Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Comedy of Errors: The Merchant (/Medic) of Venice

My train basically was supposed to go from Prague to Munich, and then 40 minutes later I would catch a train from there to Venice, travelling through the night.

When we got about halfway through the journey to Munich, an announcement came over the intercom informing us that the train would go as far as one place, then there was a rail replacement bus to take us to another station to rejoin another train. It was a bit stressful, but I managed. I realised however once on the train taking us to Munich that it was running quite late, so I went about finding the train manager to check if we'd get to Munich in time for my next train, which he assured me we would, and the other train would wait for us. We didn't, and it didn't however, so I went to the information people and they gave me a form to claim on, stamped my ticket, recommended I stay at the hotel across the road, and told me the next train was at 7:30 tomorrow. So I had a night in a rather nice albeit not particularly cheap hotel, but it was a better sleep than I would've otherwise have got. 

Next morning I got up, had breakfast and went across to the station again and went about claiming my money back and getting a ticket for the new train. I seemed to get the only person who couldn't speak English, and after waiting for my number to come up there wasn't much time. This ended up causing a headache because I then didn't have reserved seat on the trains I was taking, and because I'd got my money back on my other ticket, I didn't have proof that I originally did. The ticket guy should've told me that. Annoying as I'd asked all the right questions but got all the wrong answers.

I ended up sitting with some young Germans for most of the way, and they were most helpful especially at Verona when it wasn't clear which platform I needed to be on.

Before that though, it was interesting passing through Austria, and then into Northern Italy, and the amazing landscapes of them both.

At one point I poked my eye with a cable tie on my rucksack when I was putting it up on a rack. Ouch!

Quite fittingly, this vending machine represents
Venice well - i.e. that "You can get Fucked",
 and being a self-service that it is DIY, in other
words - "Go Fuck Yourself"
I got to Venice about 2pm and found my hostel. The hostel itself was alright, the beds weren't bunk beds for a start, the staff however I found weren't particularly keen to help, but neither were the tourist information people - maps were €3, there were 3 staff but they'd only serve one person at a time, and only let one customer into the office at a time. 

The same day as I got there I went for a walk and got information for my next train journey - the train people on the other hand were awesomely helpful and restored my faith in Venetians and Italians in general. On the same wall I found a Co-op supermarket so I had a bit of a look, about 500gm of cheese was about €2 so I bought myself some and proceeded to munch on it (the constipation didn't hit until 2 days later), and some gelato, which I knew Suzanne and Bevan raved about when they were in Italy.

I think I had a bit of a sleep, and then went and had some pizza for dinner.

The next morning I woke up and the eye I had accidentally poked with the cable tie had weeped and was bloodshot and sensitive to light. Like I said the staff at the hostel were a bit useless, but I got the name of another hostel from them, and proceeded to book it for the next night, as I hadn't seen much, and I would also need some time to have my eye seen too.

I took my stuff to the new hostel, and instantly they were 100x more helpful, the manager Nick was an American and he told me how to get to the hospital, and that it wouldn't cost more than a maximum of €70.

I headed to the hospital, getting a little lost, as Venice is hard enough to navigate with two good eyes... But eventually I found it. They have assistants in the waiting room who tell you what to do, and to be fair looked amazingly hot in their white coat/dress things. Eventually I got seen by the eye specialist, he told me I'd scratched my cornea, put some ointment in my eye and bandaged it, and gave me a prescription for some drops.
I then proceeded back towards the hostel, stopping at a pharmacy for the drops, and getting them to help me put them in and re-bandage my eye. Near the pharmacy was a place I had lunch, at quite a reasonable price too - I had spaghetti bolagnaise, which was nice, but not mind-blowingly better than homemade. The good thing about Europe I'll happily admit, is they are up with the times and most accommodation and restaurants have free wifi - I mention this, as it was at this point I checked my emails and found out that I was an Uncle to Sienna. I'll also happily admit I teared up, which of course made my eye hurt ...

I made back to the hostel, they gave me a bed, a bottom bunk which I was stoked about and I got directions to the main sights and proceeded that way. Somehow I got a bit confused and somehow approached the Rialto bridge from the other side than what I thought I was on. Once I worked that out I headed to St Marks square, and then back to the hostel for a pasta dinner. - by this stage my bandage was a bit lacking due to sweat and the fact I kept playing with it, so I bought some adhesive eye patches at another pharmacy- which were just the ticket. To be fair walking around Venice with only one eye is a little disconcerting due to the crowds, the possibiIity of pick-pockets and sense of direction. Back at the hostel I got talking to a young Swedish guy who asked me how old I was, and then told me you're never too old! However we did have quite a good chat after that. Most of the other people at the hostel ended up playing a drinking game which included the game "I have never..." This made interesting listening the next morning when the Swedish guy related in a phone conversation how he'd meet a guy called Luigi, (a comical name even to a Swede) and one of the the "I have never...s".

The next morning I got up, and took some stuff to the post office to send home. It ended up being a little bit of a long exercise, and not cheap, but I got sick of having to jiggle around the stuff in my bag, and any weight I could get rid of was a bonus. I debated whether to get a ferry to check out the canals, but put it in the too hard basket and didn't want to  use up valuable time. I headed back to the hostel to collect my bag and book the next hostel, then went to the station and got a ticket for the next train. I sat down for a while and then caught the train.

No comments:

Post a Comment