Last March/April, my mom, her 2 sisters, my sister and myself took a trip to Italy. Below is a description of one of our adventures. The first is my story and the second, my sister’s point of view. It’s interesting how 2 people can view the same situation differently.
And we arrived in Venice. It was slightly late as there was a flight delay from Rome, our prior destination. We finally figured out how to get tickets from the machine for the water taxi and boarded the boat. We were staying at 2 different hotels, as finding 2 rooms, one for 3 people and one for 2, were not easy to come by. The 3 ladies were very central and right off a main stop on the canal. Shaz (my sis) and I dropped them off, made sure they were settled, and then asked the hotel concierge directions to ours. It was only 10 minutes away, he said, but since it was further down on the canal and the path leading to it didn’t exist, we had to walk into squares and take a few lefts and rights until we found it. Both Shaz and I know we aren’t that great with map reading, but as long as we stayed on the side of the water, we’d be fine.
It was somewhat misty out and late, about 1130pm. The place was deserted and there were a few lights that helped us see the street signs. We saw a small bakery and a woman inside, laying out some delicious looking croissants. She was kind enough to let us buy 2, even though she wasn’t open, and passed our goodies to us through the grill. So we continue and I say to Shaz, ‘let’s walk on the path until it ends, then we can hang a left and continue through the squares.’ So we walk swiftly with croissant in one hand and suitcase being pulled by the other. All of a sudden, we see a man, clearly drunk, dragging one leg as he walked. He was walking fast behind us, and so we picked up speed. Shaz at this point was feeling uneasy and I told her to relax, it was fine. We continued to walk and then without any warning, the path at the edge of the canal ended. There was no left turn to make! There was nowhere to go. We heard the man and his draggy leg getting closer to us. Panic set into Shaz. The plan was to turn around, since we had nowhere to go, wait for him to approach us and then we run on either side of him, hoping he gets confused. And so we waited in anticipation. Shaz might’ve dropped her croissant at this point, but I had time for a couple of bites. And as he approached the dead end, we ran as planned. And we ran and ran, not knowing in which direction we were going. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants. And then a rat ran in front of me and I screamed, and probably scared Shaz. And then we ended up in one of the squares. We tried to read the map but it didn’t make sense. We went up some stairs, and down others. We turned left and right and crossed bridges and window shopped. We saw a young fellow and asked him for help but he said he wasn’t from there and so we continued to be lost. I rang the bell of a hotel, since at a certain time, the doors are locked. But no one came to our rescue. We were alone and it was late and an eerie feeling over came us. It was like being in a scary movie.
We ran into the young chap again a short while later and he asked us what place we were looking for. I was suspicious as he had told us during our first run in that he wasn’t from here. So I stayed a few feet back from him, and Shaz decided to engage in conversation with the guy. So he continues to tell us how he’s lost. I can smell the alcohol on him. So now, my younger sister, the kind person that she is, asks him where he needed to go. She explains to him where the water is and provided assistance to him. He continued to ask questions and I was not impressed at this point. He seemed shady to me and for crying out loud, we needed to find our hotel, as 45 minutes had passed. And so I had to say ‘Shaz, this is about us and we are lost and we have to go now’. And so we walked away from situation and 10 minutes later, found ourself at the same square again!
As we continued with our journey, 3 really big guys were walking towards us. Now, this made me panic for the first time. Oddly enough, Shaz seemed fine by it. I curled my fingers into a fist, and stared at their faces. I’m not sure what I was going to do, but thankfully a man, out of nowhere intercepted and paced back and forth, on his phone. The 3 guys just looked at us and carried on walking. We didn’t stop the man on the phone to ask him to help because he seemed very engaged in his conversation. It was a frustrating moment and I thought that maybe we should turn around and go back to the 3 ladies’ hotel and just sleep there for the night. But again, how would we get there when we didn’t know where we were?! There were so many small streets and dead ends, that it made Venice seem like a complicated maze. Over an hour had passed and se continued to get lost. We made a turn and ended up back on the canal. I saw a hotel and told Shaz I was going to buzz and ask them for help. Was I ever glad when I read the hotel sign and realized it was where we were staying! A 10 minute trip, took us an hour and a half! The next morning we made it to the ladies’ hotel in 8 minutes. We were pros, or so we thought. That evening, it took us an hour again when heading back to our hotel! And this pattern continued for the 4 days. We have no clue why we were able to find our way in the morning, but continued to get lost each evening. how bizarre.
It was 1:00 am when we finally left the Aunts and Mom in their hotel room. We dragged our luggage down the stairs and made our way to the concierge to ask him for directions to our hotel. The kind man at the desk gave us a small map and highlighted our seven minute route. There was no way it should take longer than seven minutes according to him. With our luggage clickety clacking behind us, we made our way onto the boardwalk. Near by, a bakery had begun their early morning baking of delicious croissants and delectable sweets. Shez and I were able to knock on the gates and get two chocolate croissants…yummy! With the croissant in one hand and my luggage wheels clicking against the cobble stone boardwalk, we were on our way to our hotel.
As we walked, talked and ate our croissants, I couldn’t help but soak in the smell of the water splashing against the walls of the canal and the beautiful stars floating above us. As I was lulled into this fantasy world, I started to hear a thud…drag…thud…drag. What could that possibly be, I ask myself. So I turn around. And that’s when I see him…hunched over, dragging his left leg, eyes locked on us. Shez! I say. We need to get out of here. This guy is going to do something to us!!
As I turn around and look ahead, I see we are approaching a dead end. To the right of me is the canal and to the left are little alley ways where we can make good our escape! But Shez, being the eldest and the wisest, says lets keep going, he’s just drunk. Just drunk? Just drunk? His leg is dragging because he’s hiding a sawed off shotgun and he’s planning on robbing us of our luggage! All I could think about was what was in my luggage that I could take out to use as a weapon…tweezers? Hairspray? My roll brush? Wtf!! It’s just Shez, myself and this dude. He could chop us into pieces, shove us in our own luggage (mine was locked by the way so good luck to him 😉 and throw us in the water and no one would be the wiser! We finally reach the end of the boardwalk and he’s right behind us. He decided to follow us to the end! I looked at Shez and said I’m outta here! With my luggage in one hand the chocolate croissant falling out of the other (awesome) I bolt around one side and she runs around the other. With my 50lb bag flying behind me we start running down the alley. Zig zagging through any open street we can find, climbing up stairs and running across bridges on my to climb down stairs. The weight of my bag is taking a toll on me, but I know I have to run!
We finally take shelter between the crevice of two buildings so we can catch our breathe. The wheels of my luggage are worn… I’m surprised they are still attached. As we slowly begin to catch our breathe, Shez says, see I told you he was just drunk and wasn’t following us…and then…I hear it again…thud…drag…thud…drag! The drunken bastard is following us!! We start running again! Up and down alley ways not knowing which direction we are headed or where we are. The streets are empty. The bistros are closed. Not a soul is stirring. We decide to stop to figure out where are. Luckily I still had the map in hand. As we try to position ourselves and the map to face north, we begin to walk down the alley looking for a street sign. With our luck the sign we see isn’t on our map. By this time it’s 2 maybe 3 am and I’m exhausted and just want to crawl into bed. We find ourselves walking and walking, taking a left turn here and a right turn there…only to pass the same building for the third time.
Out of the blue, a curly headed boy comes out from one of the side streets and asks us for help as he is lost. I show him our map and we try to figure out where we are. It’s at this point that Shez decides to pipe up and says we have to leave. I felt so bad because he was lost and didn’t have a map like we did. Shez says, of all the people that you should be scared of, it should be him! But he was lost I said. That was enough of that conversation. So we keep on walking trying to figure out where we are, but no luck. At one point, Shez says, lets just go back to moms hotel and sleep there for the night…and how, pre tell, are we going to get there?!? We have no clue where we are. Tired and miserable, we keep on walking. Our luggage clinking behind us. We see a building with a light on and excuse to ring the doorbell. I stood there, in anticipation, hoping someone would answer the bloody door! But not a soul in sight. So…we keep walking. As we turn the corner and walk down another alley, three men, alcoholic beverages in hand, come out from another. They start to walk towards us. At this point, I can’t even think about what I could take out of my luggage to help us. Then I hear Shez say…we’re dead. Awesome. If she says we’re dead…we are definitely dead. As they keep walking towards us, getting closer and closer, all I think about it is how I’m going to punch them all in the balls. And that’s when it happens…a security guard with a gun belt walks out from another side street, steps in between us…he’s on the phone. Phew. The three men turn and walk the other way. We need to get to our hotel. Before we can ask the security guard for help he’s on his way chatting on his phone. We turn down another side street and see light pouring through a door. We decide to walk towards it hoping someone will be there. The doors open. It’s our bloody hotel. It’s 3am.