After leaving my enchanted Cinque Terre we boarded another train bound for Venice – our last stop of Italy. The train ride was enjoyable, and relaxing. I found myself lost in a story from my downloaded Audible book and looked forward to our next place while pondering and reveling in the memory of the last place. One thing that I hadn’t realized until that day was that Venice is really two places. What I mean is that we went to the Venice train station and planned to put our bags in locker storage for the day until we caught the night train back to Germany. This was at station Venezia Mestre; however, this train station was not the Venice that everyone knows, we needed to board another short train over the water to Venezia Santa Lucia. This would come into play later in the day.
As we got off at Santa Lucia and exited the train station, we were immediately swept into the romance of what we all know as Venice! The sounds the sights, the color, the water, the bridges. It was absolutely breathtaking.
Most of the pictures I use on this blog were taken by 2nd Man – the love of my life, Lynn. If it weren’t for him, we’d have no photos, videos or audio remembrances of our life. He loves to film it for the future, whereas I love to live in the moment and soak it all in. Letting each sight, smell and sound imprint into my brain. I love to try to figure out with words how to describe it. But, by this time, I’ll be honest, my eyes, my nose, ears, brain and heart could scarcely take in anymore! It’s like I’m about to burst and need some iCloud storage for my memories. How do you describe a place like Venice? Well, mostly by photo.
Oh don’t let me sound too romantic. It is a tourist trap, but can it really be a trap if you know what you’re getting into? I mean, ok, yes, we did the American touristy thing and splurged for a gondola ride. But why not?! I mean my one time in Venice – uh yea, I’m gonna do it. And guess what – it was so worth it. Even when you know you’ve paid too much for something, its one of those things that you don’t regret, as you glide through the canals allowing yourself to be entranced by all of the colors and mystery of the architecture of this seemingly floating city. Wondering if people really live here? And what kind of mold problems must they have? But thinking, who cares its super cool and I want to be fooled by this romance. However, we didn’t go all out and pay for the singing gondolier, but somebody else in the canals near us did and we were able to enjoy their splurge. It was magnificent as he sang and the sound was carried by the water throughout the area.
As we made our way to the meeting place for this gondola ride, we felt a bit in a panic which made if almost feel movie like. Venice is a labyrinth of canals and alleyways. In this technological age of google maps we found ourselves lost as the towering concrete buildings blocked our signal. We turned one way then another wondering if we’d ever find our way. It was frustrating and awesome all at the same time. Around each turn was another alleyway of little shops and restaurants, which made me wonder how they stay in business if you can never find the same place twice?
We wove our way through the crowd (once we found them) and finally to the meeting place. We had time to spare so we decided it would be good to enjoy some coffee and dessert. My first try at a cannoli in Italy and I was not disappointed I might add. It was fabulous! We did a little bit of shopping in the leather goods shops and bought some bracelets in the venetian glass shops. It really was an enchanted day for which I will let the pictures do most of the talking here.
When we were finished, we finally made our way back through the labyrinth to the train station and back to Venezia Mestre. It was on this short train trip that the conductor came through checking tickets and gave me a stern Italian inquisition. “Why did you not put the right train station on here!” he asked. To which I responded that I put Venice and I thought I was in Venice. Apparently, it was a major no no that I didn’t list both train stations and he let me know that he could fine me right then and there for this infraction, but instead left me with a warning. I was thankful for this as I had read that the Italian train conductors were pretty strict and known for fining people on the spot.
When we made it to Venezia Mestre station, Lynn and I were looking at the departure list and couldn’t find Munich anywhere. We were supposed to be catching the Night jet train to Munich! When we asked at the customer service area the gentleman let me know in a very patronizing tone that it was on the board! “We saw Monaco, but not Munich” I said, to which he replied, “Monaco is Munich!” like duh!! This is where we just shook our head lost in the confusion that is European travel. What we Americans call Munich, the Germans call München, and the Italians call Monaco. (Oh and they also call Monaco – Monaco!) I guess they all come from the root that means Monk. It was founded by Benedictine Monks so who knew!? Well apparently, the unamused rail station manager who thought I was an idiot (roll eyes).
So we finally made it onto the Night Jet. We were all kind of excited at taking this type of train which we hadn’t tried yet. Of course, I didn’t get pictures, but I’m not even sure I could have moved my elbows enough to capture a picture. The five of us squeezed into a room that was about the size of a handicap bathroom stall with walls as thick as the stall dividers. This meant that we could hear everything our neighbors said or in our case every snore they snored. Still, though, we were having fun with the adventure of it all. There were six bunks stacked three to each side. Jarod and I climbed up to the top, the girls took the two middle bunks and Lynn took one of the bottom bunks. Once I wrangled my body up into the bunk there was no more moving for the night for me. The attendant came through and asked if we would like to have breakfast in the morning and we decided that we should since we would have to quickly switch trains in Munich and couldn’t afford to miss our train to Mannheim. Did I mention this was a Saturday night train? Yes, leave it to me to reserve a trip when 2nd man had to preach the next day leaving no room for error. It seemed like a good plan on paper, but after our trouble getting to Italy, we were left nervous that we might miss something. He told us that they would serve breakfast around 5:30 am so we set our clocks and turned out the lights. Unfortunately we didn’t actually get very much sleep. The train stopped for long periods of time a couple of times in the night, and Lynn and I both were nervous that we were sleeping through our alarms or something. Then we heard the noise of knocking and “Guten morgen!” coming down the hallway. I checked my phone and it was only 4:30am! We were puzzled that they were maybe serving breakfast so early!? When the knock finally came to our door and 2nd Man opened it was the police! They shone a flashlight in all of our faces and wished us a good day when they didn’t find whoever they were looking for. With sleep alluding us we finally awoke fully and put all the bunks up turning our little bathroom stall back into a seating cabin. When breakfast finally arrived, we had a good laugh as they served each of us two large rolls the size of my fists, butter, and cold coffee. So with the romance of the night jet train travel out the window we were ready to be back in Germany
And with that, I will leave you as we put this Italy trip to rest and move onward with the adventure…