When we thought it was about 6 am at home we called the family. I did not have international calling on my cell phone at this point. Didn’t need it on the ship where we communicated by email and facebook. So I used the hotel phone.
Sally will try to contact Affordable Tours and our agent to see about a southern flight to Miami or Texas as a possibility. It’s the weekend and no agents are in. Sally wants us to go to Milan for a possible flight Monday. I tried to get the hotel here to get us to Milan but train and buses are full and “besides it’s Sunday. There are no travel agents available,” she said.
I called the number the Delta agent had given me. The earliest flight is Thursday,April 22, KLM to Amsterdam. (Lufthansa was booking May 5 at the earliest. Transcontinental ships booking June1) I took it. But many were skeptical we would get out then. We went out to eat dinner, walk for a while before dark and wait for Jodi. It was getting evening and she had not shown up yet. I taught Aub to play Flinch to take our minds off our situation. I’m beginning to realize Jodi must have made other arrangements. We are on our own! I’m starting to think of a plan B.
I can’t go to Milan without hotel reservations and I don’t want to make hotel reservations without knowing I have plane reservations. If trains and buses are booked how will we get there even if we have reservations? All this is swimming around my head and I couldn’t sleep. By this time I’m sure Jodi is not coming. I am having heart palpitations. What calms me is the thought that we will just go back to Venice where our agent had us stay the 1st night before our cruise.
Sunday April 18
Jodi didn’t show. Even after my son Matt got international calling put on my cell phone Jodi and I were never able to contact each other even though we found out later we both had tried multiple times. Still don’t know why our phones weren’t compatible. My phone bill at the Helvetia was 66 E. We had called home several times and I had been on hold with Delta for 20 minutes. Some, according to CNN, were on hold 40-50 minutes to get an agent.
I called the Carlton on the Grand Canal and Yahoo! They had rooms available. We ate breakfast and the desk called the water taxi but they couldn’t come until noon. So we checked out, left luggage in the lobby and walked to the beach. It was a nice clean beach. I read later that years ago it was filthy but it was an open beach and seemed a nice place to bring families. It was too cold to swim but there was one couple in the surf who had come out of a small tent and appeared to have camped overnight. The beach is long and flat and waves are small.
The water taxi took us back to Venice and dropped us right in front of the Carlton on the Grand Canal (140E a night). I felt relieved in a way to be back here where we started. When the guy handed me the key to our room I started to cry. I can take stress when I need to but when it is over that’s when I lose it. He pointed to the back of the lobby. ”Washrooms back here, Madame.’’ I went back and pulled myself together.
There are other hotels for more reasonable prices back along side canals. If we would have had to stay longer I might have looked around. I know Jodi’s 1st night before our cruise was 80E, I think. (Just in case anyone is planning a trip to Venice and wants to know.)
The concierge said there were people from cruises here at the hotel.
Aub and I made a sign to hang on the kiosk in the lobby to try to get USA people together to help each other out. The kiosk was crowded with stuff and hard to read so we weren’t successful at that.
Whenever I heard someone speaking English I asked where they were from and how they were coping. We met a family from Utah. They booked a flight through London to get them from Venice to JFK on Thursday. They gave me the number. (I tried it later and it was the same number I had!) No one can guarantee that flights will even go Thursday – we try not to think about it.
People who knew about the ash and cancellations early on, and made reservations right away for the 1st of the week, were already being canceled and now were getting flight dates later than ours. Monday flights, and possibly Tuesday’s, are now canceled.
We tried to get on the internet and are having problems. I asked at the hotel about computer and wireless. They said ‘No we don’t have business computers.”
He sent us outside to find an internet café.
The Utah couple we met is going to Verona Tuesday on the train and invited us to go with them. They told us how to go to the train station to get a ticket on the regional train. The lines outside the train station have been looong with people and luggage. This is the 1st day that they are not clear out to the canal. We were using the regional train (Trenitalia) and they told us how to use the automated kiosk to get tickets.
I am watching the streets to see if by chance Jodi is still around. I finally called Earl to email Jodi’s husband in England to see if he could let us know where she was. Jodi got the message and called us at the Carlton. She thought we had gotten out. She remembered that whenever military is in trouble you go to the nearest base. So she was at a Best Western near an air base about 40 miles from Venice. The military was going to bus them and other families to England, about a 36 hour ride. They did not know which day they would leave, Tuesday or Wednesday, or we would have gone over there with them. Jodi was going to try to come over to Venice for the day if they could before they left.
We had pizza lunch. The pizzas are dinner plate size and very thin crust. You can get them with meat which looks like sliced sausage.
At dinner we met US citizens who live in Germany. They offered that we could stay with them if only we and they could get to Germany.
We have been doing a lot of walking and eating gelato, 1.20E for one scoop. Our favorite place is “QB” Quanto Basta, 148 Cannaregio, on the main tourist road snaking around the Grand Canal. It is a kind of deli for pizza, gyros, falafel and ice cream. Aub found what she has determined is the BEST ice cream, the yogurt flavor. We will go back there.
We washed out some of our clothes. There is a heated towel rack in the bathroom that helped dry them. We will send some out since we had laundry from the cruise. There is no self laundry, only laundry service. I threw away some of my underwear and jettisoned small bottles of toiletries to make as much room as possible for souvenirs. So now I have to wash out the few I have. The room is nice though and a clean tiled bathroom.
Called and talked to everyone at home. Some tears with Aub and mom and dad. But she is doing really well. Earl said that we should just relax and enjoy Venice: whatever it takes. Glad I have a credit card and the money to back it up. We will need to find Euros. Mine are running out.