Running in Venice

Out the door, down the cobbled street to the left a few feet, under the archway and am in St. Marco’s Piazza.   The weather is perfect at barely 70.  In honor of being in Italy,  Ipod is filled with songs from…why Madonna of course.  Starts off with Lucky Star.  Am getting in the Venetian spirit.

It is early and the tourists are not out yet.   Men slog by under the weight of top heavy laden hand carts.  Moving merchandise involves a lot of muscles.  I want to look up but am running on cobbles.  Granted they are nice smooth and fairly large cobbles.  Unlike the small uneven ones that I almost killed myself on when running in Paris.  But still, don’t feel like taking a tumble so have to look at the ground a lot.

Turn left when reach the water and run past the deserted water taxi and bus stands.  Then up – then down I go.  Over and over.  Little bridges over all the canals making their way out to the bay.  None of them have ramps.  It is not a wheelchair friendly environment.  I don’t see how it can be.  The pedestrian bridges are short with high arches.  Want to look out at the water or up at the buildings.  But also don’t want to hit my toe and go down and hit mouth and knock out tooth and have to find a dentist in Venice.   Or worse.

I grew up on a steep hill in North Seattle.  It was paved with rocky gravel that was meshed together with not quite asphalt but not quite concrete.  We caught the school bus at the very bottom.  I wasn’t always on time and if I missed the bus, things did not go well.  Either had to walk back up the hill and hope for a ride.  Or had to walk back up the hill and go further up and over it to walk to school (and be late).

More often than not, in order not to miss the bus, I had to make a run for it.  Including in the rain or after the rain or during the drizzle or mist or whatever slippery stuff was coming out of the sky or had just come out of it.  I could run so fast down that hill, it seemed like I was a comic book hero.  My legs were like those of a horse as I cantered down that hill, sometimes neighing with my sister (who was horse crazy).  And then whooshbombooosh!  I would tumble and always.  Let me repeat – always.  I would land on one or both of my knees and scrape them in a horribly gross way.

I would somehow manage to survive the bloody mess at school.  But when my parents were advised, my mother felt it was always necessary to pick all the pseudo asphalt/concrete pebbles of gravel out of my knee(s).  In addition, they (for who knows whatever reason) needed to be soaked in stinging Epsom Salt.  I have no idea why to do this day.  But do not ever show me an Epsom Salt or I will probably throw a fit.  And then of course for the next week I would pick off the scabs in direct contravention of my mother’s orders.  Even knowing I was creating ugly permanent disfiguring scarring that I would always regret, I just couldn’t stop myself.

Did all of this falling, cleaning, pain and picking cause me to stop running down that hill full speed – uh no.  But there’s probably a connection that explains why am haunted by all of these falling fantasies.

Keep going along the waterfront and beautiful crumbly old buildings past a small park until the boardwalk ends.  Loop around a housing development back to the boardwalk head back.  But time is not yet up so decide to run through the little streets more or less by the hotel. Or at least think near the hotel.

Go by a man hosing down the wall in front of his shop.  There are a few tourists out now dragging their suit cases along or bumping them up and down the staircases.  Some of the trinket shops have opened.  It is barely 8 am and they are ready to make a sale.  A large group of Japanese girls are lined up blocking the way – posing for a picture.

Don’t get lost due to signs pointing the way back to St. Marco’s.  Go to the corner with the red Museo sign which hangs above the archway that leads back home.