Friday, May 11, 2001


What a night!! First off, the train we're on is circa 1960 or something. There are 3 seats on either side of the cabin we're in, and the seats can be pulled out from the wall to form a half-ass bed. It's hard and lumpy, and not long enough for anyone to stretch out. And not enough room for 4 of us either. So Ryan and I pull 2 of the three pairs of seats together, and proceed to lie down, in a squished up manner. Neil and Dave decide they will try their luck sitting in the seats. It's very uncomfortable. We tossed and turned.

When we got to the Italian border, the train stops for a long time. I can remember all kinds of commotion going on in the train car. Cabin doors being opened and closed abruptly, people talking loudly and authoritatively. We're just trying to ignore it all and get some sleep. All of a sudden our door rips open, which startles us all, and a guy in a uniform sternly says, in an Italian accent, "Passports, please." We get up and start stumbling around for our passports. He then says, "Where are you from?", and we mumble Canada. He says, "It's OK then", and abruptly and loudly shuts the door. We then hear the same procedure happening in the next compartment.

AFter this, I remark that they must be looking for someone, and Dave agrees. He heard the officers ask the person/people in another cabin if they were Russian. They must be on the lookout for a Russian coming into the coutrny. It was quite an experience, and kinda cool, actually.

Later in the night, the ticket lady comes by wanting our tickets. We showed our tickets (Eurorail passes) to another guy when we got on the train, but now a woman was checking too. I was on the verge of falling asleep when she came in too.

Then later yet, we made a stop at a station somewhere, and abunch of people got on the train, being noisy, and as they passed out cabin, two of the ripped open our door and slammed it shut, just to see if the cabin was empty. They couldn't be more subtle about it.

Needless to say, no one really got any sleep last night.

When we got off the train, I cashed in $200.00 in travellers cheques, which got me almost 280,000 Lira. I could be a millionaire here!

We had trouble finding rooms at any of the hostels, they were all full. At the train station, some guy approached us and gave us a card for a cheap hotel, so we ended up taking it. The hotel is small, but nice. It came in at a heft 60,000 Lira, which is about $43.00CDN each.

AFter checking into the hotel, we talked around Venice, and took a gondola ride through the canals. That was neat.

Venice will just blow your mind away. The streets are water. They busses are boats. Their taxi's are boats. They don't have garbage trucks, they have garbage boats picking up waste. There is, literally, no motorized transportation in Venice, unless it's on the water. The front entrance to the Casino in Venice is a dock in the Grand Canal. You drive your boat up, and get out and go gamble. Very cool, but very strange to comprehend.

Walked to San Marco square, the "happening" square in Venice. It's on the waterfront and there's lots of touristy stuff there.

Took a bus boat to Murano island, where most of the glass blowing takes place. The glass museum was boring, but the glass blowing we saw them do at one of the "factories" was cool.

Took the bus boat back to the "mainland" and walked in random directions for an hour before finding something we recognized, and were able to find our way back. Ate supper at a pizzeria, and had Italian pizza. Very tasty.

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