Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day 1 in Venice, Train Ride from Milan, Walking around in the Afternoon

I woke up around 7:45 this morning, I got up a little after 8 am, I waited for two hostel mates to finish using the bathroom.  I knew I was taking a train to Venice today, I had not purchased a ticket in advance, did not know what time I would leave, but I wanted to get started early, I knew the train ride would be at least 3 hours.

I checked out of my hostel room around 9 am, asked for directions to Milan's central train station, and had yogurt and granola cereal for breakfast.  This hostel has free breakfast, so I decided to take advantage of it, before going to the train station.

When I arrived at Milan's Central Station, I saw the line to purchase a ticket from a person was long, I did not want to wait, I decided to use the self-service ticket machine instead. There were several trains from Milan to Venice, one was 20 Euros cheaper than the others, the time was about an hour longer, I decided it was worth the extra time to save 20 Euros, I bought the second class seat on the 11:25 am train.  I had about half an hour before the train left, so I went and bought a sandwich at a cafe in the station.  I also bought some Haribo gummy candies for the ride.

The train was already at the platform, it is unusual for trains to be at the platform over half an hour before departure.  After buying my snacks, I boarded the train, it was not full, I thought I may have a seat section to myself, but as departure time approached, more and more people boarded the train.  By the time the train departed, my four seat section was full.  The trains in Europe often feel cramped too, you are often facing a person, knee to knee in the four seat sections, that's how the train was today.

The train ride to Venice was uneventful, I read my Kindle, and nodded off a couple of times.  The Asian woman in front of me broke into song every now and then while listening to music on her Iphone or she had very loud conversations in Korean, loud enough for the entire train to hear her, even if they did not understand what she was saying.

More and more passengers exited the train as we approached Venice, I had the four seat section to myself when I noticed the water, which indicated we were almost at Venice's Saint Lucia station.

View from train approaching Venice
I knew I would take a water bus to my hotel from Venice's train station, when I got off the train, I went to a booth selling water bus tickets, I bought a one-way ticket for 7 Euros.  The water bus stations were located just outside the train station.  I had to look around before finding Line 1, the line that would take me to the station closest to my hotel.  I asked a woman to take a picture of me, we ended up waiting for the same water bus.  She did not speak any English, but after asking one of the bus conductors something, she gave me her ticket, I think she said train in Italian.  My impression, she did not have time for the water bus ride in Venice, needed to catch a train and was giving me her ticket. I thanked her in Italian and English for the extra ticket.

Lynnae before getting on the Water Bus
The water bus was easy to navigate, it had stops just like a subway or bus, and the line was posted in the bus. I waited for my stop, 3 away from where I boarded the bus, and had no problems until I got to the area near my hotel.  I copied the directions to the hotel from its website, they were clear until the very end, the street the hotel was on, it took me a few minutes and asking a couple of people to find it, once I found the street, I saw the sign for the hotel immediately. I checked into my room, picked up a couple of brochures on walking tours in Venice, charged my camera battery and got a slice of pizza for a late lunch.

I did not have any plans for this afternoon in Venice, I figured I would take it easy and do my serious sightseeing tomorrow.  I decided to walk to St. Marks square, after my camera finished charging, and acquaint myself with the city.  I left for my walk at about 5:30 pm, I ended up walking in the diretion opposite of St. Mark's square, ending up back at Venice's train station.  I walked over the bridge near the train station and explored the areas around there, I did not see any of Venice's landmarks, but it is not guaranteed I would have recognized them if I did see them. 

Lynnae on walk through Venice 
After my walk away from the center of Venice, I turned around and headed back to my hotel. I think I walked for about an hour, I did not look at the time, so I am not sure.  I did not see a car during my walk through Venice, all transportation was on Venice's canals, I saw private boats, Gondolas, water taxis, water buses, and two men kayaking.  The only motor vehicles I saw were when I passed Venice's bus station, I could see a highway in the background too.

Kayakers on Venice Canal 
After my walk, I did not do much, I overheard talk in the lobby about flooding tonight.  The woman at the reception desk was advising people to be in by 10 pm unless they had a boat, because the city would be flooded.  I read online that sirens are sounded in Venice when flooding is expected, I heard a series of long sirens during my walk, possibly to alert residents of the impending flood.  When I went to get dinner at 9pm, a woman at the restaurant said they were closing early because of the flooding.  I asked her if they would make me a pizza for take away, they agreed.  I got my usual, spicy salami, Europe's pepperoni. The pizza was good, it was not as good as what I got in Naples, but Naples is the home of pizza.

Tomorrow, I will get to the major landmarks in Venice.  I have not decided if I will go on one of the walking tours or just visit the sites on my own.  I will figure it out when I get to St. Marks Square sometime tomorrow.  

Day 1 in Venice Photo Album 

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