This is going to be a long one… Ryan’s blogging too so hopefully that will make up for the recent dry spell for all of our adored readers…
We left off in Munich…
Our last day in Munich we went to see Neuschwanstein castle. Its neat, a castle, disney based cinderellas castle on it… what else, oh, Crazy king ludwig built it as a tribute to Richard Wagener(please say it like this: Ree-cahd Vahg-nah as its way more funny if you do, and thats how our super cute little neuschwanstein guide who looked like Wednesday Adams said it. Anyway, I think there was probably some King Luddy + Reecahd Vahg-Nah hahnky-pahnky going on because its a pretty extravagant tribute to your buddy otherwise. Theres lovely scenary, mountian air and crystalline alpine lakes… gorgeous. I got really crabby though waiting behind some snarky elderly tour group in the hot hot sun. You feel like such a cow or a sheep when you go to some of the more heavily touristed places… Anyway, nice castle… maybe not worth the sweltering two hour bumpy screeching train ride and pushing our way through swarms of buzzing tourists but then again Ryan and I laughed the whole trip back, imagining Luddy and Ree-Cahd Vahg-Nah prahn-cing around Neuschwanstein together. “Ree-cahd, I have a suh-prise for you! I built you a Cah-stle!” “Oh Luddy, you shouldn’t hahve!”
That evening, we picked up our bags from the Wombat hostel and went to the train station to wait for our night train to depart. While waiting we got to watch Brazil beat up on Croatia a little bit. Oh and we bought a disposable camera too so now when we take pictures we are so emabarassed because we have to wind it up. “eeh-eeh-eeh… welcome to the technology of CRT and RPK!” Some of the tourists have two cameras hanging around their necks! Not fair! “eeh-eeh-eeh!”
At about 11 30 pm we hopped on our night train to venice… sounds like a movie huh? Just wait till you hear the storyline…
We had reserved a couchette, not really knowing what to expect but willing to go with it… Imagine an airplane seat laid all the way back and then crammed into a tiny closet with 5 other airplane seats and you might get an idea of how comfortable that was. But it was a bed of sorts and it made for a pretty good night’s sleep. We had five roomates, all of which were pretty hilarious. Strange young couple sleeping above us, super drunk alabama frat boy who delayed the train 45 minutes while he looked for his passport and ticket, and an eastern european dude who climbed up the ladder to his bed whitout a word, and fell immediately to sleep. The train guy takes your tickets and passports so that when customs boards the train when you cross the border, they dont have to wake everyone up. Giving up my passport always makes me a little nervous, and the train guy was quick to ease my mind by looking at me and laughing and saying something about the Italian Mafioso… sweet dreams little girl!
At somepoint during the night we lumbered into Italy, Ryan and I asleep the whole time abd when we woke up and looked out the window, there it was! Italy. and a misty early morning fog laying quietly over the landscape. Promising. And romantic. We got off the train in Venice, stored our bags, made our first mistake of the day which was to not have any cash when we tried to get a map at the toruist office and got really snarky looks of disgust from the Tourist Office lady when we had to go and get cash… (if you can’t be nice to dumb tourists in the tourist office, where are you going to be nice to them? Italy’s answer to that is NOT EVER!) we tried to shrug it off and went in search of the espresso that we’ve become so heavily addicted to. Keep in mind its about 8 am.
Here is where it starts to really break me down. We wakled about 2 blocks through beautiful crumbling Venice alleyways and found a friendly looking Venetian coffee shop, went in, ordered two espresso and two croissant things, smiled, payed, said bonjourno, por favore and grazia and then made our way to one of the empty tables in the corner of the cafe. The lady who we’d just been pleasant and polite to, who we’d smiled at and who’d smiled back starts screaming at me “LAdy Lady lady! then something in Italian” Of course I had no idea what she was saying and tried my best to pick out a word or two, tried to read the flailing around of her arms but to no avail. She gave up and waved me off… I was bewildered and embarassed and just decided that she’d let me know if we hadn’t paid enough or something… but she walked back behind the counter and I started drinking my coffee, eating my croissant and pulled out my tourist office map to get myself oriented with Venice’s tangle of streets. About three minutes later she starts yelling at us again… I look to the people to our left and right, for help translating what I am doing that is making her yell. The lady next to me says ” she say it’s expensive, you have to get out. you can’t sit here.” Oh. The australian girls on the other side say “it costs more if you sit down to eat, we just found that out too!” Oh. Awesome. 8 AM, first day in Venice and I’ve gotten in trouble twice already! This place is great! Let’s go see more ! I chugged the rest of my espresso and Ryan and I fled in fear up onto a bridge where we stopped. Caught our breath and I had a nice cry. I hate getting in trouble. We try every minute of every day to be considerate, and quiet, respectful, patient, understanding. For three weeks we’ve walked on eggshells around europe, terrified of purpetuating the stereotype of the ugly american and it’s served us pretty well so far. Now in Italy, here ten minutes and pissing people off left and right. We decided to avoid any further contact or communication with anyone in Venice and just started walking. Which was a lovely calming morning. Like wandering through a maze, losing yourself in the tiny alleyways and canal-side streets, admiring the beauty and trying not to think about what else we might do wrong. About noon we stopped walking aimlessly and Ryan the map genius found us a way back toward the train station. I’ve learned that anytime I think I might know what direction we should go, I am wrong. No sense of direction. If it weren’t for Ryan, I’d still be in Paris, walking north. Anyway, found a place for lunch had GREAT pizza, I gave my leftovers to a bum, thinking always about karmatic law, and headed back to the tarin station to pick up our bags.
The plot thickens… So we’d found that prices for hostels and hotels were outrageous and I booked us into a hotel on a neighboring island called Lido… a short ferry ride across the bay and we’d have a beach with a cool shipwreck and some peace. We’d be able to go into Venice for another day of exploring but leave the tourist chaos there and head back to our beach. Well… not exactly. We took the water taxi or Vapporetti to Lido Island and pulled out the map to locate our Hotels address on the map… nope, not there. It turns out that there’s Lido Island and the there’s Lido di Jesolo… two completely different islands. The man we asked said…” Lido di Jesolo, that’s VERY far away. Its lovely but it’s far from here. ANother ferry ride and a bus ride and about an hour and a half later we arrievd at Lido di Jesolo and the Hotel Marco Polo.
It was great… a little like the Jersey shore of Italy but we spent two days getting sunburned, playing in the Adriatic sea, Ryan’s first time swimming in salt water, eating pasta, pizza and gelato, (which is what we will eat every day until we leave italy: pasta, pizza, ice cream, wine, espresso… what else?!) and just relaxing. I’m sure we’ll come across more beuatiful and peaceful beaches but after the advenure it was getting there, Lido di Jesolo was just fine.
Friday morning we took a direct ferry back to Venice where we went straight to the train station. I regret maybe a little not seeing more sites in Venice, but maybe next time…now that I know the rules. AT the station we learned that everyone and their brother was headed in the direction of Florence and it would be a couple of hours before we could get on a train. That’s cool… time for more pizza! At 1 22 pm we boarded a train for Florence for what we thought we be about a three hour ride. Sing it with me now…”A three hour tour!”
Posted from Italy:
posted Sunday June 2006