Saturday, April 18, 2015

Perserverance I say ~ Perserverance!

While on a gondola ride last year we passed by a bookstore. We passed so quickly that we barely had time to notice it but the doorway of it opened directly into the canal. In the split second we glided by it caught our attention.

This trip I was determined to track down this book store and see if it was as unique as we thought it had been. Yesterday I looked it up online and got directions starting from the area we had stayed last year. I wrote every street name down, paying close attention to how many bridges I’d need to cross and even wrote down the distance I needed to go between each turn. Streets in Venice are incredibly puzzling with lots of twists and turns and dead ends so I thought if I knew the distance I would be able to recognize quickly if I’d gone too far or not far enough. 

As I got off the water bus I headed down Fondamenta Nuove toward Calle Cappuccine Castello and even though I was expecting to find it, I was half surprised when I did. I had found the first street. That in itself was an accomplishment.  I turned right, which was obvious because I could not turn left or I’d be in the Adriatic Sea. :) And this, my friends, is as far as I went before becoming lost. I walked and I turned around and I searched for the streets I had written down but to no avail. I knew I had to be in the right vicinity because we had taken the gondola from that area and the bookstore hadn’t been too far away. But winding canals and zig zagging streets make things seem what they may not truly be. I searched for some time and I eventually turned down a very long narrow street. At this point I realized I probably wasn’t going to find this bookstore so I needed to see exactly where I was in order to know where I was going! Yes, it sounds confusing and yes, walking around Venice is that confusing. Thank goodness I’m on an island. At some point I’m going to find the water. :)

As I came to the end of this long narrow alley/street I walked out into an area full of tourists. I had walked across to the other side! Now how in the world had I done that?

As with most destinations in Venice, half the battle is getting there. Venice streets and street signs certainly do add an element of fascination to each excursion.
These are the 'street signs' you look for. you never know when or where you'll see one. :)

But I was not going to give up on this bookstore. Day two ~ I’m going to give it another try, only this time I’m starting from the place I had popped out of on the other side of the island. I knew it had to be somewhere in between those two points. Sounds easy but I assure you maneuvering the streets of Venice is anything but. (I do have to say that is one of the things I love most about it, getting lost and finding your way and then getting lost again.) 

Once again I Googled directions, only this time from St.Mark’s square. I found street number one. I found street number two. Hmmm…. Wait a minute, it didn’t say anything about a bridge here. I turned around. No, that can’t be it. I asked someone nearby if they spoke English. A little. I showed them the the name of the book store and the address. He didn’t know. I walked a bit further and then went into a store to ask for help again. The girl inside spoke English but told me the name meant ‘high water’. Yes, I realize that but this is a book store with a boat in it. Inside? Oh no, I don’t know. I’m fairly sure she thought I was nuts. I was now more determined than ever to find this bookshop. I asked a gentleman at a fruit stand. He spoke no English but I showed him the name and address in hope that he could help. Somehow between us we realized I was looking for ‘books’ and he told me (or at least I think he told me, given the fact I didn’t understand his Italian), to go over two bridges and turn right. I did exactly that. No bookstore. 

Okay think, Think! This bookstore has to be next to a canal because that’s where we saw it. I turned to look for water which was rather dense of me given there are over 170 canals in Venice.
I have to be close! I just have to be. I asked a little Italian lady out front of her flower shop for help. She spoke no English but went inside to get someone who did. He told me Go left. Then left. It is there.  Really? Perfect. Okay, left, left and ... dead end. Are you kidding? As I’m walking back out of this dead end a lady with a dog is walking toward me and I ask yet again. She begins telling me directions but I must have looked lost because she walks with me back out of the dead end street and tells me to go to the construction of the hotel and the bookstore is left. And then…. I found it! *Hallelujah ~ Hallelujah*

This  little black cat was the first thing I saw sitting on a pile of books out front of store when walking up to the bookstore! It set the tone of how the adventure would begin. :)

Notice how helpful the cat is when checking out for a customer.

Helping a customer who asked about some art books of Venice. He knew exactly where he had them for her to look at.
And yes, it was worth it! For all you book loving quirky people, this is your Utopia.
There is an actual gondola in the center, full of books as well as mannequins dressed in Carnivale attire. There are bathtubs with books, boats with books, and a staircase out back made of books that you climb on to the top of the wall to look at the canal behind! Oh the smell of wet books!
One would think it’s just an attraction of sorts but it’s an actual working bookstore with books, both old and new. Things are haphazard and disorganized to the layman but each time someone asked the staff a question (and many people did), they knew exactly where to look and which pile to look in.
There were a couple cats that felt pretty darn comfortable there too.
It was odd, unusual, quirky and fabulous and I loved it!    

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