Middle of nowhere

Trip Start Jul 23, 2007
Trip End Aug 23, 2007

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Flag of Slovenia  ,
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The train from Bled arrived in Nova Gorica at 9pm. Unfortunately this is a rather small border town, certainly with no tourist information, nor anything open from what I could see at that time of night. All I had was my faint memory of the map I had looked at in someone's travel guide in Bled, and the address of the hostel I was trying to find. I started off going right, but 10 minutes later, when I was back at the station, decided that probably wasn't the way. Left was looking pretty good, so I wandered off down the dark empty streets. It seemed like quite a safe town, it wasn't like I was in the city or anything, but even so it probably wasn't ideal. After 5 or 10 minutes walking (rucksack feeling rather heavy now) I was about to give up and go back to sleep on a bench in the station, when I spotted a sign to the hostel- whoo! And only 700m away... how far is that? Anyway I went off down this second road, which basically seemed like a country road- didn't even have any street lights now, and as the ocassional car lights lit me up like a rabbit before plunging me back into darkness, I thought 'this is so far from ideal, it's almost bad.' Almost. Like I said, I felt quite safe, but if I'd known how far it was to walk I wouldn't have bothered and certainly wouldn't recommend walking down there in the dark! When I finally arrived, it turned out it was more like an acommodation centre rather than a hostel- used for conferences etc I think, there was a group of teenagers there on band camp. (Yes, band camp). The atmosphere was quite similar to our rowing camps, I was a bit worried they'd keep me awake, but quietened down before too long! Besides I had a triple room for 15 euros, much cheaper than the room I had in Bled.

The next morning, I left as soon as I could to catch the train to Venice. But first I had to get into Italy. I grabbed some breakfast on the way out, and set out with my rucksack (and various things I'd collected on the way) again. The border crossing is only a few minutes walk from the station (turn LEFT when you get exit) and was very uneventful. I just flashed my British passport at the border control and they waved me through. Slovenia is a member of the EU now, so people pop across the border all the time from what I could see. I walked down to the end of Via San Gabriele, and tried to work out where the bus stop was. I happened to chance on the one going in the right direction (you need to cross the road and get the one towards San Andrea: they leave every 15 mins between 6am and 9pm, and take 15 mins to get to the station.)

I was impressed with the train system in Italy- we were told that the train was 15 minutes delayed, but unlike England where you're told 5 minutes, then another 5 minutes, then it leaves even beyond that, the train pulled into the station 13 minutes later, and was leaving exactly 15 minutes late. It just makes the train company seem more in control, despite still being quite late- First Great Western, take note! As the train neared Venice, it got busier and busier, until the aisles were full of people standing, and people were having to squeeze on the train... this does not bode well for the crowds in Venice! But I think many of them were Italians going on holiday, as the train near emptied at Venice Mestre, leaving only a couple of hundred people to pour off the train in Venice.
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