When my family and I arrived in Venice for the first time, in the summer of 1960, we were to meet family members at a fancy hotel near St Mark's Square. But to our chagrin, we found that the ferries, the vaporetti were, sorry Signore, on strike.
And yes, those water taxis are all tied up there, because they, too, are on strike, in sympathy. And no, Signore, the gondoliers, they are also sympathetic. My father may have been a rigid traveler, but he was resourceful.
Within a short time, we were, all six of us, seated in a boat for all the world like a gondola, except plain, with no fancy prow and no gondolier in costume. In fact, our crew were two young men who had just unloaded a load of vegetables at a canal-side market. My father spoke no Italian, but he understood how to speak with money in one hand and a finger pointing across the Grand Canal with the other.
We passed some famous sights and eventually got to St Marks, but despite the short distance it was a slow trip as we passed through a maze of smaller 'back-street' canals and un-fancy addresses as our two boatmen sought out their friends and neighbors, pointed to us, and took turns pretending to stand in the boat and serenade us as gondoliers might have.
I can't imagine a better introduction to Venice!
The right hand picture above, clipped from one of those above, was this week's One-Clue Mystery. As he so often does, George G solved the mystery and found a Google Street View picture of the same building 60 years on. Congratulations, and thanks!