Bonjour!! A post from Paris…

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Well, not just yet.  I’m not done with Venice just yet.

Yes, I gained weight.  Salamat sa pag-notice ha? LOL.  That’s the result of being locked inside my home for three months.  Uhmmm, not locked inside.  More like trapped inside by choice.

I digress.

Let me tell you the adventure that I had to go through while in Venice.  Haba ng istorya pero nakakatuwa.

I was supposed to meet a couple of friends from Germany dahil birthday ko and I arrived one day earlier than my travel companions from the US because they started their travels earlier than I did.  They were coming from Cinque Terre, Italy or what is known as the Five Terraces.  Maganda raw dun.  I regretted the fact that I didn’t join them there but the reason for that is walang malapit na airport sa Cinque Terre.  They drove from Florence so walang problem for them but if I had to meet them, I would have had to travel a while by train.

Long story short, nag decide na ko na sa Venice na lang.  I arrived in Venice and stayed at a hotel by the airport.  Unang dating ko pa lang, may issue na.  I think the cab driver overcharged my fare kasi I was told that it should only take 30 euros from the airport to my hotel, the driver charged me 45 euros.  That’s around 66 dollars.  Mahal!

I arrived in the afternoon.  Nai-kuwento ko na ‘to so I will skip to my journey.  It was the next day.  After my dinner with my friends from Germany and after getting lost in Mestre, I was to meet with my friends who were arriving at 3:30 p.m. at Piazza Santa Lucia station.  I remember Piazza Santa Lucia from the day before!  So, sabi ko sa sarili ko, madali lang yan!  I would take the bus.  The problem is, may luggage ako which is about 50 lbs and another backpack which is 10 lbs.  I was carrying a load of 60 pounds total.  Walking to the train station may not be a great idea but I wanted to take the train this time.  Kasi baka sobrang puno ng bus, mairita sa kin ang mga passengers sa mga dala ko. Pang pasikip lang.

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It was a gorgeous sunny day.  I got up early so I decided to hang out at the hotel lobby for a bit.  I had a bottle of water.  It’s a hot day so the pool looked really inviting.  I had to check out at noon so no choice but to leave the hotel.

I was afraid a little bit but what the heck, right?  I started my trek with 60 lbs of luggage in hand.  The GPS said that it’s a 21-minute walk to the train station, another 10 minutes in the train and then a 25-minute walk from Piazza Santa Lucia to Piazza San Marco.  I can handle that!

As soon as I left the hotel, I followed the map to the train station.  Lekat na yan.  Walang nagsabi sa akin na buhol buhol pala mga kalye.  And every one I asked for directions barely spoke English.

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This is just the first leg, after walking for about 20 minutes already.  I couldn’t find the directions to the train station.  So I tread along.  Sige lang.  Lalabas din yan.

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To amuse myself, I started taking photos to give me a bit of rest from the heat, and also from the heavy load that I was carrying.

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This was a church i passed by on my way to the Mestre Train Station.  Parang andali lang no?  Di ninyo nararamdaman ang bigat ng dala dala ko at gaano kainit ang panahon.  Just saying. 🙂

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After 40 minutes of walking, I finally found the station and the next train was about to arrive in 10 minutes.  Drenched in sweat, I made my way along the group of American teenagers purchasing their ticket in the corner of the photo above.  I had to hurry up otherwise, I may miss the train.

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With a few minutes to spare, I was able to buy my ticket, lug my luggage to the platform and the train arrived on time.  Carrying my luggage up to the train was a challenge too.  One American guy behind me asked if I was okay.  I bravely responded, “Yeah!”.  Para lang huwag akong mag mukhang tanga.

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The train was as crowded if not more crowded than the bus.  I should have just taken the bus! It was only a 5-minute walk from my hotel! I was on the train for literally 10 minutes.  We then arrived at Santa Lucia Station.

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Hello Piazza Santa Lucia!!  You see, right across the exit from the train station is another station.  A station for water taxis.  It’s a public transportation that takes you around Venice.  You can go anywhere.  I DID NOT KNOW THAT.  My option was still according to my GPS – which says that the walk to Piazza San Marco is only 25-minutes.

In the meantime, my friend Bing had already arrived early in the day and he was already sitting at Piazza San Marco in a cafe.  The Florian cafe.  I was supposed to meet him but I was fighting in my head whether I should wait for my other friends who will be arriving in Santa Lucia at 3:30 p.m. or walk to San Marco.  I decided on the latter. BIG MISTAKE!

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You won’t see the frustration in my face here but I have been walking and walking for a while now and whenever I took photos, it’s really just to rest and not look like the stupid tourist that I am.  Carrying my luggage up and down stairs over the canals.

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What better way to relax than to use my selfie stick and take photos of myself!

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And more of the canals and myself.

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When I saw this sign, I was delighted.  I knew I was on the right track but my GPS kept losing signal inside the labyrinth of Venice!  I kept getting lost.

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Each time a saw this, I cringed.  Up and down, up and down.

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And more.  And when I got lost, I hadto come back and go over them again and again..

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I was doing well and not getting frustrated with myself.  Okay na sana.  It had been two hours now since I started walking.  I was still far away from Piazza San Marco.  I didn’t know how long I could still take it.  Until I saw the famous Rialto bridge.  I almost died.  Really?!  Take my suitcase and backpack up these stairs?  Really?  I thought I went to Venice, I didn’t know I was in Calvary!

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But finally, after all that, I reached Piazza San Marco.  The next trick was to find my friend who said he is sitting at Florian cafe.  Once in a while, I checked Facebook and saw him posting selfies of himself with coffee and water, having a blast.

I texted him asking him where he was.  He told me that he’s sitting at Florian cafe, next to the band.  There were four bands playing in the piazza!    I asked him to give me a landmark.  A sign or a mark that is obvious so I can walk towards him.  This was his response, “I’m on the east side of the piazza.”

“Seriously?!  East side?!  Where the f***k is the east side?!”, I thought to myself.  I had to get my compass app out and figure out where east side was.  After all the walking, the lost signal and getting lost several times, I just wanted to sit down and have a drink.

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Finally, I saw him trying to look around for me. He saw how tired I must have looked, soaking in sweat that he felt bad.  He offered me refreshments on his dime and wished me a happy birthday.   He said, I could have taken the water taxi for 7 Euros.  Arrghh!!!  Thanks Bing.

This was just the beginning of my journey in Venice.

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