The day we left Paris for Venice was one of those days where delays and minor misfortunes present themselves in a way that demands — ultimately — nothing more than patience and laughter.
The moment the door slammed behind us on the Rue Rambuteau in Paris — with the key locked in a mailbox inside the building — that instant, we realized there was a jacket hanging on the back of the door of the apartment upstairs (a door which, not that it mattered, was also locked tight). With no way to get back into the building, and a plane to catch, we had to laugh it off.
Carrying a full 100lbs of luggage between us (well, 99lbs following the loss of the jacket), we walked to the Châtelet Les Halles train station, the largest underground station in the world, to find the entire complex in a state of intermittent blackout due to construction. The darkness was a nuisance to be sure, but the lack of any kind of escalator service at all was a potential hazard, laden as we were… but we laughed that off too and slipped through some barely-working turnstiles, sweatily shuffling our way onto a rush hour RER train toward the airport.
Footnote: those of you who would bet a million dollars the jacket episode was “such a Kevo thing to do” would be one million dollars in debt by now.
At Charles de Gaulle, they had the gall (forgive me) to load up the entire aircraft, seal the doors, arm and cross-check, before announcing that we weren’t going anywhere just yet — we would be stationary on the runway for “a minimum of two hours” due to an air traffic control strike. As the scheduled 10AM departure edged closer and closer to — and then beyond — noon, the jambon/fromage sandwich supplies dwindled quickly. We, fortunately, dug into our own food and humour reserves to get through the delay.
Lost in Venice
But we weren’t done yet. After confidently catching the water bus from the airport to San Marco, alighting like we owned Venice, thinking ourselves ever so smart for having previously taken several iPhone screen-captures of maps of Venice, as well as walking directions (courtesy of Google Maps) to get us from the dock to our hotel, it was a full two hours before we finally arrived at the door of our hotel. It turns out Google Maps isn’t quite down with exactly where our hotel is (trust me, we’ve subsequently verified that Google is entirely wrong about the location of our hotel). To make matters worse, almost none of the (to be fair, apologetic) locals we asked had ever heard of the hotel, and those that had pointed us in every which way but the right one.
Venice is a veritable maze, but it’s a finite one, and after two hours you’re bound to find what you were looking for. As we turned the right corner, and saw the hotel’s name in gold, glistening like an open treasure chest above the door at the end of the street, a polyphonic sound — a singing chorus of angels — filled the air.
Loving Being Lost in Venice
Fortuately, the evening was as glorious as the day that introduced it, and we somehow remained in good spirits through the twelve-hour ordeal that had lapsed between the slammed door in Paris and the gold-leafed door in Venice. Once the bags were plopped down, a quick shower and a change of clothes later, we were once again out on the streets of Venice, every bit as joyously lost amid the tiny streets, slanting buildings, haphazard piazzas, and every-which-way canals as we’d been before — but this time without our luggage. And what a place to be lost.