Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ah Venice

Headed out from rainy Berlin early and enjoyed a nice ride through the countryside. Changed trains in Munich and shortly afterwards learned that the Italian transport workers were on strike so the train was only running to Austria. Luckily they were organised and had replacement buses waiting for us at Innsbruck, so spent the next 5 hours on the bus driving through the mountains past lots of picturesque Austrian villages and Italian vineyards before making it to Verona where the trains were running to Venice. Unfortunately the buses from Venice to the campsite I was staying at were not, so really picked the best day to arrive in Italy. Luckily met some other stranded travellers at the bus stop (people were just lining up anyway because about 1 in every 10 buses was running, just depended on if the driver was striking or not) who knew where the camp shuttle buses went from and eventually made it to my dorm (hut really) about 17 hours after leaving Berlin.

The people that helped me find the shuttle assured me that it had been sunny and warm for the last week at least so when I woke up in the morning to find it once again cold, gloomy and pouring with rain I was really starting to take it personally. Headed into the city anyway and with no real plan, just spent the next 12 hours getting as lost as possible to see what I could find. The city is really amazing. For one thing there are no cars, bikes or fast food restaurants which is really nice. Its pretty impossible not to get lost in there as well its all canals and narrow alleys surrounded by tall buildings so you can't really pick out a landmark to get your bearrings. Half the time you will think you're walking towards a major attraction only to find yourself at a dead end or on the other side of a canal from where you thought you were. The best part of that is that it means you are always finding amazing places hidden away and you don't get bored of walking up and down the same streets all the time, everytime I tried to find my way back to somewhere i ended up taking a completely different route.

Eventually stumbled upon the huge San Marco square with its amazing Basillica and people sitting at cafes or feeding the pigeons. More wandering took me to a quiet part of town where i grabbed a huge slice of pizza and sat on a bridge watching the gondolas for a while. The sun finally came out about 4ish and the whole city was completely transformed so treated myslef to a gelati and joined the other people watchers soaking up the sunshine around the square. The rest of the afternoon went on in about the same way. Found an art exhibition by modern Asian artists right next to the beautiful Chisesa di Santa Maaria della Salute, and sat on the steps outside Peggy Guggenheim's apartment listening to a lute player serenade me with classical Italian music (well he was busking but I was the only one there so it was like being serenaded). Had a huge dinner at one of the many restaurants and eventually headed back to the campsite, planning on spending the next day relaxing by the pool.

That plan went rather quickly awry when I once again woke up to rain. Maybe Susan will bring the sunshine when she joins me in Nice. Headed back into the city to book my seat to Rome and do a little shopping. Bought myself a new bikini and wandered amongst the canals for a while longer just in case the weather would warm up in the afternoon like it had yesterday...the universe apparently found my optimism amusing and made it even colder so instead had to settle for a relaxing afternoon adjusting my plans for the second half of the trip and, of course, trying to squish everything back into my pack. I'd say I don't know how it all manages to spread so far in 2 days but, well anyone who's seen my room at home wouldn't really be surprised by that accomplishment :P Off to Rome in the morning :)

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