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Venice, Italy - Italy Travel Story

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Title: Venice, Italy
PrefaceI get lost in Wal-Mart. In the fall, my  fear is that my daughters, Renee and Gabby will convince me  to enter one of those big corn mazes.  Here’s a story New Year’s Eve 1998, Venice, Italy. My friend Michelle and I had been in the Italy for about 5 days. We took an all night train from Rome to a town a short train ride from Venice. All the passenger cars were really crowded and we had to share a sleeping car with an Italian family - mother, father and 20 something year old daughter. It was very crowded. My friend Michelle is almost 6 feet tall and the man was quite large. The girl had a really bad cough. She coughed and cried on the phone with her boyfriend the entire 8 hour train ride. It was miserable. We checked into our hotel room early and took a nap. When it was time to head out to Venice, Michelle said that she didn’t feel good and she wasn’t going to go. So I took off to Venice by myself.  I walked around Venice and  was unenthused. The water was very  polluted and I felt like a rat in a maze. I was cold, even with leggings, pants, a winter coat and a scarf wrapped around my face.  I  explored some of  the must see sites, then grabbed something to eat and decided to head back to the hotel. I could NOT find my way out of the city. I spent hours trying to get back to the boat. It started getting dark and  I kind of started panicking because I was walking around in circles. Every street was an alley and every building looked the same. Finally,  I got out of the city, got on the boat, then the train and headed back to the hotel. I was glad to be out of Venice! It was dark and late, probably around 10:30 pm, when I  got off the train. I got off at the wrong train station! It was completely dark and deserted and  one town away from my hotel. There were no phones or even lights at the station and the next train was many hours away. I immediately decided not to panic. I figured that I would stay along the road near the train track and walk the couple miles to town. As I was walking, I could hear firecrackers going off. It was almost midnight on New Year’s Eve.  I walked about a mile and entered a pizza place, the only open business in town. There was a woman behind the counter and a group of very old men at the corner table. I knew limited Spanish and no Italian. I went into the bathroom to get myself together, came out and ordered a beer and managed to state that I needed a taxi to the next town.  There was no taxi service available in that town. The woman said that Louie would take me to my hotel, he just needed to go next door to his apartment and  get his shoes. He was about 90 years old and was wearing his  slippers.  I waited for Louie and got into his big Cadillac. He had “romantic” music blaring and stared at me and commented about the music the whole time that he drove. I actually had to yell at him because I thought he was going to drive off the road.  I ran into the hotel room, dove onto the bed  and screamed, “Michelle, you are never going to believe my night!” She hadn’t gotten out of bed all day. We shuffled off to the hotel bar, she looked like she had just crawled out of bed and I was exhausted. We had time for a couple of crackers with cheese and  one drink. We cheered the New Year in with a  nice Italian family and went to bed.  Michelle and I both got pneumonia on that trip and spent a week in Assisi struggling  to breathe the beautiful mountain air.

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