Last Day in Italy

Trip Start Aug 16, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Where I stayed
Overnight train to Vienna

Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Saturday, September 5, 2009

Well today was my last day in Venice. But I didn't have a whole lot left that I really wanted to do, so I could still take my time. I slept in a little bit before taking a long vaporetto ride to the train station to store my backpack for the day. There had been a strong breeze the night before and it had thankfully blown away all the heat and humidity. It was deliciously cool and the breeze was still blowing very strongly.

After I dropped off my bags, I caught another vaporetto down the grand canal to St. Mark’s square. And from there I caught yet another vaporetto for a short hop over to San Giorgio Maggiore, a church on a small island directly across from St. Mark’s. The church was pretty beautiful, but the best part was the bell tower that had an elevator. The views from the top were incredible, even better than the Campanile on St. Mark’s Square. And the wind was blowing very strongly—it was actually cold and it felt wonderful!

I hopped the vaporetto back over to St. Mark’s and was surprised to find that the square was being flooded with water a little bit. There were white stone covers scattered all over the square, and they were the low points where water drains when it rains. But when the tide is high, it’s also where the water comes in. I could actually see the water bubbling out of some of them. It was only enough water to make big puddles around the covers, but there is actually what’s called an "Aqua Alta" many times a year. This is when the tide is so high that St. Mark’s Square and many other streets are completely flooded with water. They have sirens to let people know when this is happening, so they can go to their homes to protect their first floor belongings.

Anyway, I went in search of some batteries for my camera. For some reason my battery recharger is not working at the moment. I’ve been having some trouble where it would only work in a certain configuration with my adapter and splitter. But yesterday I couldn’t get it to work at all. So I went in search of a grocery store I had seen the day before. I couldn’t find it, but I did wander all the way over to the Rialto Bridge. So I stopped for some gelato at Michaelangelo’s, where I’d gone the past two days. I tried a new berry flavor, along with the strawberry, and they were both wonderful. I think, however, that strawberry is officially my favorite gelato flavor.

I headed back to St. Mark’s a different way and ran across a Fujifilm store, where I was able to get a couple sets of batteries. And then just a little farther on I found the grocery store! I still went in, though, so that I could get some snacks.

When I got back to St. Marks I went to tour the Doge’s Palace. I had gone there on my trip 18 years ago and remembered being amazed by it. It was still pretty amazing, with intricate ceiling decorations. But it wasn’t quite as spectacular as I remembered it. Of course, that had been the first time I’d ever seen anything like it. And I’ve seen quite a few similar places in the intervening time.

The one weird thing was that 18 years ago, I remembered being practically the only people touring the palace. Whereas today, there were hordes of people there. In fact, there were hordes of people all over Venice. Lots of big clumps of tour groups around St. Mark’s, and it was pretty much impossible to walk quickly through the narrow streets. Except in the evening, though, when there weren’t nearly as many tourists there.

Anyway, I next went to the park near St. Mark’s square to have some snacks. On the way there I got to see a Holland America cruise ship (the “Oosterdam”) leaving Venice. It was very large. Then I hopped on a vaporetto over to Santa Maria della Salute, another waterfront church right across the grand canal from St. Mark’s. It was very pretty on the outside, but the inside was just okay. I think I’ve seen too many churches; the interiors just don’t interest me much anymore unless they’re really spectacular.

By this time it was about time to head to the train station to catch my overnight train to Vienna. I caught another vaporetto to go back up the grand canal, and I decided to get off at the Rialto bridge to get one last scoop of gelato. I just got a small one this time, but I had to have some more strawberry.

Then I walked over to the train station, wandering through the streets of Venice for one last time. When I got to the station, I checked the departure board for my train and was surprised when I didn’t see it. My itinerary had said the train. But there was nowhere to sit and wait at the train station, only the front steps outside. So I just sat outside for a while, trying to decide what to do. I had already thrown away my Venice map and guidebook material, so I couldn’t even look up what there was to do.

So after a long while, I finally decided to wander in search of something to eat. I ended up back at the Rialto Bridge and ate at a restaurant right along the canal. The view was excellent, but the food wasn’t. I will actually be a little happy to leave Italy, because I don’t think I’ll be as tempted to eat at restaurants in other countries. I’ve spent a lot of money eating at restaurants in Italy because I love Italian food so much. And most of the time I’ve been disappointed.

Anyway, when I was done eating I had one final, final walk through Venice back to the train station. I still had a couple of hours to wait, but I just got my backpack and sat outside. I managed to find a wall I could sit against, which is actually pretty comfortable with my backpack propped up  behind me. But I was pretty tired and didn’t feel like getting out my computer. So I just got out my mp3 player and relaxed.

I was very happy when the track number for my train came up 45 minutes before it was supposed to leave. This was my last overnight train on the trip, and it was supposed to be a six-person couchette cabin. But I was very happy to see that they had set it up for four beds. And there seemed to be a lot more room in the cabin than on other overnight trains.

I was very tired, so after our train departed it wasn’t too long before I went to sleep.


P.S. I posted pictures in yesterday's entry, please take a look!
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