Venice Under Water – Acqua Alta.
It’s not necessarily the rain that sets Venice under water … most of the time it’s the wind that sweeps the water of the Adriatic sea into the Lagoon of Venice. Efforts are made to protect the lagoon of these seasonal occurrences. For example “Project Moses” is an ambitious idea to keep the water out off the city but still in the planning stage. Our hotelier was very keen to tell us about the efforts Venice is taking to finally make it flood resistant.
But this is future talk and for now, autumn is the time when you better come prepared. That means if you’re planning a weekend trip, check the weather forecast beforehand; if it looks a bit undecided/grim, be sure to pack up your rubber boots, an umbrella and a raincoat because this means “Acqua Alta” time in Venice. We arrived unprepared and looked pretty stupid when we wanted to leave the hotel after breakfast and the street was knee deep full of water. Our hotel was a really nice one (nothing fancy but who needs that anyway if you’re just planning on sleeping there), not far away from the train station but unfortunately they had no rubber boots to borrow.
But, as we’re all not made out of sugar, we took off our shoes and socks, rolled up the trousers and walked down fifty meters to the next shoe shop. Lots of people were already lining up get a pair rubber boots – imagine winter sale at Macy’s … people start doing anything for a last pair of those new trendy shows … As the place was not directly in the city center, the boots were on 16 € per pair – not too bad for a quick solution of the problem. In the city center we saw people paying up to 40 € for a pair of rubber boots. Depending on your negotiation skills you can get them for 30 – 35 € when buying them from one of the “flying merchants”. They were the obviously winners of the day!
The thing that worried us a bit was the electricity issue. So much water and high voltage is not the best combination. But Venice is prepared for these occurrences. Even the shop owners were pretty unimpressed by the situation, so we didn’t give it that much more of a thought.
So we were on our way and got to see how other visitors handled the weather conditions. We came across some funny sights indeed. Some simply walked barefoot, not worrying about catching a cold (it was pretty cold that day), others had a garbage bad wrapped around their feet to keep the water our of the shows. This method might work for a little while but in the long run, they usually give up – that’s why you see lots of garbage bags floating around in the streets.
Anyway, so we walked all day long without getting any blisters. The walking itself was a bit tough though; we weren’t able to run or walk pretty fast because we needed to avoid an overflow of water into the boots. Then at around 3 pm the tide turned and it was “business as usual” again…