Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Venice Day 4

Yesterday, I left you with some cliffhangers :p Now I shall fill in the gaps.

Our fourth day in Venice was very relaxed, as we only had one thing planned before our flight at 10:30 pm. After we checked out of our hotel, we went across the street to the supermarket for our usual breakfast of chocolate chip rolls and milk (they're so good that Adrienne brought a pack of rolls back with her.) Then we hopped on the bus to Venice where we attempted to find the Jewish ghetto. Despite the fact that we kept choosing landmarks that weren't on the map, we found it pretty quickly.

It was a really interesting sight to see, though it was a much smaller area than I expected. However, never having been to a ghetto, I'm not sure what I was expecting in the first place. They had a good number of memorial plaques on the few walls that were there; they've taken down most of them. I was surprised that people still lived there, many (possibly all?) of them Hasidic Jews. Adrienne observed that the ones that lived in Venice were much less somber than the ones that live in Brooklyn :p

We weren't sure what we wanted to do once we were done at the ghetto, but we didn't want to waste our last day there, so we ended up strolling around and using a very advanced system of choosing which way to go- were there stairs or not? We always chose the way with the least, because after three days of walking over bridges, you kind of hate them, as pretty as they are.

After wandering around for a bit, we decided to go back to Mestre, where our hotel was, and explore that, since we hadn't really done so except to find a restaurant. By this point, it was about 4:30 pm. We planned to have dinner around 6:30, grab our luggage from the hotel, and head to Venice to catch the bus to the airport. However once 5:50 arrived, we were both collapsed in front of our restaurant of choice and after awhile, decided to just eat then and go to the airport early (the fact that we really needed to use their bathroom might have had something to do with it, too- you have to pay to use public restrooms in Italy.) But when we tried to get into the building, it was closed. So were all of the other ones. The only eateries open were cafes and "snack bars" (they looooove this name for a place to eat. It's everywhere.) But a cafe or snack bar was not exactly what we were looking for. We needed dinner, not a pasty. But the Europeans, they dine at odd times.

In the end, we grabbed our bags from the hotel, and headed for Venice, deciding that we'd head to the airport now and eat there, since it would be dinnertime by the time we got there. As it turns out, it was really good that we headed out at the time we did, because some problems ensued.

We got off the bus in Venice, and I told Adrienne she could wait at the edge of the crowd for me to get my bus ticket to Treviso rather than drag all of her bags through the big crowd, since she already had her ticket. The queues were really short, and I got in line behind a French couple. Bad decision. They spent far too many minutes ordering two hundred euros worth of tickets. Besides it being a big order, they couldn't understand the ticket officer and vice versa, so it took about five tries for them to get their order across. At this point, Adrienne probably thought I had been kidnapped. When I finally got up to the window, I found out that it was the wrong company. I had to get my ticket somewhere else. Where? "Over there," was the only answer I got before I was dismissed. I asked another worker and was given the actual place to go- across the street. I went back to Adrienne to tell her that we both had to get new tickets and, short story shorter, we did.

Now the next problem- where was our bus? There was one labelled as going to Treviso, but it was the wrong company. There was one with the right company, but there was no destination displayed and no bus driver. I asked someone if they knew where we should go and he told me "D2." We didn't see a D2 parking space, so I thought perhaps I had misheard him and it was B2. We looked for that, but the parking spaces went from B1 to B8. After wandering around more, someone else saw our confusion and pointed out our bus- a vehicle labelled with the name of a different company, that was at the edge of the parking lot blocking a sign that did indeed say D2.

All of this took about half an hour. It was another fifteen to twenty minutes before the bus left for the aeroporto. Yet our adventure was still not over. Once we got to the airport, Adrienne and I had to split up, since she had to check her suitcase (which she has lovingly named Louis. If you've seen Leap Year, you'll appreciate this.)

I got through more quickly and went up to security. This time, I had packed all of my liquids into a properly closing bag, and I thought I was set. Then I walked through the detector and it alarmed. I realised I left my cell phone in my pocket and put it through the proper way, but I still set off the alarm. They used the wand thingy and it beeped. This caused them to look very concerned and I was sternly called signorina and pointed to a corner, where I was patted down and my bag taken away to a security station. They opened it and were very confused by my travel water bottle and retainer case and wiped it down with some sort of paper, which they ran tests on. Through all this, I was being shoved around in a way that suggested they expected me to detonate at any second. They looked kind of disappointed when the test came back negative for whatever substance they were testing for, and I was allowed to go. I still have no clue what set off the alarm- maybe because I had a euro coin in my pocket? I don't know. Either way, this kind of situation is like being carded at a bar or for an R-rated movie (which happens to me more than not)- it's actually sort of amusing when you know you're in the right.

When Adrienne got through, I grabbed something to eat and then we went through the second-to-last bit of security, passed through the last about forty five minutes and then got on the plane. I've heard some not so great things about the company I used, RyanAir: that they nickel and dime you, that it's unsafe, this and that. But I was never charged a penny (or, I guess, pence) more than I paid a month ago and I never felt unsafe. Maybe I just got lucky, but I had a very good experience.

We were very happy to be back in London- if I was happy, I can't imagine how Adrienne felt, since she was away for a week longer than I was. We had an hour long bus ride back to our road, and then we were finally home, both of us exhausted.

Regarding my pictures, I've decided to just add them into the original entries, so check look back to those to see some pictures :)

Today I did some errand-y things- a small grocery shopping trip since I'll be leaving again in two days, the library, where I got some hopefully awesome books, and printing out my documents for said trips. Going to another write-in tonight!


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