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My Wanderings and Musings
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I am safe and sound at the convent in Venice! But not without drama of course. I took a cab to the train station and realized I must have gotten off originally at the wrong stop because this was not where I originally ended up when I arrived in Verona. Damn... So I got my ticket, ordered and inquired of the platform, all in Italian mind you and made it on the train to Venice, no problemo, right? Of course there was a problem....
There are train cops that come by and check your tickets occasionally. I not only got a fine for not stamping my ticket (no idea I needed to) and one for sitting in a first class car. Holy crap, I was clueless. After discussing all this with the train cop, I felt extremely stupid since there was a big 1 on the car, glass, and seats. A total of 48 euros which is a pretty hefty fine. In the end he took pity on me and only charged me 18 euro for the upgraded seat. That made me happy being that I was quite cozy in my spacious area. I just figured it was a nicer train than the one I was on before. Unfortunately the train cop did not want his picture taken. Too bad it's not an arrest-able offense.
Upon a smooth arrival at the Venice train station, I was forced to get on a
"bus". The water taxis are 60 to 70 euros for one ride so I was again challenged by public transportation. As you might imagine I was hesitant, but in venice my only other option was to swim. A water bus got me to my destination without too much hassle, though.
Venice is crowded and confusing and just when I learned to read a map, my friend Rick says don't read street names in Venice, go by landmarks. Are ya kidding me? The streets of Venice are layed out like a bunch of puzzle pieces that were just thrown up in the air and landed where they pleased. Since it was fairly late and I was baffled by the multitude and multitude of sights to see and how to get there, I took a chance on a nightly pub crawl tour from my guide book that takes you to all the hidden bars of Venice. Alessandro was the guide and even though I had no reservation, he was delighted to take me along. It was nice to have company, good wine and see some crusty old wine bars, one of which has been in business since 1430 something. It was a charming evening.
Now I'm getting ready to meet my group tomorrow, doing some laundry, enjoying the quiet of a unique overnight stay. This convent has no curfew, but I assume it is because everything closes here by 10 anyway. Strange compared to Verona and Padua, but fine with me. Being on my own has been such a blessing and I'm having mixed emotions about joining the group. I'm sure it will be equally amazing in a different way. Plus, I think I could get lost here and never find my way out. Best to have a guide for a while.
Missing my pooches...
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I picked the risotto too ;)
What a memorable day! It started at 7am in an Ancient Roman arena and ended at 6 pm in a medieval castle on the river (which I explored for serveral hours) Actually, it ended with a wild mushroom white truffle risotto foodgasm and a glass of Veronese wine, but I'm here for the sightseeing, right? I'm sorry but I don't think I have the will to come home. And I thought 3 weeks would be too long of a trip. Lisa, get the dogs, my cat and my roommate ready to ship and do deliver them in person. I'll find the address of the golden retriever loving Padua bartender and you can just send them all there.
I'm exhaustied but high and happy in my heart. Verona is an enchanting city. The sidewalks are lined with pink and white marble and the buildings are smooshed together in a puzzle of different colors oozing at the cracks and seams with ivy, moss and flowers. The people are much more lively and loud than in Padua. It seems to be a younger more raucous crowd.
I walked, climed stairs, walked, drank cappaccino, climbed more stairs, walked, drank wine and saw the most spectacular sights. With all that activity, you would think I would shed pounds like crazy, but I have a feeling the exercise will only counteract the calories I inadvertently consume every block or so just smelling the bread. The Italians are like crack dealers with the bread!
The churches are becoming my favorite places to see. My count was 4 today and I find it is more meaningful to appreciate the plethorah of art in such awe inspiring setting, not to mention the structures themselves. Only the occasional blessing by a priest in the background or a short haunting organ line or two to disturb the introspective silence. Mostly I hear only the echos of my own footsteps behind me in the amazingly acoustic setting.
I was giddy beyond all hope at the castle. I'm sure I appeared a complete dork to the museum workers. Climbing up to every ledge and nook possible, smiling from ear to ear, staring in awe at the medieval weaponry and horse tac, fantasizing about my medieval Max riding across the moat, without his chest armor of course....I do realize I am a hopeless geek.
No huge mishaps today. Whew! Rick redeemed himself after I followed his path A Walk Through Old Verona. His instructions were right on, but his suggestion for taking the bus back to the hotel was ignored. Due to my recent ineptitudes in traversing public transportation systems, I played it safe and walked back. Tomorrow I must get to Venice for my 1st stay with the nuns and I hope to pull this off without a glitch. I've acquired some significant insights into traveling thus far....
Lesson # 1- it's always worth the taxi fare from the train/airport to save time, trauma and undue stress to my mother
Lesson # 2 - if you buy a glass of wine at a wine bar, they not only help you find your way, but speak much better English.
Lesson # 3 - only get lost once because one glass of wine is my limit on these uneven cobblestone streets.
Lesson # 4 - evidently Italian "vegetarians" eat fish and most of them have never met anyone who would ask for no cheese, and soy milk must be some kind of exotic beverage from mars. (loving the food though)
Lesson # 5 - journal all your experiences so they are not lost with time
Lessons to be continued...
Cin cin, Cherish-a