November 21 is the festa della Madonna della Salute. In addition to the floating bridge across the Grand Canal, the continuous services in the church, the pilgrimage of the Venetians to say prayers and buy the tall white candles, there is all the festa food and, of course, the balloons. A wide calle near the church of Santa Maria della Salute is transformed into a fantasy land, filled with food stands and balloon sellers, and hundreds, if not thousands of Venetian families. The balloon sellers have inflated colorful mylar Bugs Bunny, Sponge Bob Squarepants, Winnie the Pooh, pandas, racing cars, pirates, butterflies, stars, smiling flowers, helicopters, tigers, horses, just to name a few. They store them overnight in a nearby chapel. A few years ago, I was walking by in the evening just as a nun opened the door to the chapel and I was startled to see a vision of inflated balloons, flying like animal-angels in heaven.
This morning, after I ate some caramelized apricots, oranges, and walnuts on a stick, I found a place that was not absolutely crazy to stand and drew this and other drawings. Then I bought myself an inflatable dalmatian dog and walked home. My dog balloon is now tied to the mouth of a wrought iron serpent on our terrace pergola. I am hoping that Geesepalace will let me take it out in the boat when he goes rowing...in my opinion, we need a dog to make it the perfect Venetian boat, though GP contends a baby (a grand-baby would do) is even more appropriate).