After 4 wonderful days in Rome it was time to progress to the next leg of our journey and take the train to Venice which will become the starting point for our Italian Ride.We formed a peloton of rolling luggage pullers and made our way to the main Termini Railway Station to meet the high speed train to Venice. Once again the day turned out to be carbon copy of the previous 4 days – hot, sunny and humid.
Although the train was very comfortable there was almost no space to store luggage and therefore our bags had to be squashed right at the entrance to our carriage while we made our way to our allocated seats. At least the four hour journey gave us plenty of time to chat and relax along the way. Like many European trains, this one flew along at up to 250 kph and tilted considerably when it was rounding a bend. Why are we apparently unable to build trains of this standard in Australia?
By now you might expect that all the members of our team would have got to know each other’s names, however Mary seemed to have great difficulty remembering what Lionel’s name was. She called him a variety of names – but never the right one. The rest of us decided to add to her confusion by inventing a never ending sequence of alternate names for him (Claude, Owen, Virgil, Bruce, Brutus, the list was endless).
When we stopped at a station somewhere in the middle of Italy, Claude (or Bentley, Rufus, Alexander ??) jumped to his feet and said that he thought he should keep an eye on our luggage. A few seconds later we heard him remonstrating with a girl who was apparently intent on getting off the train with his suitcase. He must have won the argument because the girl got off the train empty handed. It was just as well his instincts had been alert or else he would have arrived in Venice minus all his belongings.
At around 2.30 pm we finally arrived at Santa Luzia station on Venice Island. We joined the queue for tickets to the water bus and were just about to get on the waiting ferry when Septimus (Oscar, Trevor, Erwin ???) pointed out that there was a 2 cm x 2 cm sign advising that the tickets needed to be validated before boarding. Judging by the number of people we soon observed being fined 67.5 Euro for not having a validated ticket, this is a very lucrative money earner for the local authorities. It would have proven to be a very expensive short voyage.
About an hour later we were safely arrived at our small hotel and ready to do some exploration of the surrounds. Mary wasted no time with preliminaries and immediately proceeded to forget the way back to her hotel. Fortunately she was eventually found and escorted back to her enclosure. The next couple of days should be most interesting.