Venice, Italy

Monday, October 22, 1928

I spent a very bad night fighting mosquitoes from 10:30 to 4 . As soon as I would kill one and get half asleep, another would come around. Killed 20. It was drizzling this morning and I took a boat up the main drag to the Am. Exp.Co. where I found a letter from Jean, Mother, Betty B., and Uncle Billy. Gosh, it was great to really get mail again. Watched a British cruiser, three destroyers, and another English naval boat pull out of the harbor and then started to see the city. It is the most amazing and interesting place in which I have ever been. Water everywhere, large canals, small ones and tiny ones, going in all directions. Great spaces of water between the islands and boats of every kind hurrying everywhere. Dandy motor boats, gondolas, small freight boats rowed by oar, sail boats, and passenger boats. No machines nor bicycles here nor anyplace for them. The streets are but sidewalks, some pretty wide and a multitude of small ones from three to 15-feet wide. They zig-zag in all directions and are not continuous. Some are blind. To get anyplace you twist through these narrow passages, up steps over little bridges over canals, until in a few minutes you are entirely lost. You never know what to expect around the next turn. It might be a large square or piazza, a church, or a tiny canal.

The palazzio is a fine big square enclosed by striking buildings. Of these the Basilica Patriarcale S. Marco is the most outstanding. It is of interesting design and both outside and in has much mosaic design work and pictures mostly in gold. The inside is very Italian in effects. All around the palazzio are fine shops, mostly selling curios and beautiful laces, and also several caf├ęs. The streets in this district are especially interesting because of the fine shops. In other parts they are cheaper.

The buildings over most the city are old and dilapidated. It is hard to believe that humans really exist in them. So many are dark, dirty, damp, and packed in. The people are interesting, of all types and they make lots of noise yelling at each other and singing. The streets are always busy, especially the market places. There is a very pretty park near the end of the Grande Canale. For lunch I bought a large potato and a couple rolls. They boil the spuds with the skins on and sell them hot on the street. They are very good and sort of sweet. Same thing for dinner.

I followed the crowds and got back to the hotel this afternoon, but again venturing out at 4, I was hopelessly lost. Could not even find the Grande Canale. Wandered about in circles in the maze for over an hour, coming back to a square three times and losing all sense of direction. Finally found my way back just at dark. The hotel is near the Stazione Zenterale. Have started early tonight and killed 12 mosquitoes but there are more. It is a mystery to me where they come from. Washed some clothes out but they are not drying. Never knew one collegiate slicker could be so terribly conspicuous. They walk all around me commenting on it. Spent $1.00 today.

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