In Munich we got on a night train to Venice. This was our first night train experience, and it was really cool. We payed for a first class ticket and so we had a cabin all to ourself. We had bunk beds and our own little bathroom. Our bathroom was smaller than a cruise bathroom.... itty- bitty. But it was great cause we had it all to ourself. We took some dramamine to knock us out, and then we awoke to an amazing breakfast laid out for us next door. We were really impressed with our German night train. You should totally take a nigh train in Germany....but Italy- that's another story, but we'll get to that.
Anyways, we got to Venice about 6:30 in the morning and we were so excited to have the whole day in Venice. We found a place at the train stations to store our bags for the day so that we didn't have to worry about our big packs all day since we were not staying the night in Venice and didn't have a hotel to store it in. Our plan that day was to kayak through Venice, and so we left everything of value in our packs- including our camera. (We did have a water camera that we bought at Walmart before or trip specifically for this day.) So, FYI when you look at our photo slide show below there are not many photos. Our water camera is at Sams Club getting processed.
Anyways, we set off to locate the place we were supposed to meet our kayaking tour. The guy told us that we could walk from the train station to the location, but we kept walking and walking, and walking and we were no where near where we were supposed to be. No one spoke English that we tried to ask, and so it was very confusing. Also, there were hardly any street signs. Well, we finally figured out that Lido (where we were supposed to meet our kayaking people) was an island, and that there is no way to walk there. So, we had to get a water taxi- which was really frustrating because we had walked for like an hour and a half, and they charged us 13 Euros for the two of us to take like a 10 minute "taxi" ride. That was alot of money for that stupid thing.
Well, when we got to Lido we started looking for the place that we were supposed to meet, and to make a long story short- we got lost for a long time, we found the place, no one was there, and so we gave up and tried to find internet to see if we were at the wrong spot or at the wrong time or something. Again, no one spoke English so it was difficult to find internet. We finally found a Best Western and they spoke English and we payed them for internet. Long story short again- the kayak people had emailed us and changed the location of the meeting point, and so of course we didn't make it. It was a good thing that we did not pre-pay for this tour. But then, that left us on Lido, and the only way back over to the main island was back on the stupid water taxi- so another 13 Euros later we were back to the main island.... Ugh... so we spent 26 Euros that day on stupid water taxis. It was so frustrating!
We got over to the main plaza at San Marco and there were a ZILLION people everywhere. Tourists just elbow to elbow. It was miserable. We could barely move in the main plaza, and so we decided to get off the main plaza and walk some of the small side streets and mosey around the town for the rest of the day since we missed our tour. Well, there were still people everywhere, and it was just annoying. We walked and walked, and finally decided that we needed to eat something, and so we found a small side-walk cafe to eat some pizza at. It was okay- nothing great- which was disappointing. (We later found out from our taste tour in Florence that if you eat a decent meal in Venice you are lucky. Supposedly there are not many good places to eat there and it's all over priced.) And, you don't even want to know about the bathroom I used there... yuck.... supposedly all public bathrooms in Venice were like the one I used, and if that's the case- if you go to Venice, you better hold it girls if you gotta go potty. It was just a big pot that you had to straddle and try to go.... but add to that the stinkiest smell and the dirtiest closet-sized room- and that was the bathroom in Venice. I almost threw up cause it was so absolutely disgusting. Ugh.....
So, we continued to walk around and tried to enjoy Venice, but it was just frustrating. So, we decided that maybe we'd head back to the train station and see if we could get an earlier train to Rome. Well, then things just got worse. Remember how I said 1/2 the streets were missing signs? Yeah... we got lost. We tried to ask people, but again- hardly anyone spoke English, and the way they sent us just tended to get us more lost and confused. We were just so annoyed and sick of the city. We finally got back to the train station 2 hours later. 2 HOURS... Ahh... it was so annoying.
We figured out what train to take to Rome, but we had an hour and a 1/2 we could have still explored before our train, but we didn't want to. We didn't want to get lost again, and we just weren't feeling Venice.... we just wanted to leave. We did take some photos outside the train station, not far off the beaten path with our digital camera- so that's why we have the ones below. Sorry I don't have our water camera ones.
Funny story about that water camera- we were just snapping away with our dinky little water camera all day. All these people had their big nice cameras and we had our dinky water camera cause we thought we'd be kayaking... yah- we didn't kayak, but we had that water camera.... I think you had to be there though, cause every time Lantz and I would pull out the dinky water camera to snap a photo we'd just start laughing.
Anyways, we sat in front of the train station for over an hour waiting to get out of Venice. At that point, we were practically running for the train cause we wanted to get out of there. Well, that's where we learned another tough lesson. In Italy even if you have your Euro-rail pass you have to make reservations for all the trains. So stupid. So, we get on a first class train- cause our Euro-rail is first class, and people were like.. uh, you're in my seat... and we were like what? Evidently all the seats are assigned in Italy cause you have to buy that stupid reservation. Well, the guy let us buy tickets for the train, but we didn't have reservations, so at every stop we had to get up and move cause we were evidently always in other people's seats. It was so emabarassing. I felt like a stow away. People kept staring at us like we were so dumb. We didn't know. Anyways, we eventually ended up on the ground in the area between cabs. We just gave up on seats. The whole train was packed and there was no way we were getting a seat. We just wanted to get to Rome.
Lantz and I were so frustrated about the train thing cause Lantz was on the phone for hours with a Euro rail guy before we bought our tickets months before we left. The EuroRail guy said that we could get on any train in any part that we were traveling through with this main pass. He failed to leave out the fact that in Italy you have to have reservations. So yeah, we learned our lesson. All the other trains in Italy we took we made sure to have reservations so that we could have seats. It was a stupid expense that we were not expecting to pay.
So, in case you were wondering the one place that I didn't like- this was it. I hated Venice. I know 1/2 of the reasons I didn't like it were circumstantial, but still... it was just over-rated. If you've seen a picture of it- that's all you need. And, it's known for being a city on water, but every city were were in had rivers flowing through it... and Amsterdam was basically all on water. It's just so small and compact and so people can't really spread out, and so it's just packed with people. And, everyone was lost. No one knew their way around and everyone was walking around with maps just trying to figure out where they were at. (Notice photo of random girl holding a map in the slide show... yeah... that was Venice.) I just felt that Venice was not worth it. It wasn't what I had expected. I'm glad we only had one day planned there- I think if we would have planned on staying more than one day we would have been irritated the whole time. We were lucky that it wasn't sunny, cause we heard that if it's sunny it's super stinky. So that was good that we didn't have to deal with major stink.
Anyways, if you ask me I'd tell you to skip Venice. Someone else may tell you it was amazing and that they loved it, but for me- I did not like it at all. We have some good photos, but I wouldn't go back. It wasn't worth it at all in my opinion.