15 September 2008

The planes don't run on time, either...

Monday, 15 September, 2008

I'm sitting in the lobby of our hotel, the Hotel Centrale in Mestre, Verona, Italy. This smallish town (oops, I only thought it was smallish!  Evidently, it's an industrial center of over 200,000.  Who knew?) is a bit west of Venice, not far from Marco Polo, the main airport serving Venice. When I last left you, I mistakenly thought I might get some sleep on the plane. I surely would have, had it not been for Mr. BIG LOUDMOUTH who was sitting right behind Rex and in front of John. EVERY time I was either just asleep or almost asleep, he woke up and had something to say at the freaking top of his lungs. I know more about him than I should, and if I knew his name or had really incriminating information to share about him, I would. I wanted to hurt him! The last straw came early this morning, when the lights were still off in the plane and most people were soundly sleeping and his equally loudmouth buddy came up to our rows for a visit. I know all about his buddy now, too! You would have thought they were the only people on the plane.

At any rate, none of us got much sleep, so when we arrived at the airport in Rome, we just sort of followed the lines of people. We were pretty sure we had missed our flight, since we arrived about the time it was due to take off. It took us about 30 minutes to find that our for sure, though. I have never seen an airport with so few gate attendants (or anyone, for that matter) who was available to answer questions. But, we just followed the crowds and made our way to the transfer/missed flights desks. There were so many people working there that we decided this was a fairly normal occurence. So we were not surprised to learn that Alitalia filed for bankruptcy today! Hope we have a flight home!!

With no trouble, we got ticketed on the next flight to Venice, which was due to leave at 9:05 AM. It left about 9:30, and we arrived safely. Our bags, however, were not so lucky. Actually, one of our bags made it, and I was so glad that Rex and I had 'cross-packed'! Of course, his toiletries and jacket made it... It was about 59 degrees when we landed and a little overcast, but not raining. It took us some time to complete the necessary paperwork to recover our bags, and then we were off. We found a taxi with no trouble, and our driver was a delightful man who spoke excellent English. He was concerned about hurricanes Ike and Gustav and simply could not understand how we could build a city that was below sea level at the seaside. I thought that was funny, seeing as how we were in Venice! He assured us that Venice is neither sinking nor is the water encroaching upon the land. They have it all under control here!

Our driver gave us some recommendations for restaurants and delivered us to our hotel, where we had a super friendly (and again, a good English speaking) attendant. We got all checked in, even getting "large matrimonial beds"! Our room is almost identical to the one Kim M and I stayed in when we were in Florence with her Latin teacher and classmates nine years ago. Our shower is almost definitely smaller than the one on the cruise ship will be, but it felt great! It is in the corner of the bathroom and the two side walls are folding doors. It is so tiny that when Rex dropped the soap, he couldn't get it without opening the doors! Just a little humorous visual for you there!

After we cleaned up a bit, we went out in search of some lunch. Our hotelier recommended Cafe Brek, which was just 150 meters down the street. It is a cafeteria like place, so we just waited until someone ordered the same pasta we wanted, and then we got that! Except for John, who got a hot dog and french fries! The pasta pomodoro was delicious, as was the crusty roll. All that was missing was some gelato, so off we went, in search of...

We did not have to walk far before we found a small gelataria. Judy and I had some scrumptious dark chocolate, Rex had regular chocolate, and John had hazelnut. YUM! I love Italy!! We wandered around the piazza, which was virtually empty since it is Monday. The window shopping is great here, and we're having a good time noticing the fashions. Here's today's fall fashion tip: PURPLE is the hot color! Yesterday's tip: get and wear a wool scarf, even if it's 80 degrees outside.

After wandering around a bit, we went back to the hotel in hopes of finding our bags. But no. So we opted for naps, which were WONDERFUL! Around 7 PM we went off in search of dinner (are you seeing a theme here? eat, sleep, eat, eat gelato, sleep...) and we chose Alla Magnolie, a nearby pizzeria. Good choice! John and Judy split a ham, mushroom, artichoke, and cheese pizza and Rex and I had a pizza carbonara. We had salads and wine and it was all we needed. Best news of the day (next to the gelato) is that our bags have found us! And even better, we were finally able to unlock them (the airport 'locked' them with those plastic beaded things) after Judy got one unlocked compartment open and found her scissors. I love traveling with people who come well-prepared!

So now everyone else is upstairs, sleeping or getting ready to sleep. The hotel walls are so thick that I can only get on the internet in the lobby, so here I am. It's a happening place though, and I'm having fun people watching! Our plans for tomorrow - early breakfast (we figure we'll be up early anyway!) and then we're off to Venice to take a tour of the outer islands, especially Murano (where they make the gorgeous glass) and Lido. Then we'll spend the afternoon tooling around Venice and seeing what we see. You'll be the first to know!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HEY!! Kimsey here ... (Bob and Emma's daughter & favorite child, second only to Ty!) Just checking in on ya'll and looking to see if there was a post "Safe & Sound on the Boat" ... hoping that everyones luggage arrived and that ya'll are enjoying cocktails at sea!! I'll keep checking! I know ya'll are going to have so much fun - thanks so much for keeping us posted! Tell mom & dad I love them and to be sweet! :o)