I remembered my first travel to Venice in the year 2000.
Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces.
I remember being surrounded by new friends from school and filled with warmth over unexpected generosity. The ferry was followed by pasta, by wine, by dancing. Later, sometime very late, we walked through empty streets, lost, laughing, until we turned a corner and found ourselves in Piazza San Marco. The ornate buildings and statues gleamed white and breathtaking. The square was empty, except for us.
Getting lost is part of the magic, the guides said, so we wandered freely.
The wine was working on me for I drink very occasionally and with friends - I had a drink more.
For now – I needed some magic. Keeping my phone with its map in my pocket, I twisted through charming stone alleyways. Eventually, I found myself in a courtyard with no other exit except an archway looking down into a canal. I crossed to it to see for gondolas and magic.
Instead, I suddenly felt the ground giving way.
Two things I wish I’d heard about Venice: slippery algae grow along the edges of walkways, and falling into a canal happens very fast.
After splashing around for a few shocking moments in the murky water, I clambered back up through the archway. On solid ground, I assessed: I had a right hand which had stopped functioning. Then – I remembered my phone. I clawed at my pocket but realized it was now empty. The sickening realization flooded me that my phone had fallen out, all of my photos, travel plans, and ability to communicate sunken to the bottom of the canal.
I shouted out to an empty space, but nobody heard me. I was shivering and in pain.
One old man on a post-dinner walk came down my way. He picked me up and placed his jacket around me. He had an emergency telephone and he called someone known to him.
I was taken to a nearby hospital and was diagnosed with Colles fracture.
I was plastered and my hand was immobilized.
I had a Travel insurance policy and called their helpline telephone no.
They mobilized a Nurse escort immediately who was by my side the next day morning. She was from HI Flying - the Medevac company and she was extremely caring and was more like my companion.
On her advise, we decided to travel back home to the United States in a Business class. The company made all arrangements for tickets, a standby wheelchair in case I need one, pain medications and other such important things. The nurse accompanied me home taking care of every small detail during the travel including my food, belongings and medications.
She took him right till my doorstep and my parents welcomed me with open arms.
It was an experience to remember!
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