Hello from VENICE!!!!
We made it to fucking Italy!!
I'm currently writing this from the mobile home place that we're staying in. The internet is pretty shit and the kind of people that are staying here are too (think of those typical people who religiously go on all of those £2 holidays or whatever that are advertised in The Sun).
But we're here and have pretty much everything we need, and that is the most important thing.
Today has been FUCKING STRESSFUL. It's been pretty much not-stop stress with having to catch trains, keeping our stuff safe, trying to get a smidgen of sleep and trying to find places. I think me and Sam would definitely agree that this has been our least favourite day of the trip so far, mainly because we haven't had time to do any exploring and it's just been travelling and worrying all day.
But we're always looking forward, and we think tomorrow is going to be great. From our hostel, we're getting the 10 o'clock bus into the centre of Venice and not coming back until 9.30pm. Lots of time and lots of things to see. This will be good.
In the meantime, you can experience our panic and stress from today...yay! At least this will make tomorrow's post amazing in comparison.
Let’s pick up form where we left off in the last blog post – we were outside Lyon train station in the early hours of the morning with an old man and another guy we just met. So it was your typical Thursday night.
We had to wait until 4.50am for the doors of the station to open, which they eventually did, but even then none of the cafés and shops were open, and the toilets didn’t open until 6. Great!
As I hadn’t attempted to sleep yet that night, I decided that I would try and get some sleep before 6am, so I used my rucksack as a sort of pillow and contorted myself in a fucked up position on the uncomfortable station benches to see if I could get at least half an hour’s sleep.
I don’t think I got ANY proper sleep, just general drowsiness. What did that make it, like 8 hours in the past 6 days or something?!
The old man we were with was still sitting with us at this point, but at about 7am or something he left to get his tram. We said our goodbyes and then I tried to get a bit more sleep.
I can’t remember if I did or not (LOL) but at 8am we both made sure we were fully awake as our train was meant to be leaving at 8.40am. We started watching the screens to see what platform our train would be on.
At 8.30am, there was still no platform number displayed, while even trains after ours had theirs displayed. So, as you might expect, we found out the bad news when one word flashed up on the screen:
Yes. Our train was 10 minutes of retard.
This then changed to 15 minutes. How late was it going to get? We had to get our connecting trains too, so we were pretty worried at this point.
Finally, the platform number 11 was displayed. Cue mini stampede up the escalators.
We got on the train ok. It was good because as it was a local train, there were no seat numbers or anything like that, so we could just sit wherever we wanted. Our carriage was pretty empty too, so that was a bonus.
As I explained in the last post, our journey to Venice from Lyon was split into three parts – Lyon to Chambéry, Chambéry to Milan and Milan to Venice.
So this was the first journey, to Chambéry. Not much happened. Sam slept for most of the journey, which meant that I couldn’t sleep otherwise our stuff wouldn’t be protected. I probably would be able to get to sleep anyway; it’s a fucking public place and my body doesn’t like that. For almost the whole day my body’s like “SLEEEEP, SLEEEP, GIVE ME SLEEEEP” but as soon as I enter a public place it’s like “FUCK no, I’d rather have a lack of energy than sleep where there are OTHER HUMAN BEINGS”.
In terms of the view from the windows, it was very nice, although the weather was very cloudy. We passed some beautiful lakes and mountains.
By the time we got into Chambéry, we only had 5 minutes to get our connection to Milan. It was quite funny actually – I woke Sam up just before the train pulled into the station and told him that we had 5 minutes, and the look on his face…. It was like ‘OOOOOOOOOOH SHIT’.
Fortunately, when we crossed over to the other platform, we saw that the Milan train was delayed by 10 minutes.
PERFECT. That could not have gone any better. It’s funny how satisfied you feel when not one but two of your trains are delayed, but the lateness allows you to make your connection so suddenly being late doesn’t matter anymore
We were in a four-seater for our train to Milan, opposite two people who were speaking a language I didn’t recognise. I swear I recognised occasional words though… it sounded like a mix between English, Spanish, French, Italian and some eastern European language (just realised what I’ve said there, that didn’t really narrow it down much!). Strange, but at least they didn’t stare at us…
Again, Sam slept for most of the journey, lucky bastard. I actually wanted to be awake for a lot of it though, because the landscape at the France-Italy border is pretty amazing, so at least I got to see this.
I was quite uncomfortable throughout the journey because I had to have my fucking hench rucksack by my feet because it wouldn’t fit onto the luggage racks. This annoyed the person opposite me a bit (I think) because he kept moving it with his feet, but whatever.
At one point, the two guys opposite us moved to a different part of the train, so me and Sam had the four-seater to ourselves. I actually managed to get about 45 minutes of sleep (having more space certainly helped) so that was good. I woke up about 20-30 minutes before we got to Milan.
When we arrived, we only had about 35 minutes to get to our train to Venice. What made things more complicated was the fact that we had to change stations from Milan Giraldi to Milan Centrale.
We realised, when trying to find information about changing between the stations, something pretty crucial: everything is written in Italian.
Neither of us know Italian.
This could cause problems.
It’s quite unnerving when you don’t know what much means. Some things I can work out from Spanish/French, and other stuff has English printed underneath it, but in Spain things were much simpler because I understood EVERYTHING. I knew that we could get by in pretty much any situation. Here that is not the case.
Fortunately in this scenario, we found a tube map for Milan and saw that the two stations were only two stops apart. We managed to buy tube tickets and got on a very crowded, sweaty train to Milan Centrale.
When we got there, we made our may up to the over-ground train station (which was an amazing building but we didn’t have hardly any time to appreciate it) and found the platform our train was on. It went well in the end – we were on the train a good 10 minutes before it left.
This train was a bit spaz though because the seat numbers were seriously fucked up. The carriage was mostly made up of four-seaters, but it turned out that me and Sam were on two different four-seaters that were opposite each other.
Actually, thinking about it, the seats were numbered vertically as opposed to horizontally, which is the convention and actually fucking makes sense. Stupid.
This journey was ok again, I mainly listened to music; Sam was asleep for a bit and then just stayed awake. All of these train journeys today were about 2.5 to 3 hours long, so none of them were awful.
It was nice to see a bit of Italy out of the train window, despite being in an aisle seat. There were mountains again and some nice houses. Can’t really be any more descriptive than that!
We arrived in Venice at about 6.30pm.
There are two stations in Venice, and when you get tickets to here it normally means you can get off at either. We got off at the first one we encountered, when in fact we should have got off at the next one (my fault), so we just hopped on a train to the next station free of charge. Simples.
When we got to the correct station, we went to the ticket offices and booked our tickets to Florence for Sunday 5.20pm. Thankfully our salesman spoke English - we're so used to doing it in Spain that using English seems almost like cheating, but we don't have another choice. As long as we get the tickets, I suppose that's all that matters.
The first thing you see when you walk out of the station is the Grand Canal. It is astounding. So many boats and people EVERYWHERE, and the bridges are very nice. Unfortunately we didn’t get any pictures, but we’ll get some tomorrow when we’re in town.
We had to get to the bus station, to get a bus to where the campsite is, and the exact bus that we needed was waiting there in the bay when we arrived.
No driver though!
He arrived about 5 minutes later. But to our surprise, he didn’t ask anyone to pay. What the fuck? The bus just drove off full of people and no one had paid.
Well it was good for us anyway.
The instructions given to us on HostelWorld told us that the bus journey takes about 15 minutes, and we should ask the bus driver to stop at a certain road.... nope, the name's not coming back to me. But anyway, we did all this, and he told us to get off when we reached our stop.
He also signalled which direction to go up the road to get to the campsite. However, when we looked at the rest of the instructions on HostelWorld, none of the roads mentioned were around us.
So we ended up doing our obligatory getting-lost exercise for about half an hour with our fucking heavy rucksacks on. We didn't see ANY of the road names we were looking for, and as we were in the suburbs, none of the cafés had wifi. Bitches.
Eventually, Sam asked a woman we saw on the street and she directed us up the same road the bus driver did... so at this point we decided that it might be wise to actually go up in this direction now that two people had told us to. We followed it up, but still couldn't find the road we were looking for.
Sam then approached a very friendly old lady, who told us that the street was just up the road a bit and then left. We must have seemed a bit stupid.
Finally we got there, and from that point the campsite was easy to find.
We checked in and got the keys for our mobile home! It's nice in here - it's ensuite, is spacious and has a fridge! It's a shame the wifi is so FUCKING SHIT.
I really need to end the post here unfortunately for the good of my health...I FUCKING NEED SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. I'm so tired. I've felt light-headed all day and I just need to lay down and die for 8 hours.
But I'm gonna get a good amount of sleep! Yes! So glad I started this post early now.
There are a few photos to go on this post, we haven't been able to upload them tonight because Sam's iPhone can't manage it with the shit internet...we'll try to add them to the post tomorrow. It's just what we saw out of the train window.
So look out for the blog post tomorrow, it should be packed with stuff, especially pictures. There will be water EVERYWHERE!
Good night all.
Jack - 9/6/12 - 01:09 in Venice, 12:09 in the UK