118 and er stop

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Oct 16, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Tuesday, September 14, 2010


1.  Tourists should not comment on other tourists’ choice of hats as yours is likely just as ugly.

2.  Don’t ever have a serious medical emergency in Venice; you could die waiting.

3.  Once you cross the Rialto Bridge you are in Tourist HELL.

4.  If you are going to provide a map in your book please make sure it is ACCURATE--the first two post offices I went to had closed down and the third one was situated on the wrong place on the map...it was on the OTHER side of the canal.

5.  IF someone is being escorted by three police officers at an airport or hospital what are the chances that you did something wrong?

The flight to Venice wasn’t very eventful, I slept the entire way but I somehow managed to hurt my elbow between leaving the hotel and landing in Venice.  It was so bad that it actually hurt to hold a pen.  The problem was that I had to pick up my 19.4 kilo backpack with my left hand/arm and put it oer my shoulder.  I still don’t know how I managed to put that bag on my back twice that day as I could not move my arm. 

So to get to Venice form the airport you have to take a but to the entrance of the city--this is as far as all vehicles of any sort can go and from that point on you use boats.  Some of the locals do have cars and they keep them in garages here.

So off I went; first thing I did upon arrival--get my ticket out of there.  I got my train ticket to go to Venceia on Friday.  The ticket agent was surprised that I had written down all the train times, numbers and the cost of the ticket.  I purchased at 72 hour “bus” pass at the airport as it is 6.50 Euros for one ride or 31.00 Euros for the 3 days. So I set out to get to my hotel. 

The hotel was pretty easy to find, about 5 minutes from the stop and it was pretty straight forward--trust me it is VERY easy to get lost here.  In fact that is one of the best things about Venice; getting lost and see what you find along the way.  When I was lost I just followed the crowds but of course I stopped to take a few pictures along the way.

I did it--I finally bought myself something!!  Of course it was a bag.  I then headed over to the Rialto Bridge to take some pictures and after I was done I decided to go and have a gelati.  Next thing I know there is an old man not 20 feet away from me laying of his back---he just fell straight back.  I went over to help as the crazy people were trying to help him stand up; never mind that he had blood coming out of the back of his head and there was blood on the concrete.  The man had to have been at least 80 and he was with his daughter.  So while the locals called 118 (their version of 911) I went and got napkins and am holding them to the back of his head (when I had told the people not to get him up they decided to roll him on his side).   There really didn’t seem to be a great deal of blood but he didn’t remember falling over.  I was talking to both him and his daughter.  He just wanted to get up and kept asking if there was a lot of blood.  His daughter needed reassurance as well as she was trying to keep it together while calmly sitting in a chair (someone got for her) at the top of her dads head while praying.  I suggested that she move in front of her dad so that he could see her; as I told her to take out his hearing aid so it didn’t get lost I am not sure how much he was hearing.  The two were from San Francisco and they were just starting a cruise; in fact Venice was the first stop.  Luckily a couple from their cruise was happened by and took their info back to the ship.  The locals called the ambulance again after 10 minutes and were told that the wait would be another 20 minutes.  Venice only has three ambulances and they were all out on calls. 

So you can imagine what this looks like; there is an old man laying on the ground not 100 feet from the Rialto Bridge--the busiest tourist place in Venice with me squatting (and trying not lose my balance) behind this man applying pressure to the back of his head while keeping an eye on my purse and shopping bag as I am talking to both the man and his daughter to reassure them that everything will be fine; and the guy I gave my gelati to is trying to give it back to me so I finally told him to toss it in the garbage.

Finally, we can hear the ambulance coming--the siren is getting louder and louder and then the boat blows right past us.  There are four of them on the damn boat how can then not see the crowd of people?   All the locals let out this HUGE roar so the ambulance comes back.  As there are three of them working on him and none of them speak English I am trying to tell the man what they are going to do to him so that he knows what is going on.  They get him on the back board and it took 4 tries to get the right size collar for his neck and then as then were putting him on the gurney the daughter completely lost it and started balling.  So I escort the daughter to the ambulance telling her everything is going to be fine and that they will just catch the ship at the next port of call and her dad is going to be fine but it is better to get him checked out

SO that was my first afternoon in Venice.  I never did get another gelati that day.

Day 2 was what I look at as the lost day.  I woke up and my arm was still really painful and I couldn’t straighten it (the prescription drugs I take were not helping the pain).  So off I set with my trusty map to find the hospital.  I was told it was a 7 minute walk-it only took me 25 with quite a few wrong turns but I did find it.

I was taken in to see a doctor with 5 minutes before being shipped over to see an orthopaedic surgeon.  I was told it would be 5-10 minutes but it was about 90 minutes.  So as he is examining me his Nurse/Assistant is behind him looking on.  The Nurse/Assistant told him that when he was straightening my arm my entire face went white and he could see the pain.  So they put my arm in a sling and sent me for x-rays.  Fifteen minutes later I was back with my x-rays hot off the press to see the specialist.  As I write this I am still not 100% sure what is wrong with my elbow but he did mention something like tendonitis.  He gave me a choice drugs or a shot--I took the shot as I already have drugs and they were not helping.  I was told NOT to use it for 3-5 days and sent back to emerg with all the paperwork.  I turned in the paperwork and x-ray and not 5 minutes later I am presented with a bill for €72.40.  I was told to go and pay at the machine and bring back the receipt. That is great…I walk over to the said machine and it is all in Italian no option for any other language so what the hell am I to do?  I went back to reception and asked for someone to help me and when I got back to the machine a man was helping someone else so I asked him to help me.  I got off lucky, the man that was being helped had two bills for €391 each and this machine does NOT take credit card--cash or debit card only.  NONE of this is explained to you when you go there.  I walked back to the hotel stopping to take a few pictures along the way--surprise, surprise.  I decided to lay down for an hour as I had not slept well the night before--I woke up 4 hours later.  So there went day number 2.

I was determined to make the best of my last day--I purposely got lost and just took pictures.  I think I took over 350 pictures that day and it was great.   I went to go to into one of the museums but they wanted you to hand over your bad--sorry that is NOT happening.  The San Marco square is just a lot of people hanging around and there are about 50-100 shops all around the parameters of the square, it is quite weird.

I headed back to the hotel early as I had to pack my bag to head out in the morning--my train was at 8:58 am…so I was off to see Jackie and her family!!!!
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Jen on

WOW! Sounds like you had a pretty eventful time in Venice! Really gorgeous pics, by the way. I love the ones of the gondolier's hat on the seat of the boat.

Sue on

Hi Donna, I am really enjoying reading your blog and seeing all of your amazing photos. I remember Venice well and nothing has changed since Mark and I went in 1979. Looking forward to the rest of your journey.

Brie on

Beautiful photos Donna! Despite all the drama you had to go through, it's good you had the chance to take some lovely shots!

Cheena Mackay on

Oh Donna,
Lov following you along your trip...venice brings back memories !
Great shots there kiddo !

Gary Falle on

Donna- you definitely missed your calling! You would have made a great travel critic for the New York Times! Your blog on Venice is fascinating, amusing and entertaining all at the same time! And what beautiful pics! I always look forward to your latest venture! However, am sorry about the pain you expeienced!

wwasilik on

can't seem to mail u....glad you're having a great time, and great photo's
miss you....ox...


So, they get to take buts in Venice??? I think you mean bus....I'm in the same boat with my new French keyboard!!!!!

Chris on

Only you would injure yourself and end up in a Venice hospital of all places.
Great pics. Brings back memories from when I was there over 20 years ago.
Being a good Samaritan will surely bring you good Karma for the rest of your trip...

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