An unexpected night in Venice

Well today was a tad of a stress.

It was our first day using our interrailing tickets so we wanted to get to the station early to make sure we got the right train and use our tickets correctly. We aimed to get the 6:50 train which would get us to Venice for 10:33 and then leave on a train at 15:40 to Slovenia. Well, that was the plan.

We got up at 5 to get to the station in plenty of time. After waiting about 40 minutes, we attempted to board the train which we didn’t realise we had to book. So in a panic we went to reserve seats, but the queues to speak to someone about tickets took too long and we ended up missing it. Although we were frustrated, we weren’t on a tight schedule so we booked ourselves on to the next train which was a hour later for an additional €10. The four hour journey provided a wonderful nap time.

Arriving in Venice, we aimed to immediately book ourselves on the later train to make sure we could get out. After queuing for 20 mins we were told that there were no trains going to the Villach (where we were going to change trains in order to get to Ljubljana) but there was a bus. We queued again to book a bus which we were informed was fully booked. So we asked about tomorrow, which was also fully booked. The panic was rising because Venice doesn’t have very good connections to anywhere and whatever way we tried to adjust our route we still had to go via Villach. The staff at the train station were very unhelpful.

When we asked the woman from the travel agents when it would be possible for us to get the next train to Villach, all we were answered with was “foolah” (Full). Now normally I wouldn’t mock someone’s accent, but this woman spoke to us with a sneer and at one point even asked Em a question, and as Em answered it she put her hand up to stop her mid sentence so she could laugh hysterically with her colleague. She was rude, so it seems okay to mock her accent. An eye for an eye and all that. Also it just adds to the hilarity of the conversation that followed.

We decided to alter our plan and travel to Vienna, Austria. Now before I enlighten you to the next scene of the comedy act, I must inform you that Vienna is also spelt Wien, pronounced ‘Vien’ in German, ‘Wen’ in the Romance languages. Em and myself asked the woman how we could get to Vienna. The woman said “Wien”, we said “yes”. The woman said “Wien”, we said “yes”. The woman said “Wien” and we said “Yes! Wien! Vienna! Sí!” She said “Yes okay! But when?”

After about two hours of stressing, we were able to book ourselves onto a train that leaves tomorrow at 13:34 to Innsbruck in Austria. On a tight budget and wanting to leave Italy, we resided to the fact that we had to stay in Venice. But we were then faced with the prospect of finding somewhere to stay last minute in one of the most expensive cities.

Tourist Information provided us with a list of hostels who we frantically called but none had any room. I was now beginning to understand how Mary felt when she was pregnant with Jesus. The train was our ass and there was no room at the inn. We would’ve been grateful for a stable. We spoke to other backpackers at the station who gave us names of places but they were all fully booked. A Canadian boy-man (later named Trevor Toenails) said he was also looking for somewhere to stay. Instead of helping us out, he just latched on and became an annoying nuisance. In the end, someone at Tourist Information managed to call us a hostel which had room for five at the reasonable price of €25 each-for Venice that’s cheap.

Feeling incredibly grateful, we trekked (and I mean trekked) through the maze that is Venice, boarded a water taxi and then found our way to the place we were going to stay, all the while Trevor Toenails was following us. You know how in the olden days when people used to seek sanctuary in churches? Well for our generation we stick to what we know and our respite came in the form of University Halls. Yes, we stayed in Venice University’s Halls of Residence. And it was luxury. A two storey room with our own shower. Sorted. The only bummer was there was no wifi but we would deal with that later. We needed a break. We ditched Trevor Toenails.

Having to stay in Venice was one of the best things that could have happened. Venice is stunning, affluent and so safe. We visited St Marco’s Square and the Rialto Bridge and envied those who could afford a gondola ride. We made our way through the narrow alleyways which provide the main routes for the Venetians and walked in awe past Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel. We finished our night perfectly with an Italian ice cream – easily the best I have ever tasted.

The other interesting thing about Venice is that the whole island has wifi. If you pay €8 you can have unlimited Internet access across the whole of Venice. But then again, round the corner from the station on the left is a Gelato that has free wifi for customers. So unfortunately we had to buy an ice cream in order to use it…

We have all concluded that we would all return to Venice when we were older, richer and probably in love.

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San Marco’s Basilica at dusk

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