Leaving Rome for Venice

EuroTrip 2006

11 August 2006


For lack of another nearby restaurant, we eat at the same place as yesterday. But they can’t go wrong with a coffee and bread breakfast, right? Right. After breakfast, I go to the post office near the train station to mail some of Kaitlyn’s stuff home. This is an adventure. The post office doesn’t have any boxes I can use, neither does the street vendor across the street, neither does the man in the cigar shop that the street vendor refers me to, neither does the guy in the general store around the corner. Lo, when I return to the post office, I discover some boxes just outside the post office door. Someone must have discarded them while I was running around. Convenient. I buy some tape in the post office, cram everything into one box, go to the counter only to discover that I am €5 short.

I go to the ATM, mail the package, then at the sunglasses shop I meet up with mom and Kaitlyn, who has just purchased her Gucci’s. We walk to the train station to catch a cab to the Vatican. It rains briefly as we step out of the cab, but clears up within 5 minutes, so we stand in line.

We are prepared for the Vatican dress code, but they don’t seem to stop anyone in shorts or tank tops like we expect.

St. Peter’s Basilica must be the ultimate Catholic experience. What a place. I like how it is shaped like a cross. There are statues all over the place and it’s huge. Kaitlyn feels kind of spooked from the place. I guess cathedrals with their stained glass and cold stone walls are the setting for many a horror movie, which she is very familiar with. :-) It’s funny that the steps going down in front of alter remind her of steps down into hell. I kind of agree; they are strangely lit with orange-yellowish light. I come to find out later that these are the steps that lead to the supposed tomb of St. Peter.

As you probably know, Vatican city is a city-state of it’s own, so we must visit the post office. We get some stamps and mail a card or two. It’s time for lunch, so when a guy in the street stops us to advertise a restaurant, we don’t stop him and he leads us all the way there. We sit inside and have a wonderful meal, better than any Italian food so far. Luckily we just finish eating when a huge tour group walks in, a group with at least one member who smells like ripe toe jam. Quickly, we pay, tip, leave!

After walking all the way to the entrance of the Vatican Museum, and just having eaten, we are very tired. We decide not to see the museum, but that’s okay, we’re very happy with what we’ve seen of Rome. What an experience. I think Rome is Kaitlyn’s favorite place, too, with the great shopping, Gelato, weather, and who can’t fall in love with all the history and architecture that remains intertwined with the modern. We take a cab to the hotel and get ready to catch the train to Venice.

a Venezia!

On the train, we meet a couple from Alberta, Canada, also on their way to Venice. They comment on how unprepared they are, and I realize that I don’t have a phone number or address of the Hotel we are staying at. I only have the name of the hotel. Oops.

The dinner on the train is very similar to the meal that we had on the train into Rome. It’s about as tasty as the last place we ate at in Rome, which wasn’t half bad.

We arrive at 21:38. The view is beautiful, but nearly everything is closed at this hour. Kaitlyn and mom sit on the steps in front of the train station and yack while I scamper about trying to find our hotel.

I find a map in a nearby souvenir shop, but without a hotel address, the map is useless for now. I meet a couple who is thumbing through a Venice Frommer’s Guide to try to understand the transportation connections here in Venice. They look for our hotel in their guide, but it’s not there. “Thanks anyway,” and on to plan B.

The pay phones only take credit cards, and I’m not in the mood to call Italian information without knowing the language. I find help in the strangest of places. I call my cell phone’s customer service, which is in the US, and although it’s not the usual service they provide, the guy is willing and able to get me the phone number and address for our hotel after he fumbles around on the internet for about 15 minutes. Cool. Now, to call the hotel. The guy at the desk speaks enough English through a thick Italian accent to be able to tell us which boat to take and give us directions.

We take a little trip on the boat, walk two blocks to our hotel, and the kind old man shows us to our apartment. We’re pooped. We’re so pooped that we drop the cell phone when someone tries to call us. Phone “number two” goes blank and dead. And now we have none.

Gary Faircloth

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