The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Brief Affairs

The following takes place on Days 211-213, June 26-28, 2011

After a surprisingly deep sleep on the deck of the ferry, we awoke to the sounds of the overly cheerful British lady on the loudspeaker telling the passengers “Ladies and Gentlemen. We would like to kindly tell you that the a la carte and the self service restaurant are now open. Enjoy your breakfast.” It was early in the morning, probably around 6am. Within an hour we were slowing down as we entered the waters of Venice, Italy.

IMG_8728I didn’t realize just how small the city was. From the ship, we could see to the other side of the islands that made up the city of Venice. When I think of cities in Europe and Italy, I always imagine large swaths of urban landscaping. Now so with Venice. It is a very condensed city. It is connected to the mainland by a long bridge. Mind you, there are a number of communities right on the mainland that one could consider a part of Venice, but that would be the same as saying Oshawa is a part of Toronto.

IMG_8731We left the ferry and got the free shuttle to – the entrance to the port. Maybe saved us a good fifteen minute walk mind you though we still ended up having to walk a good ten minutes into town to grab a water bus to our hostel. As Venice is on a series of small islands criss-crossed with canals and bridges, there are no vehicles within the city itself. The public transit buses coming from the “suburbs” stop at the main terminal for the water bus transit system. It’s a pretty easy system to navigate as there’s really not too many routes these large boats can take.

Our hostel wasn’t on the main Venice islands but on a large island across the river from it. It involved a 30-40 minute ride on the water bus. With our backpacks, we climbed aboard and grabbed a couple seats, Kelly further back in the bus than I. The water taxi was crazy full and when it came time for our stop, we had to try to beat our way through the crowd to get off. I made it. Kelly didn’t.

I was standing on the shore, yelling for her to get off the water bus. I find it odd that the driver and the guy maintaining the bus gate ignored my yells for “Kelly! Get off! Push through the people!” The water bus pulled away with Kelly still on it. There wasn’t anything I could do besides wait and hope she could figure out a way back. Not knowing how long it would take, I took off, found the hostel, checked in, and then went back to the bus stop to find Kelly waiting for me. I swear this girl is going to give me a heart attack.

IMG_8819With our bags successfully stowed away in lockers(as our rooms were not ready yet), we took off to wander the streets of Venice. Without a map at first, it was just a matter of wandering around aimlessly. But considering how small the city itself was, wandering was probably the best way to go about it. This was also our first introduction to the groups I like to call “Cruisers,” the large groups of people that come off the cruise ships to get tours of the city. They are everywhere.

Somehow, we managed to stumble upon the church that the composer Vivaldi had been a pastor at. My initial thought of it going to be easy to navigate the streets of small Venice proved wrong as the streets were all narrow, with many forks and detours and nary a street sign to guide your way. Though that did make things interesting trying to find your way around.

I actually quite enjoyed Venice, even in the short amount of time we were there. Our IMG_8871wanderings brought us to the train station where we bought our tickets for the next day to Florence and the day after to Rome. Instead of paying 80 euros to take one of those canal rides, we opted to go the cheap route and hop a water bus through the main canal and stay on it for the entire circuit. Not exactly in the same romantic category but the price was right and you get a lot of the same views. We did this once in the afternoon and then once again as the sun was setting and the lights of the city came out.

IMG_8876As we had chosen a mid afternoon train to Florence, we woke up early to do some more wanderings of the city. I sent Kelly off ahead as she wanted to get in the long line to enter St.Mark’s Cathedral. I was a bit Cathedral’d out, much like the temples, and stayed behind to check us out and stow away our bags. I re-joined her outside the church and we again wandered the city, finding the concert hall Vivaldi played in and a museum dedicated to him and musical instruments.

IMG_8957A four hour train ride later, and we were in Florence. Somehow I had deleted the email with the address of the hostel off my iPod so I left Kelly with the bags at the train station as I went on what seemed like the longest search for a travel agent or a place with internet of my life. I finally found someone who looked the hostel up on their phone and wrote the address down for me and gave me a map. Where was it? Four blocks down the street from the train station.

IMG_8919We barely scratched the surface in Florence. We had booked another afternoon train to Rome so we awoke early once again and hopped on one of those sightseeing tour buses to get a quick look at the city. We were lucky to have enough time to stop at the main Cathedral and take a tour in it. It was the Cathedral that such famous people as Galileo and Niccolò Machiavelli(author of The Prince) are buried. Beyond that, Florence was just a drive-by. The main Italian event for us was Rome and we wanted a few days there before Kelly’s flight home.

So with that in mind we caught the afternoon train to Rome where we grabbed the metro and suburban train to our final hostel together – a campground 30 minutes outside the city of Rome. We had our own little cabin and everything. It was the perfect place to end up.

Well, until Kelly fell through the bed because of a misplaced board.

1 comment:

  1. Boy did I end up in a lot of weird situations on this trip. I was scared to sleep on that bed after I fell through.