May 8, 2006

Europe Trip Pt. 3

Okay, I need to speed this up, sorry those other two were so long, I'm just trying to remember everything I can!

Hm. Venice. Venice was beautiful, and our hostel was awesome (an amazingly nice lady who gave us a map and glass figurines, and super nice rooms), but I have two complaints about it. One is that I don't know if it entirely lives up to expectations - I saw a row of about eight gondolas that looked like they were part of some boat ride at Disney World or something, and the gondoliers all look severely bored. (No we didn't go on a gondola ride, they're insanely expensive). The other is that Venice is great, and the canals are pretty...until you actually need to GET somewhere. I got lost in Venice for about two hours. I ended up in random residential areas, random store areas, none of the streets go straight, and even got to one point where I could SEE EXACTLY where I needed to go, with the exception of the eight foot gap of water in between me and the path and no bridges in sight. (I momentarily debated long jumping it - TECHNICALLY I should be able to jump it, eight feet really isnt that far for a long jump, but decided that would probably end in badness). After two hours of wandering and fighting back tears as I had no map and no phrasebook and couldn't find anyone who could tell me where to go that I could understand, I finally made it back. Highly stressed and trying to swallow a lump in my throat, I didn't say anything but instead just sat next to Andrew without a word, unfortunately started crying about two minutes later. Poor Andrew. Ah well.

But yes, despite that two hours of intense frusturation, I did enjoy my time in Venice, mostly our time visiting this island called Ludo that had a beach we picnicked on and just spent time walking around. On to Nice, we took our first night train, which was pretty cool, as the fourth person in our car didn't show up for about an hour so for the first hour or so it was just Mary, Andrew, and me, so had some fun talking/reading/dodging pillows aimed my way by Andrew.

Nice is beautiful. I've come to the conclusion that the Mediterranean is absolutely gorgeous no matter where you see it. (We saw it again in Barcelona and it was just as pretty). Spent some time chilling on the beach and exploring; it really is just amazinlgly beautiful. Best part of Nice was climbing on these huge rocks that went down from a path to the water itself. Spent about two hours randomly clambering over rocks. Unfortunately I chose that day of all days to wear the skirt I had brought in case we ended up going to church on Easter, so scuffed up my shoes a bit and was a bit unladylike at times, but who cares, it was fun. Spent most of that day just chilling out. That night we took a walk down the beach again which was mildly disconcerting - it got to the point where the ocean was black and the sky was black, so when you looked across the beach it looked like the world just...ended, right there. Mary and I spent some time walking towards it and creeping ourselves out. It really was sort of humbling.

The next morning was mildly stressful, to put it lightly. Said goodby to Andrew, went to the train station, then the fun began. We had Eurorail passes and so thought that we could just hop on the train to Paris at the time it said and all would be well. Not so. I went to check with the information guy just to verify the platform we were on, but as soon as I said "we need to go to Paris" (in French!! Hehe that was fun), he said "You need a reservation." (In English, unfortunately, kinda disappointing). "Do I NEED a reservation?" "Yes." Okay. Off to find Mary, wait in line for the ticket window, get up there, tell the guy what we need...

"It's full." "It's what?" "Full." "Can we take a connection somewhere?" "What?" "A connection." "I dont understand. Do you speak any french." "Un peu." "Can you ask it in french." This being the first time I've really had to speak french in about a year without rehearsing what I was going to say in my head first, I fumble a little bit, and in horrible, horrible grammar and accent, come out with, "Oui, j'essaiyais...est-ce qu'ils sont les autres desinations qui nous pouvons" trail off weakly, "...that will eventually get us to Paris?" Smooth. Real smooth. Guy looks at us blankly. We walk off, me kicking myself.

Anyway, we did eventually get to Paris... More later. :)

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