What a busy day here in Venice and it is only noon. Not only is it Veterans Day in the good ol' USA, but also Remembrance Day for the UK. The Anglican church I have been attending did a nice service this morning to remember those who fell in the line of duty. I am always grateful to the Reverand as all of his prayers include not only the Queen but our President and the President of Italy.
Then on the walk home, I noticed many, many people running what I thought was another marathon. The annual Venice marathon was a few weeks ago so it took me by surprise to see all these runners. Not so much that they were running a race but rather WHERE they were running. Everywhere is the answer....it was a hodgepodge of a race and everyone was definitely lost and running in all directions. I tried hard to read the placards on their chest to see what they were doing but in the chaos of them passing me or turning around in front of me, etc. the best I got was that this is the International Race for the Orientation of Venice. What a hoot that is.
All of the runners had maps and were desperately using them which leads me to believe these are all foreigners and they have no clue how to maneuver the labryinth that I call home now. It was truly fun to watch....there were no groups of people and not all of them seemed athletic (I saw one guy who was easily over 300 pounds and was looking at the Accademia Bridge like it was Mt. Everest). They also had some small piece of paper with what looked like boxes to check off....again, I didnt see it close enough but based on the in-depth use of their map, I would say it was not only a race but also some sort of scavenger hunt where they had to go to certain places along the run. I was reminded of my first 3 weeks here as I always had a map in hand and was endlessly lost trying to get to the places I needed to be. The only difference is that I wasnt running and I wasnt being timed!
And then today is St. Martino Day. I was hardpressed to find much out about this Catholic holiday/tradition but I guess it is more popular in Germany. Basically, St. Martino was a nice guy who stopped on his horse one day and tore his coat in half to give to a beggar in a snowstorm and saved him from dying in the cold. Apparently the weather is always supposed to be good on this day and sure enough, its actually going to reach 60 today! Thanx to St. Martino!
Also, the Venetian children (and only in Venice, not the rest of Italy so I am told) will go through the streets later today banging on pots and pans and singing some rhyme they have made up in order to get candy and money from the shopkeepers. Cudos to them for managing to now have two Halloweens in a few weeks time! All of the bakeries have made St. Martino cookies which have been decorating the windows for a good week. It is a cookie of a man on a horse and decorated with colorful frostings and candies. They come in small sizes up to really, really large ones with prices to match. I think I will wait until tomorrow when they all go on sale (hopefully) to get mine!