Saturday, April 18, 2009

Quotes from Mike: Venice (Spring Break part I)

Well what a whirlwind of the last 2 weeks. As you know, I have been out of the country becoming a worldy traveler-adding stamps to my passport. 10 days involves a boat load of stories so I am going to break this up city by city-like chapters in a book. Wow, this blog is becoming pretty legit.
Here we go.
Monday April 6th, marked the beginnings of my ten day journey. Along with my companions, Mike, Alyssa and Katie, I was heading off to Italy, Venice to be exact. We had an early morning flight and rolled out of NIDO (mike katie and I)at roughly 3:30 am. We had the front desk call us a taxi which we took to Baker Street (Yes, the very same street as Sherlock Holmes) and from their we were catching a coach bus to the airport. Alyssa was staying at a hostel not to far from there so we met her there. We didn't know exactly where the bus was picking us up but we ran into this random girl that was getting on the same bus and she had a map. Once we looked at it Mike said he remembered where the stop was because a buddy of his had to go there a week before. So off the the bus stop we went, we thought. About 8 blocks later we decided we were heading in the wrong direction and after a girl assesed the map we decided that Mike had taken us in the opposite direction. So we jaunted back to where the stop officially was. It normally wouldn't be an important fact to point out that a girl found the correct way but it was just the night before when Mike tried to convince Katie and I that, "girls need a man to travel with." Mike is from the south so we excuse his idiotic, traditional ways of thinking and taken pleasure often when he eats his words; times like these for example. Anyway, we got to the bus stop and our bus pulled up about 3 min. later. We hopped on the bus and arrived at the airport about an hour later. Walking into the airport it was a little chaotic because it was the morning rush. Alyssa and I checked in at the kiosks provide and had no problem. With Katie's ticket she had to go to the ticket counter and get a stamp (same rule that I had to deal with in Ireland). Mike on the other hand had a rough time. When he bought his ticket online he didnt chose his ticket option. Like between aiport check-in (Alyssa and I) or online check-in (Katie). So he had to run around getting sent from line to line-he was like a deer caught in headlights. He probably wouldn't have made the plane if I didn't jump in and do some talking to the airline workers. During this drama Katie and Alyss went ahead to make sure at least they caught the plane. We finally got mike his ticket and we went to go through security which had a terribly long line but we were getting thourgh it. We had another hiccup when Mike's bag got stopped to be searched at security. So I went ahead-figuring 1. that I could try and hold the plane for him and 2. I didn't wan to miss my flight just because Mike was being dumb. So I made it to the gate as they were finishing up boarding, here I caught up with Alyssa and Katie. Who were freaking out because they were afraid that we weren't going to make the plane and because I had all of our hostel and transport information. About a minute later Mike came up from behind and we all made it on the plane with about 1 minute and a hlaf to spare. Seriously what it with my luck and transportation?
The flight to Venice was pretty smooth. I tried to nap the whole way and was pretty successful. Katie did wake me up at one point as we were flying over a set of mountains I had no reference to where I was at the time to know which ones but it was probably one of the prettiest sights I had ever seen. Imagine snow capped mountains, that seemed so close that I could reach out and touch them, shining in morning light as the sun is rising. Ah-Mazing.
We landed in Venice, got stamps in our passports (yay), and caught a bus to take us to Fusina. Fusina is where our campsite was which is right on the border of Venice. Venice is an island in north Italy and Fusina is the closest you can get without staying in the actual city-which is a bit expensive for a student budget. The bus from the airport dropped us off at a bus/train stop where we had to catch a bus to our campsite. We arrived and about 5 min later the bus that we needed pulled up-awesome timing. A few people got on we gathered our things and as Katie went to step onto the bus the driver shut the door on her face. It was the weirdest thing-he just shut the door and drove away. We couldn't even get mad-it was so funny. Just picture a jolly child running towards a sucker just to find out it was actually a a piece off poo on a stick. Because that was Katie's reaction. It was hilarious. The situation kept us laughing for quite a while until we realized that we would have to wait 2 more hours in direct sun for the next bus. That was a bit annoying but I was too excited to be in Venice to let it get to me. So the bus shows up for the second time, and it was the same driver-we laughed. We made it onto the bus this time and headed to the campsite. It was a smooth ride until our driver pulled over in the middle of no where and just left the bus, without warning. We waited a couple of minutes and then came along a new driver. I had heard about crazy Italian driving but to experience it first hand was quite the...experience. We got to the campsite, Camping Fusina, and checked in. Our cabin was rather cute 2 joined rooms, 2 beds in each. The campsite had its own market, bar and restaurant which was a plus. We arrived early enough that we caught the ferry service the camp offered. In essence a ferry boat to take us to the island. It was about a 15min ride that was amazing. Hot sunny weather on the sea. Heaven. Once we arrived to the city we chose to walk around and explore the city. It isnt that big but has a million tunnels and alleyways which make it very easy to get lost. We stumbled upon this great gelato place there-it was delicious! I had never had gelato before and it was pretty exciting to be trying it for the first time in Italy. After a couple of hours we headed back to the dock to catch the last boat back to the campsite. I/ we were pretty exhausted from traveling so we pretty much hung out in the cabin for a little while and went to bed. We woke up tuesday morning ready to go. We had some time to kil before the next ferry boat so we wandered around the campsite. Since it is literally on the edge of Italy there was a rock beach on the grounds so we went to the market and bought some fruit for breakfast and sat on the shore. We went and jumped on the boat and headed to the island. We decided to head to San Marco Square which is the tourist attraction of the city. So we went and toured the palace there adn it was gorgeous inside and afterwards we walked around the shore. We had great weather each day and I tried to take advantage and get some sun--but this led to me looking like the idiot because I would always bring my sunglasses but never wore them, they always sat atop my head. Then we jaunted off to this little market that we knew of and it was amazing a ton of hand crafted items that were great. Venice is famous for its Carnival they hay every year-a huge masquerade party. So I bought a hand made Venetian mask, signed by the artist. It is important to check for the signature because a lot of the stuff is just made from China otherwise. I was and still am very excited about it but it is a actually really creeper to wear, the paerson looks like serail killer. Oh well, I plan on hanging it on my wall in my aprtment next year anyway. I also bought some other classic Italian items but I shall not disclose what they are on here because my mom is reading this and I want her to be surprised when i bring them back. But other than that I bought this cool postcard that I plan on framing and hanging up as well. You'll find that this whole trip was one where I constantly searched for room decorations for next year. After we did our souvenir shopping we went and decided to go to dinner and eat at an actual restaurant. the menu from the outside had the most expensive plate of pasta at 9 euros so we decided to try there. Well when we went to go pay we were charged 16 euros (20-25 dollars). I still am baffled by how it was so expensive. But I guess we had to get scammed at least once on this trip right? We walked around for a bit stopping at random canals and sitting by the water and watching the gondola drivers overprice the customers here and there. Venice is a gorgeous city but doesnt have many actual attractions to go see which we loved because we just wanted to relax and finally get some color. Finally we headed back to the boat right around sunset which was gorgeous. The sky was just like a William Turner painting, look him up-he's a genius, and I loved it. I think I could have sat on the dock for hours. Once we got back to the campsite we bummed in the cabin and hung out. We had some interesting conversations and some infamous quotes from Mike. At one point, we got on topic of how Mike isn't into Asian hookers and that beastiality is really gross. I don't know how it happened but we were laughing so hard my side hurt. Plus, Mike when he's tired says some crazy stuff which probably would only be funny if you were there. We finally headed to bed. We awoke wednesday but let ourselves sleep in that day. The night was interupted with a call from Katie's mom. She was freaking out about the earthquake that had happened outside of Rome and thought we were all dead. Since we hadn't seen a paper, watched TV, or had internet access yet, we were completely oblivious. But, yes there was an earthquake 70km outside of Rome 150 people died and 200 injured. We were no where near or even felt and were completely safe. When we got up Wednesday morning we went and finally got on the internet, checked our emails and such. Then headed into the city. We basically saw everything in the first 2 days so we just revisited some of our favortie spots and sat by canals all day. Yes this vacation was very stressful ;) My friend Sam, previously mentioned in the blog, was getting into Venice that day so we met up with her and pointed out some of our favorites spots of the city. This included our favorite gelato place, which I made have visited everyday. This rounded up our stay in Venice and was our last chance to see the city. For years I have dreamed to visit Venice, just ask my mom how muchI have talked about it. The city was amazing and beautiful and breath taking. Every corner seemed like it belonged on a postcard. I fell like I spent half of the time picking my jaw up from off the floor. I know I will go back one day, hopefully sooner than later. We got back to the campsite, paid for our stay and headed back to hte cabin for another round of laughter. I just cant get over how ridiculous the conversations were that we had. I've tried to tell the contexts to people here but it seems like the jokes have lost there punch if you weren't involved in there origin. From here out I shall give the one liners we came up with and hope that suffices. Next we headed off to Rome and if you stay tuned that will be described in the next installment.

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