We ordered wine and a bottle of water and sat looking out on the grand canal and the customs house.
Before long it began to rain lightly, and then heavily. Pretty soon it was a downpour and we were rejoicing the end of the long hot summer. A little after that, the skies opened up and a downpour became a deluge, and then hail. The Japanese lanterns were picked off one by one. The staff came out of the kitchen to watch the spectacle and hail stones were bouncing off the gondolas.
Nancy captured a hailstone in flight in this picture. Customers were picking up the hailstones and showing them to each other. The staff were shaking their heads in awe and Kate heard a waiter say he had never seen such weather in his whole life. Tables were moved away from the edge and we were splashed by stones and drops wherever we sat.
The visibility went from unlimited to a matter of 50 yards. All of a sudden we couldn't see across the Grand Canal. Boats disappeared, either under cover or into the mist.The Japanese lanterns flew about and ended up on the deck.
I have personally never seen bigger hailstones. Not golf ball size, but close to walnut size. We wondered if the canopy would make it through the storm.