June 10, 2015 – Venice and Florence

My last post ended in Innsbruck, Austria. That night I didn’t do much because I was tired and had to get up to travel to Venice the next day. The hostel messed up and put me in a new room, I thought I would have the room to myself but unfortunately two guys from Austria were in my three bedroom dorm with me. They went out last night and got super wasted apparently, because they came back at 3:30am and woke me up. They were probably the most obnoxious people in the world. They were also being weird and creepy, and what I noticed since being alone is that not many girls have been traveling Europe alone. It’s actually kind of uncommon. The one guy went in his bed, but the other one who was staying in the bunk above mine bent over near my bed and started speaking. Excuse me, excuse me?? Groggily I woke up and replied what?…maybe I should not have been so rude right off the bat, but realistically I had my guard up…I was alone in this room with only these two guys so naturally I was going to be a little on edge. He replied asking me what I was doing. After telling him I was sleeping and to go to bed repeatedly he wasn’t really listening to me. I was getting really annoyed. I finally snapped and said could you move and just go to bed, it’s 3:30am!! Thank goodness Chris was awake and I had someone to talk to during this time. I definitely would have been more afraid if I didn’t have him to talk to, it was nice having him for reassurance (even though he couldn’t just hop on a plane and come save me if I needed it but the thought was there). In the morning I gathered my things before they were awake and checked out. I sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful view for the last time before heading to the train station in the early afternoon.

 

beautiful clean water of Venice


Venice – June 5-9:

The train ride to Venice was about 5 hours and was so beautiful. We passed by a lot of train stations that looked old and abandoned. I think some were still functional, however most buildings were worn down and covered with graffiti. The ticket I purchased was on sale and was first class, it was awesome. Haley’s flight from home arrived in Venice earlier than my train so we planned on meeting at the station. I got off the train and headed towards the main area and I spotted her right away. When we saw each other we shreaked slightly, as most girls normally do (probably the most emotions I’ve shown since Chris left haha). I actually could not believe we were in Europe together. Haley had planned this Europe trip but didn’t save up enough money so she could only meet me for this part but it was just incredible that she was actually in Europe with me. We found our way to the bus that took us off the main island of Venice to the mainland of Italy where our hostel was situated. Luckily on the bus the a girl was also staying at our hostel and she showed us how to get there. Once we got there, we checked-in and then showered quickly before heading back into town. We walked around and found a nice place to eat dinner. It was right near the water and decently priced. We ordered calamari to share and then two risotto dishes. The meal was so delicious. We went exploring but there wasn’t much open, even though it was a Friday night. The nightlife in Venice isn’t the most live. The bus ride back to our hostel was almost unbearable. It was so hot, sticky and everyone was sweating…not to mention the bus was absolutely packed, people by the doors literally got squished on the bus as the doors closed. This man was sharing a pole that Haley and I were both holding onto. He was so sweaty he had broken out in hives and then proceed to wipe his face before holding on the pole. It was slightly repulsive. We went to bed shortly after getting back to our hostel.

June 6 we planned to have a fun filled day. We went into Venice and the bus was at the same level as the night before. Exactly what I wanted at 10am, to be absolutely drenched with sweat before spending all day walking around the island in 35 degree weather. Once we got off I was so sweaty I could have barfed. Anyways, we went to grab some breakfast, a cappuccino and croissant cost 4 euro each. Kind of, actually, really expensive for breakfast. We also purchased a tourist card that allowed us to use both the bus and waterbus for 24 euro for 72 hours, which was a great deal seeing as the waterbus was 7 euro each ride. We hopped on the number 1 waterbus that did a circuit around the grand canal. We got off at Salute, where the Salute Basilica was located, we went inside and admired the amazing architecture! We got back on the waterbus and got off at the famous s. Marco square. The line for the basilica was insane, so we did not wait around. We walked around the small streets in the area for a while and then headed back on the number 1 waterbus toward the local market. By the time we arrived most of the stalls were packed up, but we still got some fresh cherries and a banana. Our original plan was to stay in Venice for 2 nights before heading to Verona, but we decided to skip Verona and stay in Venice for 4 nights as we wanted to take our time exploring. Our roommates in the hostel were from Canada, they were telling us how much they paid for a gondola ride because we’ve heard it was a rip off, they paid 80 euro for half an hour, which I thought was absolutely ridiculous. We decided it was a) not in our price range, b) a total and complete rip off and finally c) the water is so nasty I would not want to know what would happen if I fell in for any reason. I googled it. It was literally an open air sewage systems. Canals are all man made and these ones were used basically to dump raw sewage, it was so backed up that for 30-40 years the natural tides could not flush out the sewage and that’s where we get the smell from. Nowadays the canals are flushed out once a decade…I mean, it’s better than every 30-40 years but still not nearly as often as it should be. I was actually so grossed out but some of the more calm, little canals because the water just sat there and didn’t move at all.

 

exploring venice and stopped for a quick gelato

June 7th we planned on visiting both Murano (the glass blowing island) and Burano (the lace making island). Unfortunately we only made it to Murano, but it was awesome. We used the waterbus to get there and once we arrived we had to use the washroom. Public washrooms in Venice are actually stupid. It cost 1.50 euro to go to the bathroom, we really had no other choice. We wandered around until we found a glass blowing factory. We got a demonstration of how they made these items it was awesome. The man made a flower vase and then a horse, it was awesome. We walked in and out of shops and found our way back to one of the stores to purchase some glass blown souvenirs. I only bought one thing and it was for my mom and it was a necklace that was so pretty. We headed back to the main Island and decided to walk around and get lost. We made it back to our hostel and met a couple of new girls in our hostel. they were from Florida, we invited them to dinner and then we all went into Venice for a drink. They were awesome, super friendly and we had a lot of interesting conversations. it’s interesting to compare how Canadians and Americans perceive each other and how we all differ on opinions.

June 8th was our last full day in Venice, feeling as though we had seen a lot we decided to continue exploring areas we didn’t know. We got lost for a while and it was fun, I enjoyed seeing the different types of buildings on the island and how it can go from a really touristy area to areas with virtually no people around at all. After walking for a while we decided to stop for lunch. We stopped at one restaurant but it was way too pricey and we ended up going back to the restaurant we went to the first night. We had an awesome lunch of seafood salad and pasta with meat sauce. We went back to the hostel fairly early and luckily Chris was home because he had graduation the next day so we were able to facetime. I was able to catch him up on so much that I’ve done because texting long stories can sometimes be difficult. Unfortunately that will be the last time I facetime him unless he goes home again. We went to bed fairly early as we were catching an early train to Florence the next morning.

 

travel day

Florence – June 9-14:

We went to the train station in the morning with our roommates and headed on the same train. We weren’t in their cart so I’m not sure how the rest of their trip went. We made it to the hostel after walking around with our bags aimlessly for 40 mins. We had to climb up 3 storeys to the our hostel, but we made it. Covered in sweat but thankful we got to put our bags down. We locked our belongings in the lockers before heading out to explore. We decided to just walk around and see what we could find. We found the famous cathedral and then we went for lunch. This one restaurant had a deal, a glass of wine, bruschetta and pasta for 12 euro. The waiter asked us to leave a review and when I did I told him and he brought us over some short of liquor and what seemed to be vodka. Haley thought it was some sort of mimosa and almost died when she took a big gulp. It tasted like a melted lemon cough drop. And thus, it was 2pm and we were buzzed. With time to kill before actually checking in we wandered around some more. We went on a merry-go-round because a) we were bored and b) we are 12. Then we found an Irish pub that had a 1L pitcher of peach vodka lemonade for 10 euro. We sat down and enjoyed this refreshing beverage, there was a group of 7 loud American guys beside us. After about a half hour one of them turned around and said speaky English? in some sort of foreign accents (I knew he could speak English properly) and replied no *sarcasm has simply become a reaction and I cannot help myself, plus it’s funny to laugh at people who do not understand my dry humour). He genuinely believed that I didn’t speak English and said oh! I think his friend caught on to my sarcasm and was like what? I was like I’m kidding of course I speak English, I’m from Canada. He replied Don’t you guys speak French though? Since you’re from Canada and Haley replied No, but we do live in igloos and take dogsleds to school. Yes, he believed it until his friend was like man! seriously?. It was pretty entertaining. They were funny and nice guys but the one just didn’t have an common sense about Canada. They were all students studying to work on a ship, most of them engineers so they weren’t dumb, just uninformed about Canada, or the difference between English Canadians and French Canadians. After that we made our way back to our hostel and waited for the free pasta dinner before heading to bed.

 

florence

That brings us to June 10th, today…holy. Who would have thought I would be able to catch up to this day. We woke up and had to leave the hostel by 10am because they close it for cleaning. After wandering around we went to meet a free walking tour that started at 11. We walked around some of the older more medieval parts of Florence. We saw Michelangelo’s house, and the place where Leonardo da Vinci lived, as well as saw remnants of old medieval towers that had partially been destroyed and had remodeled roofs. After that we ventured to have some lunch at one of the most famous and most delicious pizza places in Florence. Gusta Pizza where we shared two different kinds, the guys running the place loved us so they made our pizzas in the shape of hearts! We then bought postcards and now we are sitting in the common room waiting for some free wine and snacks. Hopefully we will head out tonight for a drink or two, but if not that’s okay because we’ve got a trip to pisa planned for the morning!

 

pizza!!

Until next time,

Jenn

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