Sunday, October 28, 2012

Venice: Acqua Alta: Water, Water Everywhere

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.

Porca Miseria!
(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:

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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):

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And this is the view from my corner cafe spot yesterday (taken from the elevated walkway):

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(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:

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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.

Porca Miseria!

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.

Porca Miseria!

11 comments:

  1. I vote for hanging in there! Sometimes the most memorable experiences come from adventures...
    Bisous!
    H

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    1. You were right on target. We stuck out the wet weekend and had a gorgeous Monday - with blue sky - for our departure to Amsterdam where it was pouring rain.

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  2. I would stay and drink it all in - excuse the pun! Great post and great photos - wow all happens SO fast. At least they are prepared for flooding unlike poor NY in the next couple of days. Stay dry F x

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    Replies
    1. Francesca, We did stay in drink it all in (a little vino makes high water quite alright). Seriously, the locals take it all in stride - perhaps I should have said slosh, so when in Rome. . .And you were right about poor NY - wow - what a shock to finally see US news today and see the destruction!

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  3. WOW Jackie, just before I saw your photo with the rubber boots I was going to ask if you had your hip waders with you! Be safe and have fun. Venice is still beautiful even with all that water.

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    1. It really was - in retrospect - interesting to see how nasty those picture perfect canals can be and how well the locals have adapted to a life punctuated with high water and sirens for a good portion of the year!

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    2. I see you stayed. I would have done. What an adventure and the rubber boots there for the taking. No porca miseria at all. Wonderful post.

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  4. Now that's quite a difference in water levels!! Wow. I'd be airing on the side of caution too and heading for higher ground. What a bummer about the weather. I hadn't appreciated how much Venice could flood during the fall and winter and a Siberian wind sounds miserable.

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  5. Yeah, the situation is really complicated now in Venice. I hope everything will get to normal soon.

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    1. Thanks for letting the readers know how the situation is there now. We hope the reports of yesterday's higher water are now history for you. Keep us posted. Next time we will make it to Treviso!

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  6. What an experience, Jackie and Joel! Your report of it, however, will surely serve as a warning to those planning a visit. All the best...

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