Next day in Milan we had until a 1:05pm train departure for Venice so had some time to chill, woke up late, had breakfast at the hotel, and then just as I was about to head back to Centrale Milano for a day sesh, the little one announces from her position at the window, "Look Daddy! It's snowing!". Skate plans dashed. Instead, I stayed in the hotel room with the little one while Y went to some contemporary art museum on a solo mission. Got to update the blog (the last post) and scrambled to pack up the room for check-out. We met up with Y at the train station and enjoyed the two and a half hour ride to Venice looking out on the accumulating snow which transitioned to rain as we headed east towards the Adriatic Sea.
Land turned to water as we made our final way into the cold fog of Venice, departing the train in a steady rain just above the freezing point. First challenge was navigating the Vaperetto, the water bus that serves as the city's mass transit system. After a half hour of dock confusion, line numbers, points of origin and termination, we found our way onto the correct boat and crept along the Grand Canal to our stop. A quick walk had us in the general vicinity of the apartment but then followed another bout of confusion almost to the point of utter despair involving the address system which is not by streets but by district... are we in the right building? at the right door? and is the right key, for the right keyhole? But we managed to get in with a sigh of utter relief...
First day spent in total tourist mode, creeping through crowded streets, taking in the view, still hungover from the drama of the evening before. Back at the apartment checking in on the wifi, an earlier instagram post had turned into a forum with a skate friend from NY linking me up with a skate friend from Milan, who in turn passed along another associate to advise on Venice skate info. This resulted in two bits of info: first, a skate shop on the mainland area of Mestre called Greens Records and Boards which confirmed previously gathered intelligence, and then a second lead, a skate shop called 17MQ in Venice, which sounded promising, though the only information that could be found was a facebook page and some business listings.
Monday morning the whole family set out in search for this shop. Armed with a screen shot of the walking map from our apartment and aided by the convenience of google maps GPS still functioning with the iPhone in airplane mode, we got as close as exactly where the pin drop was located where I questioned a man who did not know of the shop but said we must be close judging by the address and pointed us in another direction. Looked hard but we never found the shop. But the search did lead us to a nice local lunch spot with old men laughing, talking and a group of only slightly younger men drinking beer after beer, smiles growing wider and wider with hand gestures to match. Delicious food and wine. Like a completely different city than the day before but it was only us that had changed, or really, just finding our own pace so that the surroundings could resonate a little closer to our vibe. Reminded me of this quote from a book I had read in anticipation of our trip to Venice (and one that Y had shown me many years before and had first inspired us to visit Venice). It's called Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino and here's a passage that really caught my attention:
By Monday night, after a day full of getting lost, drinking it in with all the senses, exchanging smiles with it's people, the city slowly began to come into focus, and it became apparent that the beauty of its sights is only the beginning of this place's magic. A picture or video can only show you the surface, the stories of it's people and their relationships in this place seems to be a well of much deeper interest.
It's now late morning on Tuesday. One of the roommates has returned to the apartment and as fate turns out knows quite a bit about skateboarding in Venice. As we had begun to suspect, he confirmed our suspicion that MQ17 was no longer in business. So, in a few minutes I'm off to investigate Green Records and Boards and some skate spots he's pointed out and I've taken screen shots of. I will leave you with a video of a local crew called the Lagoona Team from about 5 years ago of some spots in and around Venice. Enjoy.
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