Monday, 5 November 2012

Italia, Part 1

"Italia Part 1"
We started our Italian adventure with a two night and one day ferry ride to Venice from Patras, Greece. The ship was a strange cross between a freight ferry and cruise ship.  As usual we chose the most economical yet comfortable travel option which this time was a shared 4 bed cabin; thinking it was similar to staying in a hostel. As we were waiting to board the ship we watched in disbelief as perhaps 40 giant shipping semi trailers disembarked. It was like a magicians hat with rabbits coming out. The ship had two levels for these mammoths. It suddenly occurred to us that this ship would be primarily sleeping truckers and that we might be sharing our tiny cabin with two burly snore masters. As it turned out we had the cabin to ourselves the first night and the next day a lady from Belguim joined us. This turned out to be a bit of a pain since she had just driven from Istanbul and was so tired she slept all day. This meant that we were tip toeing into the room when we needed something and could not relax in there for reading and manicures as planned. The ship had all the usual amenities but on a smaller scale than a cruise ship. The food was very good and we both enjoyed their Moussaka . 
When we arrived in Venice at 11:00
am it was overcast and cool. Our photos are not the best. It was nice arriving by boat down the Grand Canal and they make it very easy for tourists to transfer to the city centre.  As soon as we arrived we walked to the train station to book an overnight train to Rome for the following night. That complete we enjoyed our first Italian cappuccino; yeah, prices are back down to Spain level. Food and liquor prices were about double in Greece.
We then walked the streets till we found a reasonably priced hotel, still a short walk to the train station.The rest of the day was spent memories of Camino walking.  ( two round trips to San Marco square and back). We tried to see a musical show but could not find the venue . While back in the square at evening, instead  we watched a film crew shooting a scene for a movie. ( me hoping it would be George Clooney since he lives in Italy). We have no idea what the name of the movie is but a chubby comedian man seemed to be getting the dear John boot from his very beautiful girlfriend. She then struts off across the square past a gaggle of touristy looking extras strolling through.  It was not raining today but they kept hosing down the square so I guess in the movie it will be. I hope we will be able to track this film down on it's release. 
Our second day in Venice was again much walking about and shopping. I finally found a new pair of my favourite Mephisto sandals so I can " jettez " the very worn out old ones. That is a favourite new French word that I learned while on Camino. It means to throw away. Say it fast, don't think twice; just get rid of what you do not need. I left my front pack behind in Venice in exchange for a new tote bag with two matching purses; good bye Camino; hello cruising. 
We managed to have a gondola ride on our second day which was a treat.
Our red eye train trip from Venice to Rome was an unhappy situation of six travelers squashed into one cabin with no reclining seats. Oh well, can't win every time.
   On arriving early  in Rome we decided to take a real hotel room within walking distance of the train station with the assistance of a booking agent in the train station. We dropped off our bags and headed out to see Rome on the hop on bus.  Once we were able to get into our room and shower, we then split up for the day. Lori had not been inside the Coliseum on her previous trip to Rome and I wanted to do the Art Museum and Castle D'Angelo. My day did not work so well as most of the art was Religious in subject which I have already been saturated in and I ran out of time to see the castle. Lori thoroughly enjoyed her afternoon and  we actually bumped into each other in a restaurant near our hotel in the evening.
On the morning of Oct. 20th we left our packs at the hotel and did some last minute desperate shopping for a few extra cruise wear items. We then  caught our train for the one hour ride to our ship in the port of Civitavecchia. 
Next chapter to come; cruising to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Egypt  ( 11 days)
Italia Part 2 will cover another five days after the cruise as we head up the west coast of Italy and finally to Barcelona.

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