Monday – our third and final morning in Venice. We’d had the best long weekend since we three girls were in New York together. We had packed and tidied up our rented apartment, put our two sets of keys on the table and left before the appointed time. Looking for breakfast and dragging our wheeled luggage behind us, we checked out the cafes in Mark’s Square, without much hope I have to say.
Sure enough, €10 for an orange juice seemed a bit too much for us. Changing £20 for a meagre €17 was a good idea though. The helpful Italian behind the counter of the currency exchange told us where we could exchange that for a good breakfast by walking behind the square for a few minutes. Soon we were tucking into wholemeal croissants with cheese and ham washed down by delicious café latte, while admiring the little white dog that was accompanying its family at the next table.
Brekkers over, we headed back past the famous square to the jetty where we were to meet our water taxi for the airport. (We’d got a €10 discount on that by booking it through the company we had rented our apartment from). We were half an hour early so we leant on the boardwalk railings and watched the world go by. This jetty was located at the entrance to the Grand Canal from the lagoon of Venice. In the distance we could see the church of San Giorgio Maggiore on the nearest island in the lagoon. Beyond the parked gondolas the sunlight glinted on the tops of the gently rolling wavelets on the water, perfecting the picture.
On the other side of our jetty we could see people at work. The boat moored there was full of cardboard boxes and smaller parcels being unloaded onto trailers that would be pulled or pushed around the narrow streets of vehicle free Venice. The boat had the DHL logo on the side.
Several water taxis sped past, plus a couple of the water buses they call vaporetti. Then we heard music drifting towards us from higher up the canal. Looking in that direction, we saw three gondolas coming towards us side by side. Each contained a party of oriental tourists, as well as the gondolier in his navy and white jumper, of course. On one of them sat an accordionist accompanying a really good baritone. So we were treated to this harmonious serenade as well as the trippers on board. As they passed us another similar group came up behind, and then another. As each song ended, the audience politely clapped to applaud the bowing singer.
One of the songs repeated over and over, “Ciao Venezia”, which now runs through my head. This can apparently mean either hello or goodbye Venice, but I prefer to think for us it should be arriverderci Venice - meaning: until we meet again.