Our hotel in Venice was on a narrow side street, barely wide enough for two people to pass each other. We were very happy to have finally reached it after dragging our suitcases through the narrow streets and crossing the bridges over the canals after getting off the waterbus.
Opening the doors to the hotel, however, gave us a big shock. The walls of the ground floor lobby were not just bare. They were crumbling with bricks exposed. There was nobody there, and no furniture. The thought came across my mind that perhaps we were swindled.
I looked around a bit more carefully, and found a sign next to the staircase that said the hotel was located in the third floor. Did I dare to walk up three flights of stairs? I asked my wife and daughter to stay on the ground floor, with the entrance open. Then I walked gingerly up the stairs. Fortunately, it did get better. On the first floor there appeared to be some lawyers’ offices. On the second floor there appeared to be some apartments. And I could see the actual entrance to the hotel lobby around the corner.
The hotel turns out to be small but reasonably well-furnished. The best feature is the terrace on the fourth floor, where we had our breakfast. From the terrace we could see the dome of the Basilica San Marco and the Bell Tower, just a couple of blocks away.
Regarding the state of the ground floor of the building. Our street is at the same level with Saint Mark’s Square, which can get flooded in high tide - which means the ground floor of our building can also get flooded. That’s why nobody in Venice lives on the ground floor anymore, which explains the state of disrepair that we encountered. We were surprised because we were not familiar with Venice.
While we were having breakfast, a bunch of sparrows were jumping around us, just a couple of feet away. As soon as we left the table, they jumped right in, picking crumbs from our plates and even the breadbasket.