InterRail 2012 9. Venice
My InterRailing trip drew to a close with Venice being the last city I visited. Getting across to Venice from Ljubljana looked awkward when I was planning my trip because there are no direct trains. There seems to be a few options but I followed the advice I read from TripAdvisor to take the train from Ljubljana to Nova Goricia then catch a coach from there to Trieste and continue on from there by train to the the floating city of Venice.
As I was about to settle on my seat on the train, two Australian girls, laden with their backpacks came rushing in a few seconds before the train had departed. They took the seats opposite mine and we all started talking. Their names: Emalyse and Jazz. They told me they were on their way to Italy as well as part of their 10 month tour across the globe. Very impressive. Although they’ve been travelling together for some months already, they’ve decided to part on this leg of their adventure. Jazz headed to Bologna, while Ema travelled to Venice. I must not have managed to restrain my inner nerd and for some reason ended up showing them off with my knowledge of the Australian states and their capitals. Naturally, they were impressed and as a token of their appreciation, they’ve awarded me with this blue marble.
We’ve decided to take more photos here and there and I have to say they’ve been a pleasure to talk to as they were very laid back and wonderful girls.
They had a different route to Italy. Instead of catching the coach from Nova Goricia, they’ve decided to get off at Sezana and continue to Trieste from there.
We paid €3.50 for the coach and in some 20 minutes later, we reached Trieste. When we reached the coach station, we were told the train to Venice was arriving in less than 7 minutes. So we dashed, thankfully getting there on time.
The view of the Italian countryside by the sea was stunning.
After about an hour and half, we finally arrived at Venice, just as the sun begun its descend down the horizon. It was really quite a sight.
When we reached Venice St Lucia station, we had to part with Ema’s friend, Jazz. We then exited the station together. Ema and I decided to see the city together but first, we needed to check in at our separate hostels as it was already getting late. I walked with Ema to hers on the North West side of the city, and later walked alone to mine down near the central. It took me about 40 minutes to find as it was made difficult by the lack of clear signs and directions to place names and the hordes of tourists and locals everywhere.
Without excessive panicking, I found my hostel: La Pescheria Backpackers for €28 a night. I didn’t have much luggage but it was stiflingly hot and I was inevitably drenched in sweat, so I immediately showered and freshened up to prepare for my rendezvous with Ema, back at her hostel.
In the most cheesy way possible, I have to admit that I got butterflies in my tummy en route to pick Ema up. I have probably just imagined this in hindsight but it did feel I was about to embark on a date with this hot girl in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Hahaha. How much of a loser is that?
Anyways… I did pick Ema up and we walked to San Marco Square, where most of the popular sights in Venice are. Not too far from the square, we stumbled upon the Ateneo di San Basso and there was a couple of opera concerts on. Although neither of us was an opera fan, we happily agreed to see it when both of us associated Venice with gondoliers and people singing opera. I think the ticket was €26 each.
The performance was not til much later so we found a restaurant and had dinner first. It was a coincidence that our waiter was Filipino and we got a bit of a discount with the food. I am a big fan of calamari so I ordered some. Ema on the other hand, hadn’t had tried one before so I dared her to taste it…a new convert to calamari! Her face didn’t squirm so I take it she must have liked it. The conversation flowed nicely throughout dinner and soon after, we went to catch the show.
The show was featured a tenor and a soprano accompanied with a small string ensemble and occasionally supplemented with a piano. They sang popular operatic tracks, with the tenor and soprano alternating to sing solos, and in some occasions duets. I don’t know much about opera singing but I was convinced that the performances were credible and powerful. Ema’s baptismal of fire when it came to opera was apparently enjoyable. A pleasant eye-opener to her.
After this, we took a stroll by the square and by the pier, admiring the subdued night lights rippled on the sea while talking about various platonic things. There were some rose merchants everywhere and they kept peddling to us but unfortunately and admittedly I was a little embarrassed as we obviously had just met. Perhaps, I was being too prude and an utter looser for not even taking a step further.
Anyways, the night drew to a close and it was natural for us to part. I volunteered to take Ema back to her hostel as it was about 11pm and Venice was not the most straightforward of all places.
We gave each other a hug and I made my way back to mine… after 2 hours of late night inadvertent city strolling (I took a couple of wrong turns). Despite thinking I was about to get stabbed by members of an Italian water borne mafia, I enjoyed my evening and this had been the most romantic event of my adventure. I obviously did not freak her out with my nerdiness and looser prudish ways because we met up again the next day for our final day in Venice.
We decided to head to a beach and Ema suggested we head over to Lido, another island to the east of Venice. We took the 52 boat that the Venetian people call ‘bus’ to Lido and walked across the island to the beach.
I couldn’t stay for long because I had a plane to catch back to London so we dipped for a bit and then had lunch at a mini pizzeria half way thru the beach and the station. I’ve had a good time with Ema and if I hadn’t had a photo job waiting for me back in London, I’d have gone with her to her next destination.
Alas, we had to say goodbye to each other. On our way back to Venice, we stopped at Burano, where Ema dropped me off to get on the bus to take me to the airport. That was where I left one of the most wonderful and beautiful girl I’ve met in my life.
I took the British Airways flight back to London and there, reader, ends my InterRail 2012 trip.
So, to wrap up, in a nutshell, this is the route I took around Europe. I had a good time, met a lot of people and seen so many different places. For next time, I’d definitely do another similar trip in Eastern Europe one day.
A: London, UK
B: Paris, France
C: Brussels, Belgium
D: Bruges, Belgium
E: Antwerp, Belgium
F: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
G: Berlin, Germany
H: Karkow, Poland
I and K: Vienna, Austria
J: Bratislava, Slovakia
L: Salzburg, Austria
M: Zagreb, Croatia
N: Ljubljana, Slovenia
O: Sezana, Slovenia
P: Trieste, Italy
Q: Venice, Italy