11.00am: We’re checking out now, after a late night last night, and we got back in after an exhausting day of traveling and then touring. This hotel would be the best one overall in our experience so far… everything was average. There was a connection – but I had to pay for it, there was a full private bathroom – but it opened out into the girls’ area, there was breakfast – but no OJ, etc, there, so overall, this hotel was average. But it did have one really important thing: Honest Cleaning staff!!! I left my Nano back in the room, but when I came back from touring later on, it was attached in an envelope to my gear bag! A quite unexpected but welcome development.
6.37pm: Leaving Venezia now and I remember why I didn’t like Venezia the first time I came. As lovely as this place is, it is overrun with tourists, students and vendors trying to sell you everything from glasses to bags. Should be back into Rome in about 4 hours, and then I have find the Roma Conference Hotel in the EUR region. The funny thing is that the scene has not really changed in the last couple years. Hopefully, tomorrow morning when I get into the US Airways desk tomorrow, fortune will smile on me and I will get the extension to the flight I want.
Yesterday, we got into Venezia quite late in the afternoon ended up getting a nice little hotel. It was a family type room, where there was the queen sized bed and a second room with three single beds. So once we checked into our rooms, then it was off to explore Venezia, get through the Vaporeto and explore St Mark’s Basilica.
First mission was to navigate the Vaporeto. This can be highly confusing to the new traveler, since the system itself doesn’t appear to run according to a certain schedule. The water taxi system though is the main way that people get around the city, it is prohibitively expensive. The schedule ran something from 6.50 Euros for a single ride to 24 Euros for a 72 hour pass. I have to find out how the locals actually get around the place, either by walking, bus or water taxi, but there must be a combined pass or something that allows the locals to get around. There is a system of 450 bridges that connect all the small little islands together, and of course one can get around the entire set of islands by walking.
We all purchased the 24 hour ticket for 16 euros and then we were off. There are about 6 different lines that run around Venice but they are not numbered in any logical order, so typical in Italy *lol* … We ended up catching the #2 line to San Marco.
Second mission: Get to San Marco successfully. This was completed! Once we got to San Marco, it was a nice little walk down waterfront then we were in the heart of San Marco. It is another one of those legendary piazzas that evokes emotions and thoughts. Once in the heart of the square, the musicians in the square, travelers gazing, couples embracing, all help to inspire romance. There were 5 sets of musicians at different points in the square, each playing different sets of music, of course all coordinated so that they would not conflict with each other. Once in the square, there was the usual: shoot the square from about 1000 angles and viewpoints. There isn’t really much to say about being around Piazza San Marco. The stores are the some of the most expensive and exclusive shops in the world. The people in the square are from all across the world. The Piazza itself is something right out of a movie, especially once the lights around the Piazza come on in the early evening.
9.30pm: I’m on the train here…and I remember exactly why I don’t buy second class tickets when traveling on trains in Europe: British and American High School kids, well Americans period on the trains! In the summer, it is a right of passage or something, the parents send their kids away to experience Europe, by booking some tour, where the kids go off and the parents can think to themselves that their kids are learning something. I have been on this train now in the thick of three sets of separate American kids, all non stop talking for three hours, talking about the most insipid of topics, swearing loudly and of course not believing why Italy isn’t more like the States. The Europeans on the train just pass, shake their heads, roll their eyes and continue. The Chinese guy across from me can barely hide his contempt as he raises the volume on his iPod, louder and louder just to drown these retards out. *sigh!!*
In first class seating on Eurails, I have not had to ever deal with this type of interaction, and it makes my travel experience quite lovely. I look forward to the quiet time on trains between destination as my own personal reflection time, where I ruminate on the previous destination’s events, plan my next set of milestones and more importantly get some needed sleep. I’m already thinking that the next long European trip will definitely be Scandinavia. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark with a nice little stop in Tallin, Estonia seems like a quite logical 15 day trip, it would be a bit more expensive but I think this would be a trip later on next year, as I want to go back and see more of Central and South America.