We twisted our way through parts of the city and found ourselves resting on a red bench in Plaza Campo Polo. We noticed that there aren’t many trees in Venice but this plaza had several. Out of all the architectural features we saw, my favorite were the muted colors of the buildings—peach, yellow, grey, and orange. Frequently, I saw dark green shutters over the windows. We walked past a storefront with a sign in front boasting “World’s Most Beautiful Bookstore.” Despite the potential tourist trap, I heeded the sign’s advice and stepped inside. There the elderly storeowner gave me a kind smile and pointed me toward a backroom. “Tell me if the water is inside yet,” he said softly in broken English. Now quite curious, I followed his pointing finger, snaking my way through several gondolas containing book displays. This back room looked much different from the front. Instead of shelved books from floor to ceiling, there were only piles stacked on top of tables, buckets, or other odds & ends.
Then I realized what the shopkeeper had meant: there was an open wall directly to the canal. Three steps led down to the water, the last of which was entirely submerged. I called Kevin over to see: all this knowledge, history, and literature so precariously stored! He too enjoyed the sigh, and as we left, he made sure to let the kind, old man know that the canal was yet still at bay, leaving the books dry & safe.