It feels like we left Dubbo 12 months ago, but it’s only been 11 days. We haven’t turned a TV on and watched the news, the odd bit of news on Facebook is all we’ve picked up. We have kept a eye on the weather in Dubbo, it’s unAustralian not to check the weather, so we feel obliged to check where we come from and where we’re going.
Breakfast downstairs is very good, it’s a small hotel so the eating area is small and quite intimate. There are accents from everywhere, German ( or Cherman – how it sounds), American ( not Canadian), Italian, Japanese and blow me down a couple of Kiwi kids wander in as we’re leaving. This is a lovely small intimate sort of hotel ( Hotel Da Bruno) halfway between Rialto and San Marco, you have close access for water taxis just behind the hotel. I’d stay here again for sure.
The other crew in the flash joint arrive and we wander out to San Marco about 10am , the tourist hordes are pouring in, the tour leaders with their little sticks with scarves and other colourful paraphernalia held in the air to keep their group on track. Sonya buys priority access to St Marks Basilica for 2 Euros each ( Good value as the lineup for free access is probably 30-40 metres long). Jane skips the Basilica so I take her place and even though I’ve been in here 3 times before it is truly spectacular with the gold leaf mosaics on the roof and the difference from most other Italian churches, its dark, the colours are mainly browns and blacks except for the gold ( I could have this wrong as a lot of people know I’m colour blind – but f… it, its the way I see it so get over it).
We then wander to the book shop on the canal, thousands of books, old new, some rotting in the back yard with that wet musty old book smell, porno comic books, in every language known to man and I make a very important purchase, no, not the porno comic, it’s a paper mâché fridge magnet that I like.
Another short slow walk through the alleys to Rialto, over Rialto and the Grand Canal. It’s slow going, the Olympic class shopper and a couple of her coaches slow the progress considerably. John and I are ahead, with pursed lips, frowns on our foreheads, and mumbling stuff that women shouldn’t hear. The intention was to walk to the Frari church which has original Titian art works and other significant art and cultural significance, but it’s the current culture of shopping that wins the day. I’m defeated, she’s won again. A purchase of 2 Murano glass glasses and a tray with glass cherry’s later, all suitably packed, we leave, the final Venezia shopping is done. We leave Rialto, at a brisk walk ( I’n not joking) and no stops at shops we get back to San Marco for a beer and pizza lunch with the rest of the crew.
Yesterday 8 became 6+2 and now it become 4+2+2 and the day after its 2+2+2+2. It’s been great travelling with friends and sharing experiences and a lot of fun.
A short walk back to Hotel Da Bruno, into the luggage room where Genelle springs one of the porters getting changed, poor bloke nearly needs a change of underwear as she burst in with no apologies saying we need our gear.
We meet the water taxi – cost 125 Euro’s but it’s quick, they say 30 minutes but we do it in 20 today, a very every pleasant and very very quick to the airport, with a group of 8 or so it would be quite reasonable considering the cost of a Alalunga (sic) is 15 Euros per head and takes an hour.
We then paid 20 Euro for a transfer from the boat to the terminal, I’m dubious about the value, but it is a 15-20 minute walk so as I find out again, Genelle has made the right call, it’s a fair walk, or would have been, the driver does it in about 2 minutes and then escorts us and finds a trolley for us to the check in terminal, very quick and well worth the extra couple of Euros I tip him because we would have struggled to get our bearings.
Boarding is delayed a bit we see and no gate allocated yet so a coffee and beautiful muffins with Nutella are procured hill we wait. I reckon I’ve put on a few kg since I left Australia, the food hasn’t stopped.
Boarding finally and as Priority Passengers we go through first, despite the would be cheating scabby pricks trying to push in who get Genelle’s evil eye from the front and my shoulder from the side, Australia 1 – cheating Pricks 0. I’m surprised that I react that way?
On the plane, we wait, it’s getting hot and humid, suffocating, and seems to take forever to get going, we hear the engine starter thingy is a bit tied up as the airport is busy, well I’ll be f….d, surely they might have had that in the planning! It gets so uncomfortable one passenger calls for water and ice and then with sweat dripping off her face decides to disembark. This holds us up longer as they then have to find here bag and get it off. They open the doors to let some fresh air in while the rest of us mumble and sweat. Finally the engine starter thingy gets us going, thank god, we’re under way at 5.40 after what was meant to be 4.35. Meanwhile I’ve finished the last part of Jack Reacher “Personal”, light and a good read, I’ll leave it on the plane, it cost $2 in the Op shop in Dubbo.
Flying over the alps heading north, its steep spectacular and snow covers the more northern peaks which I guess is Northern Italy and Austria. Then the lowlands of Czech Republic and Germany, heading north to Berlin as the sun starts to drop and there is a distinctive blue layer on the horizon in the east, I guess this is our planets depleting ozone layer, my environmental friends might like to debate this?
Berlin airport, nobody checks our passports, wtf! We get a Berlin Pass for 4 days for 35 Euros each that we’ll activate tomorrow morning for U Bahn and S Bahn transport plus discounted museums and other stuff. It’s recommended by quite a few places as a good value tourist tool. We also get 2 train tickets to Hauptbahnhof, Berlins version of Sydney Central Station, walk the 10 minutes to Berlin Express train station to catch the 8.03 RB14 train the HBF. We forget in the rush to validate our tickets, then hope the train conductors are sympathetic if we get pinged. Too bad the conductor walks through, we look guilty, fess up and she validates the ticket while giving us a stern look and the hairy eyeball. About 30 minutes later we’re at the Hauptbahnhof, looking like deers in the headlight, we find the taxi rank, and none on the bastards will take us, it’s too short a fair, and the ,sat bloke at least gives us some directions, he says it’s “800 metres that way on Invalinstrasse”. Germany 1 Australia 0. F….g Germans, they’ll have to deal with Genelle now.
So we walk in the cool drizzling rain, in what we think is the right direction, my travelling companion has sore ankles, and a cranky disposition and I have sore feet and knees. In about 800 metres we see finally Hotel i31, very modern boutique hotel. A very nice young man checks us in, and we go up to our very modern room. Germany 2 Australia 0.
Time for bed. Tomorrow we explore Berlin. Genelle has already Googled shopping options so I feel an overdraft coming on.
Gute Nacht, süße Träume