Meeting the Explore group in Mestre

Trip Start Mar 26, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Venezia

Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Friday, April 1, 2011

I woke up at 7 and considered going back to sleep but decided to get up and on my way.  I crashed around the room trying to pack up my last things since I stayed up late with the computer and even though I tried to pack in advance there was still a lot of stuff lying around.  So I got out of the hostel by 8 and dragged my stuff over to St Pancras Station to take the tube to Victoria Station where I would get the National Rail to Gatwick.  When I got to Gatwick it was too early to check in so I sat around and read.  Then when the board finally announced the gate about 30 minutes before departure, the woman at the gate said everyone was already on the plane and I and the few other stragglers needed to get on right away.  EasyJet is a cut-rate airline and has open seating, and no reclining, so I am told.  It was a short flight so it wasn't too bad.  It is one hour earlier here in Venice and it is warm and sunny.

I looked around for the tour leader but couldn't find anyone after several passes of the arrivals hall, then I saw him.  I somehow had walked past.  There are two couples, or are there three?...oh, oh,...I don't know everyone's name yet ... and three single women, one from the US.  I am rooming with Catherine who is English as are all the couples.  Erwin, our tour leader, is Dutch.  Everyone seems nice.  Our tour leader will be 34 and the rest of us must be in late 50's and 60's, except for Pam who is younger.  We had our meeting here in Mestre..which is on the outskirts of Venice.  We were going to go into Venice, but there is a bus strike so everyone bagged it and we went to McOnor's Pub and I had pizza and a first real Italian meal!   My fellow travelers are all travel junkies so there were many tales of travel during well as discussion of the events in Syria and how they will affect us.  Since the US has a travel advisory on Syria, that is not good.  We are kind of hoping that things will get better but I just heard that there were deaths in Damascus so that is definitely not good.  It is getting late and I have to be up at 7 am plus do some laundry before then.

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