On the coach the Tour Manager put a movie on, Step Brothers, for the journey to Venice from Vatican City. As we had a break at a rest stop, I noticed everyone buying a lot of snacks. At home I don’t buy any junk-food like chips or chocolate, as once I start eating something I wont stop until its all gone. For instance I once ate an entire packet of Tim Tams in one go, I wasn’t even hungry! So on this tour I have been abstaining except for one packet of Pringles that crossed about three international borders before I started eating them (but once I did they were all gone in one hit).
I think because the bus rides are so long, people eat just because they are bored and there is nothing better to do. I am interested to see how quickly I can do a 10k run when I get home, considering the amount of pasta and pizza I have eaten this week. We are moving now into Germany and the surrounding countries which are much more protein rich diets so I guess its going to be the Atkins diet for me now.
We arrived at our hotel, on the outskirts (very much the outskirts) of Venice at our hotel. The rooms were ok, nothing flash, the WiFi cost 5 Euro for an hour which was the steepest price we have seen. Not only that, but you had to be in the lobby and the internet wasn’t even that good if you had other people using it at the same time. The buffet ‘breakfast’ had a lot to be desired, so much in fact I just skipped it the second morning we were here, but as the hotel is in the middle of no where, there were no alternatives.
Before we went to bed, we played some card games, I learnt how to play a traditional Italian game which was pretty fun and strategic. In the morning, it was a latest start at 8:30am then on the bus, then motor boat to Venice. The view along the water was stunning, it is truly a unique city. Because the wooden pillars, that hold up the city, are never exposed to air, they don’t rot and instead petrify. What surprised me the most is how sturdy the city felt when walking on it and how heavy the buildings looked.
It is that old magician trick of lying on a bed of needles. If you lie on one it penetrates you, but by distributing your weight amongst a large surface area, you can do so with relative ease. The buildings, although look like are made out of marble, are actually a lighter brick construction with just marble facade in front. It was very pretty, clean and unique city centre with a lot of individuality.
The masks that are so famous in Venice came about by illegal gambling casinos that encouraged its patrons to wear the head pieces to disguise who they were to avoid prosecution. It later was used by the rich elite for parties that encouraged debauchery, with everyone hooking up with everyone (just had to somehow make sure they weren’t related). I am tempted to have my Europe party when I return be a masquerade, but it might be too much effort and I didn’t get any masks for myself because they were too brittle to transport safely back to Aus.
Lunch was probably the best meal I have had in Italy. I think we are blessed in Australia to have such a strong Italian influence, and thus a very high quality of food. The meals we have had have been very lacklustre, but my home made gnocchi I got in Venice for lunch was off the chart. The sauce was so fresh and tasty I promptly mopped it up with the limitless bread at our table (which was eaten as fast as it arrived).
After lunch it was time for a quick shop then to meet-up with the rest of the group for a gondola ride through the ancient city. The ride was pleasant enough, not very long but the view point was pretty awesome. Its not something you can really enjoy with a large group of people, instead I think it would be much better to experience with a loved one, getting lost in the canals and sharing a special moment together. Colin just didn’t cut it in this case.
After the ride it was an Optional Extra dinner at a cost of 35 Euro. The supplied/free meals have pretty much consistently been poor and the Optional Extra ones have been about 50/50 regarding their quality. Having a phenomenal lunch my expectations were high. What we received was 10 courses of average. We got bread, an attempt at bruschetta, a meat selection, deep fried seafood, an attempt a carbonara, an antipasto spaghetti (best of the 10), gnocchi (worst of the 10) and finally ice cream that had little bits of ice in it. Was a bit disappointing because of the potential of the city, I think in future I will be find my own meals when there are alternatives.
We caught the boat back to the coach then back to the hotel. It was an early night as it was an early start for white water rafting the next morning.