Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Last Evening In Boat, This Evening


I have no time to write about this now, no time even to reply to the very kind comments people have left, though I will do both in a few days, I think, but we made out last outing in our boat this evening, and this evening, like most evenings in Venice--whether it's your last, first, or somewhere in-between--did not disappoint. 

Then our ride was over and we peeled our targhe (basically an adhesive license plate number, starting with the letters LV, if you do not use your boat for business purposes) from our boat, buttoned up its cover, and left it in its mooring place where its new owner will officially take possession of it tomorrow.

We fly out of Venice on Friday--the first time we've left the lagoon at all, really, in nearly two years. An uninterrupted stay in Venice that, I will tell you right now, neither I nor anyone else I've spoken to would recommend. Even the most Venetian of Venetians reply to that idea with one word: pesante. Meaning, literally, heavy, but with a strong suggestion of unhealthiness about it in this context, for the body, mind, and spirit. But that's a topic for another time.

For now (and maybe not just for now) the image is enough. I need to get back to preparing to live somewhere other than Venice for the first time since 1 November 2010. 


  1. It must be quite a time of mixed feelings. We'll miss you, it's been nice when we've been in Venice in the past to think of people like you that we felt almsot to "know" were around, even though we'd never have set out to meet. We hope that your new life enriched you in all ways, but that there's some tiny corner of your soul that has a little post of Venice in it.
    Do you think that you'll ever "visit" back in the future?
    Best of luck, safe journey and happy life.

  2. So bittersweet...but I hope the sweet outweighs the bitter. Best of luck!

    1. Thanks very much, RPG: I think the sweet definitely outweighs the bitter, of which there's actually very little, maybe none, really, when I think about it.

  3. GodSpeed Steve & Family, please let us know how you all get on, especially Sandro,how will he cope in a world without Calles, Bridges & Boats?

    1. Thanks very much, Rob, I'm sorry for the long-delayed reply. I've found it possible to post some images on the blog, but generally to think about it for very long or in any depth--which is usually the only way I can even reply to a comment, as I find it impossible to do so quickly--was just so disorienting as we dealt with all the complications of moving that I just couldn't manage it. This doesn't make much sense, but it made me feel almost bodily that I was in two very different places and lives--Toronto and Venice--at the same time. Our son misses his friends and Venice itself, but he's also found some things to be fascinated by here, such as cars and their engines, Lake Ontario and its boating culture, etc.

  4. Dear Steve,

    Sorry to hear you are no longer writing from Venice, but if you do have further blogs, I wanted to bring to your attention my new book on the city.

    It is available in English and in Italian: Venice, an Odyssey: Hope, anger and the future of cities/Venezia, un’odissea, Speranza, rabbia e il futuro delle città.

    The publisher, La Toletta, in Venice has permitted me to offer you a free copy if you are interested in writing a review or mentioning it in your blog. If you would be so kind as to let me know if this is of interest, and which version you need, I will inform the publisher and a book will be held for you at the bookshop at Dorsoduro 1214 30123 Venice.

    With kind regards,

    Neal E Robbins, or for more information

    Here are some review comments on the book,

    “He defines the work as non-fiction, but in reality, it is a gripping narrative that falls between diary and reflection, between the coming-of-age novel and in-depth report… It is an innovative contribution that puts together (with his capacity in exposition as a journalist and creativity in narration) the eyes of a foreigner and the heart of a “Venetian”…, the volume will certainly be of great interest, whether you are Venetian and/or someone who knows the city.”

    Mario Santi, The Venetian foreigner, 19 June 2021, Ytali online magazine
    “The prose flows and hooks you in. This is travel writing at its best.”

    Anne Garvey, The Cambridge Critique
    “A knowledgeable, sensitive analysis of the environmental, social and economic challenges facing Venice today.”

    Cristina Gregorin, Venice guide and novelist, winner of the Italo Calvino special mention 2019
    “An intimate rediscovery of La Serenissima’s magic that sees it not just as a town or a landscape, but a core of stories, and gets to the reality of Venice for the people who live there.”

    Isabella Panfido, poet and author of Venice Noir: The Dark History of the Lagoons
    “…the layers of knowledge and web of revelations Robbins records in these pages is so easy to read. At the end of this immense work, you are a more cultivated, cultured individual than when you began – but the prose flows and hooks you in. This is travel writing at its best.“

    Anne Gravey, The Cambridge Critique – Discerning Views, Thoughts And Debate On The Cultural Scene
    “Nonfiction essay? A guide? An historical text? An autobiographical story? There’s a bit of everything in this accurate, interesting, original work… Neal is the Venetian Ulysses… With wisdom and judiciousness, Neal confronts the fundamental themes — historical, environmental and social — seeking to overcome cliches, invented traditions, and prejudices….“

    Giorgio Crovato, historian and a director of Ateneo Veneto, the foremost cultural institution of Venice, describes Venice, an Odyssey.
    “I would very much like to recommend… “Venice, an Odyssey” by Neal E. Robbins. … in easy-to-read, unacademic English … A research on history, but primarily on the current situation in Venice with all overwhelming problems … Discussions with “all of Venice”… for anyone like me, struggles with the local papers and the unspeakable local politics … you can better understand developments, connections and perspectives here.”
    [Google translation from German original]

    Brigitte Eckert, Unterwegs in Venedig / Out and about in Venice / Venedig Reiseblog /Venice travel blog