Venice is a wondrous city. St. Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge, the shops in tiny roadways, hundreds of canals, the gondolas all contribute to the uniqueness that is Venice. What I will remember most about this day in Venice is not any of these things.
We decided to have lunch off the beaten path at a less popular Vaporetto (water bus) stop. We had just gotten our Italian version of carry out and were relaxing in a small piazza honoring St. Catherine of Sienna. My two grandsons were busy chasing pigeons until their dad made them come to our bench to eat. Johnny (age 4) had just started to munch on a pretty good size pizza roll when a rather large seagull swooped in on him from behind and shagged that pizza roll out of his hands and flew off. Needless to say, we were all sort of shocked at this aberrant bird behavior. It took several minutes to console Johnny, and we now refer to that seagull as a “rat with wings”.
Other notable Italian happenings:
- Bicycle helmets are not worn by most Italians. You can identify American children because they wear helmets.
- Recycling is a big deal in Italy. It is state law that all paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, glass, and grass clippings be separated and recycled. No one comes to your house and picks it up. You must drive it to the nearest town and find a bin to put it in.
- I have often prayed to St. Anthony over my lifetime because I tend to lose things…my baseball glove, a wallet, keys, wife, etc. We visited the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua. It is a remarkable church build in the 13th century filled with beautiful elements of Renaissance art and Romanesque Architecture. It is the final resting place of St. Anthony, and the Chapel of Relics contains his tongue, jawbone, and three thorns from Christ’s crown. We loved spending time in this venerable church.
- We said a few prayers to St. Anthony on our flight home. Our non-stop flight from Venice to Chicago was diverted to Paris where we made an emergency landing. Our new Boeing 787 sustained hail damage to both engines and the captain had to shut one down. Everything eventually turned out okay, and I am able to say I took my wife to Paris.
I have often said that when you visit a place on vacation or spend a semester or several years in a city, that experience becomes a part of who you are. Hopefully, I can bring part of my European travels back to Little Flower in some small and positive ways.
Ciao for now.