Sunday, October 30, 2005

In case you are wondering, the tower at Pisa is still leaning!

We made our way to Venice via Pisa to see the tower. That meant many extra hours on the train. Now, at first, train travel can be an exciting new adventure. But, if you make the mistake, as we have, of having WAY too much luggage, well, then, train travel can be something short of a nightmare.

We are tired of the train. We are even tired of pizza (the most economical item to eat here). We even dared eating at a McDonald's for FAR more euros than I can to admit. The french fries did not taste quite like french fries. The hamburger did not taste quite like a hamburger. But it was not pizza.

Once on the train from Pisa to Venice, we were a bit dismayed to learn that we would have to change trains in Mestre, just outside Venice. We were even told to change platforms, which meant dragging four (yes, you read that correctly) suitcases down a set of stairs and back up the other side. Once we arrived, huffing and puffing, on the platform, we discovered a sign that indicated we could have caught a train just 10 minutes later back where we were. We were thankful, however, to soon be finishing our last train ride.

So, in the dark, we walked through the streets of Venice, lugging our baggage, to look for our hotel. When we finally arrived at the hotel, it was almost comical to learn that our room was on the 3rd floor and that there was no elevator (or as they call it, no lift). I was quite upset. How were we going to get our bags up and then down three flights of stairs? How was I going to go up and down three flights of stairs every time I left the room? Tears were at the ready, but just as there was nothing I could do about the entire country shutting of airconditioners, there is nothing I can do about the fact that very, very few hotels in Venice have an elevator.

When we were brought to the room, an afterthought squeezed in between two buildings with an outside entrance that you reach by another short set of stairs after climbing up to the third floor, we did laugh to see that the miniscule shower was even smaller because it had been stuck beneath a set of stairs or something. There is no curtain. It floods when we use it. People walking the canal are quite noisy, even three flights up. And while we have actual beds, after sleeping on cots for the five nights in Florence, these beds are rock hard. Another opportunity to just be thankful for our time in Italy, eh?

I could say, that while I knew that no trip would be perfect, I am quite disheartened at how many obstacles I have faced here.

I am looking forward to being back home.

I wonder what Venice will be like?

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