Holly and I had been wanting to travel to Venice and then to cruise down the Adriatic Sea to the Mediterranean for some time.  We’d almost pulled it off in 2018, but an unwelcome “tax deficiency” letter from the IRS spoiled that plan in 2017.  A year later, as we flew from Dulles Airport (Washington DC) to Paris, everything seemed to have finally come together.  But when we landed in Paris, we found ourselves in a vast crowd mulling about in a room packed with travelers while the passport officers engaged in an unofficial strike.  By the time we finally got through that, our onward flight to Venice had already departed.  And to make matters worse, we missed the next flight because its departure was not announced.

When we finally disembarked in the Venice Airport, it was dark and rainy outside.  We nonetheless proceeded to the dock to get a “water taxi,” (known as vaporettos locally).  A modern and nice-looking valparato pulled out just as we arrived, and then a quite shoddy-looking valparato, which looked like a fishing boat, came along.  We were expected to hop on the deck and then descend with our luggage in hand down a rickety ladder into the dark hull.  Holly went ahead of me and fell into the darkness.  It was probably the most awful moment in our lives.  She was in agonizing pain. As we were to find out later, she had fractured her hip.  Fortunately a rescue squad arrived relatively quickly and took us off to the local hospital, which turned out to be a very large and modern one.  The scene however was chaotic and it took quite a long time to get assistance there.  We found out the next morning that x-rays showed that Holly’s hip had indeed been fractured and an operation was quickly arranged with a doctor whom we quickly came to appreciate and respect. Holly’s daughter Lyara flew from California to Venice a few days later, and provided invaluable assistance to both of us; it’s hard to imagine how we would have managed without her.  But it would take two weeks before Holly was released, and then only to be flown out in a wheelchair back home.

  

   

Above: Holly with her doctor,, with Lyara, and with a room mate and her mother, who became good friends.

Holly, in Venice hospital, with lovely bouquet from Grace Church back home (thanks, Hal!)

Below: Lyara and Bob got to explore Venice on two late afternoons.