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Europe » Italy » Friuli-Venezia Giulia
April 28th 2011
Published: June 13th 2011
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Venice




Ministry of Misinformation

The journey from Ljubljana to Venice ought to be an easy one; it’s a relatively short distance and I expect there to be a number of train and bus connections. However the information desks at the bus station and the train station do their best to make it difficult. On my first trip to the bus and train stations I am told that the only train is at 2a.m. and that the only bus is at 5a.m.
Just as I’d resigned myself to an evening on the station platform I learn from a chance conversation with a couple of people staying at the hostel that they are taking a bus to Venice at about 8a.m. I return to the bus station and am told that there is indeed a bus at 8:15!
However back at the hostel again I get into conversation with Chloe and Lauren who tell me that they are booked on a train at about 9 which connects with a bus into Venice. It’s back to the train station! The woman in the ticket office eventually cracks under interrogation and admits that there is a train at a reasonable time. She sells me my tickets! It’s not until I get back to the hostel that I realise that my ticket doesn’t have a train number, a platform number or a time on it. I’m again grateful to Chloe and Lauren who clearly have better interrogation skills than me and managed to come away from the ticket office with a printout with all the information on.



To Venice {At A Reasonable Hour}



As it happens we manage to get on the right train without any difficulties. The train takes us to Villach in Austria from where there is a bus service to Mestre near Venice. The woman in the ticket office back in Ljubljana has tried to get her revenge on us by booking us seats on a bus several hours later. When we arrive at the station we find out there is a bus leaving in about 15 minutes and with a subtle combination of smiling nicely and looking stupid we manage talk our way onto that bus. We never did find out what Villach has to offer.
The bus dumps us out at Mestre which is still about 10km from the centre of Venice. I guess that all accommodation in Venice is going to be really expensive so I decide to investigate this area. I find that there are trains into Venice every 7 minutes costing just €1 and that there are regular buses to the airport from here. One of the hostels is next door to a Chinese restaurant – sorted!
The hostel, Hotel Giovannina, isn’t anything special. I’m not going to find the same standard that I found at Hostel Celica everywhere. It’s actually a 1 star hotel with a couple of dormitory rooms. The light doesn’t work, the plumbing is dodgy, and the vending machine takes my money without delivering the bottle of water. But I guess what you pay for and the location is the most important thing.



Venice



I haven’t been to Venice since I was a student. I think that at that time my cultural experience of Europe was a mixture of Inter-railing {i.e. saving money by sleeping on trains and investigating whatever city we arrived at in the morning} and wine-tasting and I don’t remember too much about Venice. I seem to remember spending most of the time pretending to be Dirk Bogarde.
I have a day and a couple of half-days to see the city. I’m lucky enough to meet up with groups of people while I’m here. On my first afternoon I am wandering around the city completely lost when I find myself in the company of Giuseppe who, despite being a fairly regular visitor to the city, is also lost. He is showing a couple of visitors around and, when we eventually find out where we are, I get the benefit of his knowledge of the city.

On the next day I meet up with Chloe and Lauren who I travelled up from Slovenia with. They’ve met up with another couple of people who are staying at their hostel and now there are enough of us to seriously consider trying to negotiate a gondola tour. Negotiating near the Ponte Di Rialto is a non-starter – a gondola tour from here will cost €120. Not too far away we find a gondolier who agrees to take the five of us for €80 and we succumb – it had to be done!

Everything in Venice is expensive. Accommodation and food at the obvious tourists spots is really expensive, even a basic map from Tourist Information will cost €3. And there are plenty of beyond-up-market shops here. I didn’t even know that €500 notes existed until I saw several of these being exchanged for a handbag!
And Venice itself is so full of tourists! I was hoping that, at least on the day of the Royal Wedding, some people would stay in and watch TV but everywhere is really busy. I spend my time wandering through the streets {usually lost!}, visiting some of the more famous locations but not bothering too much with museums or the insides of churches because they are all too busy. The queues to get inside any of the buildings on Piazza San Marco are almost as long as the queue for the hot-dog stand on a Saturday night in Havana!




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14th June 2011

your hoilay
Well Steve Fantasic pictures looks like your having great fun wish i were their. Really injoying your information about the differents places you have been.

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