When you are travelling, it’s not always fun and games. Yes, I know – you aren’t working and you’re living it up in cities around the world, how can it not always be a good day?
Well, let’s just say there can be tough days.
Like the day we left Venice. We began trailing our suitcases down towards the waterfront, when a local bar owner stopped us. “There are no boats today”, he said. We looked at him, not exactly comprehending what he was saying. “There are no boats,” he repeated, “there is a special race on the water and there are no other boats running”. But how do we get to the train station? I ask. “You will have to walk, there is no other way”. Great. Now I don’t have any problem walking, and in fact the walk wouldn’t have taken that long, but we had a backpack each and two large suitcases which we would have to guide up and down all the canal bridge stairways from San Marco to the train station and of course I was helping Mum to carry her suitcase up the stairs also.
It wasn’t a joyous start to the day, and when a tourist walked right across and stood in front of me to take photos while I was trying to lug my suitcase up the stairs, I lost my composure. Are you kidding me right now? I asked her. “Why don’t you carry your suitcase a different way, it might be easier” she dared to say to me. Because I am also carrying my mothers suitcase up and down all these stairs and this is the easiest way for me because I am starting to tire, I said, as if I had to explain myself. Why couldn’t this rude, selfish woman just move out of the way?
Anyway, we finally made it to the train station, albeit tired, hot and a bit mad. We managed to buy a ticket and find a train that was going to the next station in Venice (a task in itself) and settled in to ride the next two stops.
Arriving at Venice Mestro, we had some time to fill in before our train to Florence, so we headed out of the station and across the road to find some lunch. We sat at a cafe, where we were served the most horrid meal but the most sour-faced, nasty waitress I’ve just about ever come across.
Time to board the train – just about every platform at the station had a lift from the ground floor up to the platform – except ours, so once more I lugged both suitcases up the stairs.
Our train eventually came and we boarded, but the luggage racks were all full already, so I tied the two together and left them in the passageway behind us, checking every now and again to make sure they weren’t in anyone’s way.
Finally, an inspector came along and said I had to move the bags – fair enough, but I said to him where shall I put them, there is no room. He pointed to a small space left on the luggage racks high above our head and said “Put it there, or wherever, I don’t care”. But I can’t lift them, they are too heavy! “I don’t care, not my problem”.he said.
Soon a couple of the male passengers started talking in rapid Italian – I thought, great, they are thinking what a stupid Australian, not putting her luggage in the right place – I struggled to lift one suitcase onto the high railing, but of course, it could not fit, so I was obviously just going to have to stand there and hold it up for the entire trip.
But it turns out the Italian gentlemen couldn’t believe how rude the attendant had been and they began discussing how we could accommodate the bags. They kindly helped me lift down the suitcase on the high luggage rack to a vacant chair after checking with the person sitting next to it and I had to lob the other one on top of a bunch of other suitcases, which no doubt enthralled the owner of those cases.
One of the Italian gentlemen begged us not to think of all Italians as being so rude and chatted to us on and off throughout the trip, even helping us down off the train with our bags once we arrived in Florence. Some faith restored.
With a few minor hassles and some more rude Italian attitude, we finally got ourselves on to the tramvia and arrived at our hotel, only to lug our suitcases up another five flights of stairs.
Tomorrow will surely be a better day.