Monday, 21 November 2011


Up early to buy a ticket for the 7am bus only to find the ticket office was closed and I could buy from the driver. There was the full two checks at the Croatia Slovenia border including having to leave the bus while it was checked (for what I don't know) but we didn't even slow down when the sign announced Italia and we drove into Trieste. It was probably the largest city since Vienna and didn't have much to recommend it. I walked to the train station and ordered a coffee, the woman put a cup on the counter so I offered her the money, she waved it away and pointed at a cashier so I picked up the cup. She reacted as if I had just dropped my trousers "No, no, no" horrified she snatched the cup away "pay first" - then why give me the cup, was she showing me what it looked like?

I got a train for Venice and took a few hours to look around, it was cold and damp but without the legendary bad smell I've heard of. Ufortunately the bus-boats they use were slower than expected and the queues were long so I didn't go inside anywhere but I did pay 13 euros for a return to St Marks

Boat stop

 The canals were wider and rougher than expected and at one point I thought we were heading out to sea as the boat set off across a wide gap toward an opening. They really do run like roads complete with traffic lights, which is interesting as a boat can't stop dead instead it had to shuttle backwards and forwards for two minutes. But at last we arrived.

The edge of the Doges palace

Bell tower

San Marco from the side

and another angle

It is rarely seen from this angle

Not the original horses

Crowds! I had alomst forgotten what that looks like

And then there was this, just a few steps from San Marco Basilica.

Jesus wept
I suspose I should just be glad it wasn't a MacDonalds.

The boat back went a different way past the Rialto and a few other buildings.

From Venice I caught a fast train for Florence and it was fast, the display screen showed 257 kph at one point and it took just over two hours to do about the same distance that took 13 from Belgrade to Lubljana. A lot of the time the route seemed to be in tunnels, I suppose the quickest way through the mountains

Italy is a bit of a culture shock, this place certainly doesn't shut out of season and it took a while just to find my way out of the station at Florence and onto somewhere called Plus Florence, which promised a swimming pool and sauna and delivered.

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