Today we caught the TrenItalia InterCity train from Venezia via Bologna to Firenze.
We had a blast in Venezia (one of the most expensive cities in Europe apparently) and managed to catch up on the sleep we had been depriving ourselves of over the past 6 months.
A few things to note about Venezia:
\* there are no cars
\* there are itty-bitty little passageways everywhere which lead variously to a little canal or a campo
(village square with a church) or a campiello
(village square without a church).
\* they have police boats, and carabinieri boats, and firefighting (Vigli con Fuoco) boats and ambulance boats and garbage
boats! (photos at 11)
\* if you want a cheap meal, go to another city.... but at least while you are in Venezia go away from Piazza San Marco or the Mercerie.
\* make the effort to try to learn at least a few words of Italian because it will make your life a helluva lot easier outside of the tourist strip.
\* Lonely Planet
recommends Gelateria Nico on the other side of the island of Dorsoduro. J and I heartily concur: the portions (palline) were the largest, the price was the lowest, and the taste was unbeatable.
\* crowds and queues are to be expected, and the sunnier the day, the longer the queues and the larger the crowds. I did begin to wonder just how much the kiddies from around the Europe were appreciating the history and culture that they were seeing though.
Last Friday we had a day trip to Verona (90 mins via InterCity TrenItalia), saw the largest Roman amphitheatre outside of Roma (seats 20000), had a really
lunch at the food fair which happened to be on in Piazza Bra, saw a Roman theatre, St Jerome's Church, were made to wait to cross Ponte San Pietro while a local soapie was being filmed, wandered through Casa di Giulietta, had beers in a yuppie bar on some street, saw the entirety of Verona from Torre dei Lamberti, took happy snaps of Dante, had dinner (2x fresh tortellini and a bottle of Soave for Euro11!) and then finished the day by shopping for clothes.... We was stuffed at the end.
So today we hopped on the train, dashed off at Bologna and were able to get onto the next platform (down the subway and up again) for the Milano to Napoli train.... another 55 minutes and we got to Firenze.
I really, really wish that Bob Carr and his transport minister (along with some of the beancounters who seem to run NSW State Rail/City Rail) would pay a visit to Italy and see just how well the trains operate here. I think that should be a different topic though, for some point where I do not have to worry about an Italian PC keyboard. It is so
no what I am used to and it is driving me nuts!
More later, lots of pictures etc etc, film and StarImpress presentation at 11...