
I could have spent all night taking photos on edges of streets that fell to the water, but we had a late dinner and lots of catching up on our minds, and the night edged near morning with haste.
And so I’ll try to remember my last night in Italy for the beautiful drama of the canals and the feeling of warmth Karen and her mother, and not at all for the fight I had with Swiss Air in the morning when they wouldn’t let me take my camera gear on the plane unless I bought another flight to San Francisco. *
*I also made a vow to never leave the country without a phone that works overseas. Shamelessly addicted to my iphone I will always be in awe of how people arranged meeting places in foreign countries before modern technology.