Far behind, part deux, Vienna & Venice.

From Krakow I made my way to Vienna and had a very interesting train experience. The train got to the Czech border and split in half. One part went to Prague and the other part went to Vienna. I had to change cars when the conductor came to check my ticket, but as it turns out they sent me in the wrong direction, good thing I didn't decide to go two cars down or I would have been in the seriously wrong direction. The thing is, the train just stopped for a while, and they checked our passports and whatnot, but then we just sat there and there was nothing going on, so I poked my head out the door and, what do you know, but we are just two cars sitting there with no engine and no conductors to tell us what could possibly be going on. Not like it mattered because there was not a whole lot of English going on. I figured that I was on the right portion and just decided to stay put. Finally an engine did come and a Czech crew and on we went to Vienna. I asked the Czech crew if we were going to "Wein" just to make sure and I got a nod of the head and that was good enough for me.

I had forgotten how much I liked Vienna. What a wonderful city. There are museums galore and just stunning Hapsburg architecture. Last time it was under two feet of snow, so it was nice to get a different perspective. I wish I could have stayed there longer. I would have loved to pall around the streets and the palaces that house some of the museums. But alas I had to move on the following day. Onward to Venice I went.

I took the 630am train to Venice from Vienna, only I had a slight problem and stayed next to the wrong train station, making my wake up time 445am. What a delight. I was still sleepy and got off at the wrong stop, but was able to walk to the station and came in the back end of the platform. I really needed to go through the main station to get some provisions and some money but it didn't happen. I got into my reserved seat and we had a packed car. As soon as the conductor came around I headed for the dining car to see if they took credit cards. I have never sat in a dining car before, but I decided to check it out because everyone was sleeping in my car and I was in desperate need of some water. I parked it in the dining car and realized that for this particular ride it is the best seat in the house. We started to snake through the Alps and it was just stunning. The dining car has wall to wall windows and because it was so early no one was in there. I had a remarkably pleasant three hour stay in the dining car, eating, writing and just staring out the window. It was easily the most beautiful train ride I have ever been on.

When you get out of the train station in Venice you are on the grand canal. I had one of those oh my god I'm in Venice moments. It's just there. I stayed practically right across from the train station which made for an easy commute. The afternoon I arrived it rained enough to get my pants wet up to my knees. I thought my shoes would never dry. I still had a nice (freezing) afternoon. Going to the Academia region and to Santa Maria di Salute, and basically walking a large portion of Venice. When it got too close to dark I got on the water taxi, which was packed, to head back up the Grand Canal. It had to be the best time to take it, the lights were just coming on, and the cafes were busy, it was just beautiful. I had a nice dinner and went back to my room. After a super hot shower, some of the roommates started to come back. What a crew. Easily the most interesting two nights people wise so far. Just a hilariously dynamic. A cartoonist from New York a very well traveled Aussie, a guy from China studying in Paris and a guy from Denver studying in Copenhagen. Very interesting. The following day I finally made it to St. Marks square after some seriously confusing signs. I have never seen so many pigeons in my life. It was kind of gross. I took some nice photos though and St. Marks is really impressive. There was a line out the door so I decided to come back later and headed across the channel to San Giorgio. It was an island with another awesome church and a bell tower where you could see the entire city and even the Alps in the background! It had to be the best view in Venice. It was such a beautiful day that I just hung out in the marina and caught some sun. It was the first day I had seen sun since Berlin so I just soaked it in. I did make it inside St. Marks and that is a sight to see. It is filled with gold mosaics, like nothing I have seen. It was so different.
From St. Marks I haphazardly made my way back after about oh two or three hours of wandering. By that time I had a migraine and had to crash.

So today is a holiday in Italy. Yup that's right All Saints Day is a national holiday in Italy and it seriously messed me up. I had the worst train ride of my life today which was followed by my accommodations not coming through and spending a number of hours looking for them. I finally got the last bed in a place. I was starting to think that I was going to have to sleep in the Florence train station. But I have a bed. Yeah! I am heading to Milan tomorrow afternoon to basically sleep and catch my flight to Athens. But from everything that I hear I'm not going to be missing much in Milan. I do hope I get to "the last supper" though. I would be disappointed if I didn't. We ll see what happens, Italy is much harder to travel around than most places to begin with and throw in the holiday. Boo that.