After a restful Sunday lounging around Elizabeth and Austin’s townhouse, I was more than ready for what the week promised.
We’d already explored some delicious local fried chicken (oh yea, guys, Americanized chicken is apparently a hit there — and it’s really, really good to boot). We also ventured onto the Aviano Air Force base so I could exchange some dollars for euros, pick up shampoo and see what life looks like on a foreign base.
Pro travel tip: if you can weasel your way onto an American base (like I was able to as a guest of my friends), the fees on your exchange are pretty unbeatable. I was able to get my euros for 25¢. Not 25¢ per dollar or something nuts. Just 25¢. Which is, actually, nuts. Also, newsflash: aside from a few architectural differences, that base looks a heck of a lot like home. USPS and Bank of America included (which will prove handy later!).
Monday was devoted to yet another trip into Venice. This time, Elizabeth and I would make the trek alone — taking the train much further from a small station near Aviano. Once again, she walked me through the steps for using the kiosk, validating the ticket and finding the right binario. Once again, I panicked a little at the thought of having to do this solo later.
In all the same magic as the day I’d arrived, the train whisked us across the countryside. We exited at the city’s stop and wandered into the panoramic glory of the Canal Grande. On a mission to see the famed islands of the Venice lagoon, we searched for a vaporetto. “Buy the ticket, validate the ticket, find the bin,” I attempted to memorize.
Aboard, we found standing room on the steps between the upper and lower decks. Standing room, not holding room. I was thankful for both my reasonably decent balance as well as the handful of motion sickness meds I’d popped before the train ride. Regardless, there was absolutely nothing that would stand in my way of crossing off this particular trip requirement: travel Venice by boat.
The view of the city from the water is uniquely as gorgeous as it is from the bridges or alleys. That is — what you can make out through the stained, murky windows of the boat. Still, the experience was remarkable — precisely what I was hoping for when “boat” made the must-do list.
The day was only beginning and I was already over the moon with the train and boat rides. Such are the simple pleasures of the girl with no mass transit, apparently. I considered the silliness of it as we slowly wove through the sights and sounds of the city. Finally, the engine roared and the vaporetto found a brisk cruise through the lagoon.
We were heading straight for Murano.