In the course of her pilgrimage, Margery Kempe mentions that she passes through Constance, Bologna, and Venice. The former two appear to be short stays, but she and her companions stay in Venice for thirteen weeks. After her estrangement from her companions, Kempe rejoined the group in Bologna after she arrived at the city before them, amazing them with her traveling ability. However, they made her promise not to talk too much about the Gospel, and to more or less act like a normal person. She agreed, and accompanied them onward to Venice.
In Venice, Kempe does not mention where she slept. However, she does say that she took communion every Sunday “in a great house of nuns,” presumably a convent. She praises the nuns for their welcoming nature in inviting her to take communion with them. She also mentions that the nuns were “amazed” at the visions of Jesus Christ that Kempe had while she was among them. These details have the potential to provide some information about Venetian convents at the time of Kempe’s visit. It is possible they were generally welcoming places that would invite any person (or perhaps any woman) to receive communion with them. It is also possible that they were used to the presence of pilgrims or that they held specific services for pilgrims. However, Kempe does not specify, so it is hard to tell if she took communion with them alone or with other pilgrims.
After their stay of thirteen weeks, Kempe and the rest of her company begin making preparations for the continuation of their journey. Unfortunately, Kempe has already fallen out of their favor again, so they all make preparations on their own and exclude her. The other pilgrims arranged a ship, bought containers for wine, and arranged bedding. This list of tasks reveals what was necessary for ocean travelers at the time, as well as the priorities of the pilgrims. It shows that they had to book passage on a ship, and also that the ship, presumably, provided food (because they do not prepare food) but did not provide bedding or wine. The need for bedding implies that the travelers would be sleeping in beds on the ship, and not ruder accomodations like hammocks or the floor. The emphasis on wine seems puzzling, because it does not immediately occur to be a necessity. However, it is possible that the travelers would have limited access to fresh water during their journey, and that, during the time period, wine was healthier and more accessible.
Kempe also reports an interesting incident on the ship. A priest steals one of her sheets and claims it is his own, and she stands up to him, at which point he swore on the Bible and left her scorned and without a sheet. This incident reveals something about Kempe’s status, which is also made clear by the contemptuous treatment at the hands of her companions (although this is also due to her somewhat trying personality). For some reason, many of the people Kempe encounters attempt to command her or take advantage of her in some way. This could be because travel during this time was inherently difficult and hostile. But it seems that people take it for granted that no one will believe Kempe’s word or take her side, which could be because she is a woman. A priest, especially, would be well-suited to defraud her because his word would bear much greater weight than hers. Kempe positions herself as nearly a martyr, using these incidents as further fodder for her religious zeal.