Sunday, August 2, 1998
I woke up this morning with the realization that me and my New Zealand girl would part. I'm on a five hour train to Venice that is filled with reserve seats, therefore, I'm on a small seat in the aisle for the first time. I'm slightly worried about getting a room at a hostel in Venice, but not really either. As I was waiting for the train to leave, I think I spied a pickpocket attempt, though I can't be sure. The guy new I saw him, and retreated, whether or not he was a robber. When I got to Venice, I made the amateur mistake of not calling ahead to the hostel. Instead, I took my backpack and went on a two hour journey around Venice, only to find out that the Ostello Venezia was full. This turned out to be a good thing. It had a nice view, but it was on an island, and I'd need to be back by 9:30 PM (the last vaporetto).
So I went to my second choice, a hotel two minutes from the train station. There, I immediately met Beth (Canadian). We both took 25,000 lire dorm beds in the attic. I met two Kiwis (New Zealanders), Nigel and Dawn. They really liked their Bailey's Irish Cream. We ended up going out to dinner together. I was happy when we all agreed on a second carafe of wine. That night, we all got drunk, including one guy from Japan whom Steph (Australian guy) kept giving wine and beer to. I decided to stay a second night since I had met so many people.
Monday, August 3, 1998
I slept in this morning. Since I passed out, I didn't notice whether or not it was hot and stuffy in the room. Beth, Steph, and I went to San Marco. The church (mosaic) was much brighter (more lit up with sunshine) than when I had gone before. This gave me a greater appreciation for the artwork covering the walls, ceiling, and floor. Then we went to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum where we found an amazing collection of Modern art including Picasso, Pollack, Ernst, Brancusi and many others. My favorite was a painting by Picasso, “The Beach” or something like that. And since Sam told me Heather (of my graduating class, '98) was working there, I asked around for her. Before we left, I spotted her. I had a longer conversation with her at that time, then at all of Colgate University. Anyway, she seemed happy to see me. I asked her a lot of questions about her job. I'll probably apply, but if they only accept ten percent of applicants, I'm not going to expect the job. It would be cool. Heather also mentioned another girl from my class that was going to be working there in the Fall. Maybe the Colgate connection will balance my lack of foreign languages and bad grades.
I'm at Lido again. Though the sun was behind clouds earlier, it has broken through and is beaming down onto me. I realized this morning that my sunburn (from Rome) is kind of bad, so I need to be careful since I'm going to the French Riviera and Spain next. After that, I'll be beach/heat free again. Mint slushies suck. Limone! We had dinner along the main street of Lido. I had pasta that wasn't fully cooked. That night we all bought wine and got drunk again. There were several new people in our hotel attic when we got back. One of them was a California teacher (age 26) who talked and talked. But she was kind of good looking. There was also an 18 year old guy from Queens, NY and a guy from upstate NY. When we went to get more wine , we were up sold on two bottles, and I paid the difference (in part because I was drunk). I ended up disliking both. They were awful! That night, as we all slipped in the door at curfew, the old lady said she was closing the dorm tomorrow because we were all too loud and troublesome. The next morning, I woke up to find that it had been merely a threat, and several people had already booked for that night.
Tuesday, August 4, 1998
Today I'm planning on just hanging out at San Marco, and visiting San Giorggio Maggiore, and San Statue. I went to the supermarket and bought shampoo and soap since I left my Campsuds in Rome. It is another cloudy day here, and the temperature is much cooler than when I was here last (a week ago). I'm sad to be leaving Italy, but my experience with budget traveling gives me a great hope for a return in the next few years . Everyone seems to harp about Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. I decided not to go for that reason. I am hoping to hit Marseilles, Bordeaux, and Burgundy (wine country) in France.
Well, maybe not. I just finished talking with a Dutch student who didn't endorse those areas very much. We had a nice twenty minute conversation in the park next to San Marco. I was sitting under a trellis work of shade providing vines. They broke up the sunlight quite beautifully. I can't remember if I wrote this before, but I dumped my Thrasher, and long sleeve WRCU shirts. I feel like taking a nap, but am slightly worried about my stuff. I'm sitting in the shade of the Campo della Salute, on the Grand Canal now. I keep thinking about Venice's 75,000 person population in comparison to the 75 million visitors it gets each year. Basically, that means everyone working lives here, and everyone walking around is a tourist. I'm having lots of fun roasting Dave, Eric, and Sam for leaving early. Everyone I tell gasps in disbelief. I'm having so much fun, and am already looking to travel more.
I finally got to see San Giorggio Maggiore up close. It took awhile for me to figure out that I needed to transfer vaporettos. Though I prefer the facade's beauty to the interior, it was still worth the trip over to the island. I got a great view of San Marco and the islands from the belfry. I just took the worst shit in a McDonald's bathroom near San Marco. The other toilets must have been broken because there was a five to six person line of guys and girls when I got out. And I was sweating since the bathroom was so stuffy, and the light was actually a giant fluorescent black light. I even had to touch my ass down on the bare bowl because I got tired of standing (there was not seat). Right now, I'm praying that the night train to Nice goes well. I called home, and talked to my Mom for about ten minutes. From across the Atlantic, she sounded a lot like her mom (my grandmother).
Read more of Backpacking in Europe, or see the pictures on Flickr.