“… it is the rays of understanding that you have shone into my brain and the languages that you have implanted in my memory and which now grow there, putting out further branches of language in their turn. … Having you close to me for as long as possible, hearing your eloquent voice as it enlightens my mind, re-tempering my soul, making my whole being capable of great and awe-inspiring deeds if ever I should be free, filling my mind and soul so thoroughly that the despair to which I was ready to give way when I met you can no longer find any place in them – this is my fortune. It is not a chimera. I truly owe it to you, and all the sovereigns on earth, were they all Cesare Borgias, could not succeed in taking it away from me.”
Part of the appeal of visiting The Floating Piers was that this map looked like the location of Abbé Faria’s buried treasure in “The Count of Monte Cristo” and for about 3 hours, I felt like I was on a journey of finding it and making all my teenage dreams come true.
Whenever I am reminded of the limitations of the human body, I repeat the title of Nietzsche’s book “Human, All too Human.” While all the Italian boys were saying bello, bello, molto bello when they saw the vistas from the piers, specifically San Paolo island, I was thinking human, all too human, but it was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful too.
(I told my flatmate how Italians were always saying the word beautiful all the time for everything and then she started laughing and then said, “I can’t imagine Germans doing that.” No, me either now, but I think there was a time when they might have… when they did the Grand Tour and were into Werther and Novalis…)
My spirit wanted to immediately walk on the piers but not my body… it was too hot; the sun was so strong you needed two layers of clothes to protect yourself and what about toilets. I killed the afternoon sun with cappuccinos and the toilet, Campari spritz and the toilet, sparkling white wine and the toilet.
At one toilet, the Italians or rather Lombards and I fell for the anti-tourist/ tourist trap, a threatening combination of convenience and social proof few people can avoid. It was right across the street from the entrance line to the piers, and you could see other people doing it, standing in line. The bar cafe looked modern so the toilets must be modern too right. Instead of following a handwritten neon paper sign that said “TOILET” up the road and almost to the train depot where no one was waiting in line and there were plenty of toilet paper, lavender-colored hand wash soap, and real porcelain toilets all for just 50 cents, everyone was standing in line at this bar.
The line held a surprise as you realized turning a corner, what it goes downstairs! making the line longer than you thought. Then there was another surprise, what all these people waiting in line for one toilet! adding up to a wait time of 45 minutes to an hour. Once inside the one toilet room, you found a toilet just covered in slimy urine and no toilet paper.