This journey is beginning on Monday morning
, starting with a lucky break catching a cab the moment we stepped outside which relieved us from walking with our backpacks. Soon we were on the first of three trains and on our way to Venice. This, however, will take us from 8:11 am until 9:40 pm
. To our surprise, the ride has gone by pretty fast with some absolutely incredible views! I tried to wake Melissa up for as many as I could or take pictures for her. Our first train out of Paris was on the upper, 1st class deck (since we are 26, the Euro pass can only be purchased in 1st class) and was filled with reserved French businessmen. Unfortunately, my first hangover was this morning, we had only enough cash for one water, and no one took Visa at the station so I was hurting on the train and thought I had 3 hours until we could get food and water in Geneva. After another failed attempt to use my card on the train, I returned to my seat feeling even worse and dreading the rest of the ride. Suddenly, with impeccable timing, a complimentary food cart came down the aisle and a plate of croissants,
bread, butter, jam, yogurt, orange juice, and water was set in front of me. Hazzaaaa!! What a life saver! After this rejuvenation, I was able to enjoy the beautiful green and yellow rolling hills, vineyards, and small towns along the way.
After arriving in Geneva, we searched...(sweet, more complimentary snacks and drinks were just offered to us on this train to Venice)... for an ATM while passing pizzerias, gelato stands, and Italian cafes until finally finding a bank. I figured it would be best at this point to grab four days worth of cash to avoid the Visa struggles. However, after some confusion and getting on our next train to Milano, I suddenly realized that we were NOT in Italy yet but in Switzerland! like a tardo, I grabbed 200 Swiss marcs that were going to be useless for the next week or so in Italy. Crap. This ended up being € 88 at the exchange after a greedy €25 for the transaction and fee. Dirty scoundrels! Anyways, back to the 2nd train ride. Probably some of the most phenomenal views of the Swiss alps as we cut the corner of the country to cross into Italy. It began
with an enormous lake that was surrounded by snow peaked mountains and beautiful homes followed by looking up as far as we could to see the tips of sheer cliffs. The rest of the ride after crossing into Italy was filled with great views of lakes surrounded awesome houses, one lake which had a decent size island with a stunning neighborhood. Also saw a helipad at someone's boat dock! After our arrival in Milano and a quick bite, it's off to our final train to Venice!
We arrived in Venice right on schedule at 9:40pm. Upon leaving the train station we discovered a water bus station that cost only €6 one way. I saved a map of the location of our hotel on the iPad (thanks again Andrew!) and studied the reviews online, which gave clues of how to find it. Otherwise, it would have been a very long struggle through a laberynth canals and walkways on our way to the opposite side if Venice. The water bus route was easy to navigate, and finding our hotel was surprisingly simple. The buses cruise through the Grand Canal and have stops about every 100 yards. They're much more affordable than the water taxis and gondolas. Cruising through Venice at night was both haunting and captivating. Beautifully lit buildingsstood out in the dark sky and reflected back at us on the water. After checking into our room, we got wandered our area for an hour or so to get a taste of the city before retiring to bed.
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