Posted by Hatka Hatnaa Posted on 6:44:00 AM
For 60 euros ($66) an hour, it turned out, I could get all the lessons I wanted, but I would need to
wait three days for one of the pilots to be free. Though I was supposed to fly back to New York that night, I signed up on the spot.
With time unexpectedly to spare, I decided to make the best of it and make some exploratory forays into the Lagoon, which a few Italian developers and civic groups are trying to revive. I hopped a vaporetto to Harry’s Bar to meet Arrigo Cipriani, the dapper 85-year-old patriarch of the Cipriani empire.
“The Lagoon is where Venice was born,” Mr. Cipriani said, describing how Italians fled Attila the Hun’s hordes in the fifth century and cobbled together a city in the marshes. “Now its revival is the key to Venice’s future.”This time, when I returned to the dock, the long boat slid unpredictably at every touch of the tiller. Trying to correct, the boat swerved more. The instructor raised his eyebrows. I had failed the test.
I felt slightly better when a fisherman from Florida turned up a few minutes later and also flunked. He was left scratching his head as we both stood ruefully on the dock. Having taken boats out all over the gulf, he agreed that mastering the topetta was a lot harder than it looked.till, my dream was evaporating before my eyes. I hung around the docks mournfully, racking my brain. Then I had a brainstorm: “Can I take lessons?”