Saturday, December 19, 2009

Double Whammy

I woke up, looked outside, and the garden was covered with several inches of snow.

My response was to put on several layers of clothing and my wellies and head out with my camera.

On my side of the Accademia Bridge it wasn't apparent yet, but on the San Marco side it was obvious. Then I remembered the text message I had received the day before. Distracted by the snow, I had forgotten. Acqua alta. 130cm.

That only made it more interesting. I headed toward San Marco. Snow-covered boats lined the canals. By Campo San Moise the elevated walkways were up; the rising tidal surge met the snow like the sea meets sand.

Piazza San Marco, relatively deserted, was of course underwater. It doesn't take much to flood Piazza San Marco. The walkways traced a curious circuit around the Piazza, the Piazzetta, the Molo.

Salt had already been laid on a few of the big bridges and the walkways have a gritty surface, but the paving stones and stairs of the unsalted streets and bridges required extreme caution. Street cleaners in orange jumpsuits were out, scraping at embedded snow and ice with their shovels.

By Rialto the flood waters had already washed over the Riva del Carbon. The vaporettos were running on schedule. On the vaporetto I heard the sirens go off. It hadn't peaked yet. There was more to come. I was glad to be on my way home.


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