The obnoxiously loud– not-to-be-ignored-but-totally not-to-be-understood– alarm sounded in the dark early morning hours yesterday bringing us out of a deep sleep into a most confused state.
It sounded again at 6 a.m. today, but today we were expecting it.
(Literally translated: pig’s misery. Slang: anything from “What a shame!” to “Oh, shit!”)
This time we counted the blasts and sound levels just like the residents; today we knew it was announcing: acqua alta, high water or in English, flooding. The number of blasts and levels tell you how bad it will be.
Those picturesque canals in tourist brochures turn ugly and flood between late October and February each year we’ve learned. Sometimes as often as once a week – we get a double dose this weekend.
To show you what I am talking about, this is the view of the Zattere, the morning we arrived. I took this from a corner cafe where we sat at a sidewalk table sipping coffee:
This is a photo below shows where our table was on Tuesday and the narrow elevated walkways that accommodate two-way pedestrian traffic to and from the water taxis in this case (those able to operate, that is, during the high water):
And this is the view from my corner cafe spot yesterday (taken from the elevated walkway):
(Sorry it’s blurred, I was being jostled by people bouncing the walkway as they eased past me – you are not to stop and take photos, but I wasn’t the only tourist doing so!)
The most popular tourist item yesterday were the stands that materialized it seemed from nowhere selling 40+euro rubber boots:
So we are now debating packing up and leaving as soon as the water recedes today – should it happen again tomorrow we may not make it to the airport for our mid-morning flight.
The Scout has found us a couple of options: either heading to Treviso, a town on higher ground or the Marriott at the airport (not as charming as the Zattere, but on high ground).
We were assured by the cafe owner last night that we wouldn’t have a problem with acqua alta on Monday because the borsa would be here: that’s the North wind from Siberia. And from the way the leaves are swirling outside the window, I think it arrived early.