Sunday, 3 April 2016

Relocating to Venice - Day 12

It was with some sadness that we left our wonderful apartment in Florence today, it was just on off the scale in terms of awesomeness. As covered in my Coffee report, I was up early before anyone else.

We were all packed and ready by just after 9:00 and left the apartment just before 10:00, took our bags a few meters up the road and got a cab the short distance to the Santa Maria Novella train station. We hadn't even fully left the cab before we had a Gypsy beggar in our faces asking for money, and again not long after entering the station heading towards the platform. Seriously Italy, this is getting ridiculous, all the crappy stuff you read about is actually true... I shooed both of them away loudly enough with hand gestures that they took offence and went off in a huff. It would seem just as I read, being incredibly rude actually works too.

We had two hours to wait for our train so we parked ourselves in a cafe in a corner where it was easy to protect our stuff and had some additional coffees and late breakfasts. The train arrived on time and we somehow managed to load all our luggage onto the train and a few minutes later we were heading off at full speed towards Venice. At some point we crossed the alps in the middle of Italy, it seemed we were in a tunnel for an incredibly long distance. The conductor came around and checked our tickets, there was some issue I didn't quite understand, something about the reference number I had was different to the number they were expecting. They came back a bit later and said everything was ok, and they had worked it out. Even though they say these are "paperless tickets", when in Italy, print them out, I'm very glad I've done this.

The train stopped at a couple of places along the way, at each stop I got up and went to the luggage area to protect our stuff, I'm seriously suspicious of everyone here at the moment. At one point just before Venice an American couple jumped up out of their seats and struggled to get their luggage off just as the doors were closing and screamed stop the train, we were supposed to get off here! Umm, the train had been stopped for almost 5 minutes, there was no way it was going to stop again at the same place. I hope they enjoyed their trip to Venice with the rest of us.  

Arrived in Venice after crossing the lagoon to the island, unloaded our stuff and texted the apartment manager who gave us directions on what boat to get and where to get of the boat (San Stae station). Surprisingly even though I had the SCAM-O-METER set to DEFCON-1 levels we were left alone at Venice, just a few selfie stick sellers who disappeared quickly when they spotted the police. Maybe the government here in Venice is starting to take security seriously. We got on the Vaporetto to San Stae, meet our apartment manager who showed us how to get to the apartment through all the narrow streets, and showed us the apartment and how it all works.

This apartment is quite large, three full bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen and lounge area plus huge amounts of storage space. Its a massive juxtaposition on Venice itself. Its everything the apartment in Florence was not, but still very Italian, plenty of marble everywhere. After settling in we headed out for a wander and to find a supermarket to get some milk etc. Its quite amazing how the shops are just entangled amongst everything else, there are shops where you least expect them to be.

Emma found yet another Disney store (yep, they even have one in Venice) and she had a look in there. The supermarket was packed, there must not be many here on the island. After that we headed out for dinner (minus Sue, she wasn't feeling well) and found a great restaurant less than 100m from the apartment. This does seem to be a common theme for us in Italy now. I had something that was mildly Asian (curried chicken with rice), Sharon had an amazing seafood pasta with small mussels, clams, fish and octopus. She rated this as one of the best dishes she has had in Italy. Paul had scampi in a spicy tomato sauce with spaghetti. Emma had another Margherita pizza, here first one for a few days.  This was completed by a chocolate moose pyramid dessert. We also had a litre of house wine and bottled water. All this food was €78 in total, not bad value.

As with every other meal we have had in Italy, bread was served along with the meal. The bread in Florence is interesting in that for historical reasons its baked without salt. You do notice that the bread is different there, but it was a real shock after having that for a week when we had the Venetian bread just how salty it tasted. Chalk that one down as another amazing food experience in Italy.

So, my first impressions ? I had serious doubts about coming to Venice, and to be honest I still haven't made up my mind how I feel about the place, although I'm relieved its not as bad as I thought it could be. Yes, its picturesque, the views are totally stunning with all the water traffic (the pictures below don't really do it justice, it was getting late in the afternoon). The lack of traffic noise (there are no cars here, not even bicycles) is very noticeable, and the food is great. But on the negatives the streets are very very narrow and it does feel like people are on top of you just about everywhere. My nose doesn't lie either, there is a distinct rotting grease smell emanating from the canals, there is no doubt that they are also the main sewer.

Looking forward to tomorrow when I can go on my usual coffee hunting expedition.

Some pics from today

Almost ready to leave the apartment

At the Fratelli Cafe in the train station.

S.M.N Station in Florence, looking for our trains plaform

Our train arriving from Rome.

Seated and off we go. Nice seats in premium class

From the luggage area looking down to our seats

Looking into the restaurant car

They even personalised a snack for me

In seat power!

Arrived Venice !

Boat Map

Lounge room of the apartment

One of the bedrooms

View from one of the windows


Door to our apartments courtyard. I don't see a coffee nook anywhere :-(

Walking around venice

A pigeon flew past the camera at the exact second I took this

Dinner time