Friday, May 19, 2017

Queen of tides

When I emerged for breakfast in my Venice hotel, a stylish establishment with fine furnishings and carpets, and a garden courtyard, there was a stench. Salt, sewage and seaweed had combined in a thick, rising miasma. The beautiful, ornate staircase led down to chaos. A round-faced, dark-haired boy aged about 10 stood at the top of the stairs, staring with some excitement down into the mess. He was a fellow guest and when he saw me about to descend, he pronounced solemnly: ‘Breakfast’s been cancelled. The kitchen’s flooded.’ Food deliveries had been disrupted, cooking was impossible, voices were raised.
 Tidal waters rose to 1.4 metres in
Venice Italy, November 2012.
Water had risen up from the foundations. The cobbled streets of Venice had become shallow canals. The same street-sellers who were flogging bags and trinkets yesterday were touting thigh-length plastic boots today. Outside the door of the hotel, people were ploughing through water up to their calves, tourists were stumbling towards their travel deadlines with suitcases above their heads, and in the Piazza San Marco they were up to their waists in seawater. Youngsters could swim under the campanile.


Read the Aeon story - “Queen of tides.”

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