Friday, May 25, 2012

Venice Day One - May 13, 2012

ACWS - Venice Day One - Checked In
Written Sunday, May 13, 2012
Venice, Italy

Already it has been an adventure.  My departure from SFO was delayed by over two hours, which unfortunately meant that I would most likely miss my connection in Zurich to Venice.  After an 11 hour flight to Zurich I ran through the airport as if I was OJ Simpson in a rental car commercial, only to arrive at my Venice departure gate a mere two minutes after the doors had closed.  TWO MINUTES!  I was re-routed through Munich and then finally made it to the Venice airport.  I caught the last water bus from the airport at 11:45 pm for the hour + long boat ride into Venice.

Don't feel too bad for me ... as there I was, the only passenger on the water bus, traveling down the entire Grand Canal in the quiet peacefulness of night.  It was a magical trip, with the lights on in the old historical homes, the gondolas put away for the night but still rocking in the choppy water as if they were waving hello, and random couples romantically strolling home along the side of the canal.  I was let off at San Marco and after wandering around just a little in a slight drizzle, I found my hotel and was settled in shortly after 1:00 am.

My first morning in Venice I woke to rain, but so it goes.  Rain usually brings wind, and that's good for sailing.  I had printed out a map of where the America’s Cup Village was located and after breakfast headed out to get myself checked in at the media center.  For those of you who have been to Venice know, there really are no street signs and many times you just dead end at a canal and must back track.  For an hour I wandered around in the wind and rain trying to find the AC Village to no avail. There were some banners hanging from street lamps, but no signage to let you know where to go (that would  appear later in the week).  

Then I spotted someone with a familiar badge hanging around his neck.  He was carrying a rather large camera which was another give away. He MUST be heading for the media center so I fell in behind him and started following him like a stalker.  Over a bridge, down along a canal, then suddenly he went into a building.  I just followed along.  He had gone into the Naval Museum.  I didn't know why he was heading this way, but what an amazing building filled with old boats!  I was a bit distracted by this, but kept my eye on him as he went down the path through the center of the boats.  He kept walking ... so did I ... out the other side of the building ... and then I saw them.  There in the basin on the back side of this historical boat house were nine AC45's floating on moorings.  It was like seeing a group of old friends, bobbing up and down in the wind and light chop.  I realized we had entered the AC Village.  There was a stage, the Puma Store, and a bunch of booths that were still getting the final touches before opening.  Overall, it was pretty darn cool ... once you found the place.

I found the accreditation office, picked up my badge and settled in at the media center.  Sunday's racing, second day of the City of Venice Regatta, had been postponed for a few hours due to weather.  Unfortunately I was not able to be on a photo boat as I missed the sign up the day before due to travel.  They are putting me on a spectator boat instead.  Heck - I'm just excited to be here!

And so the adventure begins. 

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