A Fire in the Hotel, a Gondola Ride, Dinner on Jen

Trip Start Aug 14, 1992
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Trip End Aug 26, 1992


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Where I stayed
Panada Hotel

Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Monday, August 24, 1992

The intent for this day was to finally sleep late, and then spend the day in the Piazza San Marco just taking it easy, seeing the sights around there, a nice, slow leisurely day. However, we were woken at 9:30 AM by the hotel manager telling us that there was a fire in the hotel and we had to evacuate immediately !! Wendy and I dressed quickly and tried to rouse Jen who was sleeping soundly. When she finally awoke, with great effort, she insisted on brushing her teeth, fixing her hair, and getting dressed to which I responded, Jen you have 20 seconds, and then we are ALL leaving this room. Not without great effort did I eventually lift her off the floor and carried her out the door. Down the stairs we ran, with me musing, how they get fire trucks into a town which cannot have vehicles, and since we were not on a canal, not even a boat. We found ourselves in the lobby with the rest of the guests, and the staff bringing fire extinguisher after fire extinguisher to an alley way. After a short time we were told the fire was in the trash can outside the kitchen in an alley way, and now it was all over. I declare here and now truthfully, honestly, there were 50 or more fire extinguishers piled up in the lobby, answering the question, how do they extinguish fires in Venice. One bit of serendipity of that incident was that we met a family of 3 people from Chicago. Bruce, Jean, and their daughter, Pam, while waiting in the lobby. We all agreed to take a gondola ride and split the cost, so we went to the dock, and hired a gondola, 40 minutes for 100,000 lire.Then winding our way down the canals and byways of Venice passed the houses of Casanova, Marco Polo, and Mozart, we were serenaded by our companion Jean who coincidentally sang opera, all the while her husband, Bruce, took movies of the experience. They eventually sent us a copy of that video now owned by Wendy. We disembarked, bade farewell to our companions, and had lunch at a nice place with back garden tables. We spent the rest of the afternoon first seeing the Church of San Marco, wandering the streets of Venice once again, choosing a place to celebrate Wendy and my 23 anniversary, and then finding ourselves at the bend of a side canal sitting and musing about the extraordinary trip we were on. I will never forget that moment, as vivid to me now as if it were yesterday. We doubled back and had yet another outdoor dinner at il Conte Pescadore, a lovely meal which Jennifer promised to pay for, but we refused to let her pay, and she wound up paying for the cappucino. Then back to the Piazza San Marco for a last look. The next day we would spend out last night in Italy at a hotel near the train station in Milan.
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