So with no travel plans currently on the horizon I’d been a bit loathe to finish this, even if it was nearly 3 months ago that I got back, but I can only put if off for so long.
Our Croatia adventure culminated in a short stay in Italy. Leaving behind Pula and all the other wonderful places we’d been, the plan was to hop on a bus for a couple of hours to get us over the border to Trieste, and then take a train from there to Venice. It should have taken about 3 or 4 hours tops. But of course nothing ever seems to go as planned for us. It should have been a simple matter of getting on the bus from right outside our apartment, taking it to the bus station, and getting on the express coach to Italy. But due to relying on a very out of proportion map, we got off the bus early and found ourselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. With no taxis in sight we then had to walk all the way back into town, where we finally managed to flag one down. Unfortunately this meant that we missed the fast bus and had to wait a couple of hours for the next one.
As we were sitting in the sun and eating some utterly delicious food from the bakery across the road, a minibus pulled up in the space our bus was supposedly leaving from. Slightly confused, we wandered over to the driver and asked if this was the bus for Trieste, which he confirmed. And so we got into what seemed like some random man’s car and were on our way. After four hours, detours to some extremely out of the way towns, a near fight between the driver and one of our fellow passengers, and a brief glimpse at the Slovenian countryside, we arrived. Sadly by this time it was too late for us to spend any time in Trieste, which looked like a really lovely place, and so we bought our train tickets for Venice and boarded the train: only to be told that it was delayed by an hour.
Eventually we did make it though, and the B&B we were staying at was exactly what we needed. I had spent hours trawling the web before this trip to try and find somewhere reasonably cheap to stay in Venice. I quickly realised that this was impossible, as even the nastiest hostels were in the region of £80 a night, and so we had opted to stay in Mestre. We probably couldn’t have been closer to the train station, from which Venice was just a 10 minute journey away, and we got somewhere a lot nicer for our money. The woman who owned the B&B was lovely, and although neither of us speaks Italian we somehow managed to have full conversations with her.
The next morning she made us breakfast and we headed into Venice. As it was still early on a mid-October morning she kept warning me that I was going to freeze in my little Summer dress, but pretty soon the sun came out and it turned into a lovely hot day, perfect for exploring Venice’s windy streets and canals.
Stepping off the train in Santa Lucia station, we felt a whole world away from the past few weeks in Croatia. Luckily the first thing we noticed wasn’t the stench from the canals which I’ve heard normally assaults your senses in the middle of Summer, but the striking green roof of the church of San Simeone Piccolo and the Ponte Degli Scalzi spanning the Grand Canal. From there we essentially spent three days wandering, exploring, and getting completely lost in the different sestiere. Of course we visited the Piazzo San Marco, the Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Rialto Bridge and a few other notable places, as well as some of the lesser known gems as well. Really Venice just struck me as the perfect place to get lost in – there was always something interesting or stunning down every alley or side canal, and getting off the beaten path and away from the hoards of tourists made a nice break.
Eventually though, it came to the end of our trip. As the sky clouded over and a storm quickly approached, we got out of there just in time. But our relief at having narrowly avoided getting stuck on a flooded island quickly disappeared as the realisation sunk in that this was the end of our little adventure and that it was time to head back to reality.
Getting off the beaten path – wandering in Santa Croce and the Scala Contarini del Bovolo