I wrote this in MS Word and have just copied it here, glitches and all. I'll write about Venice tomorrow from Genoa where (a) I can be inside and not freeing in an outdoor cafe so I can pick up the internet signal and (2) I don't feel so rushed. Needless to say, Venice was as magical as ever and crammed to the rafters with others who felt the same way. Not pleasant. I'm getting crabby about travel in my old age, I guess. I took many photos; will post them tomorrow.
Vicenza, day 1
As I said in my last post, I wrote a ton about the Siena to Vicenza connection, the apartment, etc. but the Blog Gods were not with me and my perfectly balanced prose got sent off into the netherspace. So I will start all over again and will get this posted ASAP. When you read it you’ll know that I found a friendly hot spot, perhaps back where I was when I lost my fragile composure and closed everything up and went home.
Back to Siena on Monday morning. We got a cab early, caught the train to Florence, then on to Verona, then on to Vicenza. From Siena to Florence, we stopped at many small towns, including Badesse, Poggibonsi, Certaldo, Castelofioregno, Granaiola, Emboli ~ where lots of Americans got off and I have no idea what’s there to draw them. Haven’t had time to do the research, but they seemed very excited about being there. They were not traveling with any luggage so I assume it’s a hot tourist spot. On to Montelupe-Capraia, Fureize-Refrede. The next stop was non-Florence Florence train depot, then it was our turn to drag all our stuff off the train At S.M. Novella and await the Florence to Padua connection. Got on, got seats and off we went, through Bologna, completely covered in mist and fog, on north until Padua. Off at Padua, cross over to the other side of the platform and await the train to Venezia, with a stop at Vicenza. It showed up right on time. More dragging of luggage, but this time onto a train almost deserted, with plenty of room to spread out, stow the luggage and relax. Twenty minutes later we arrive in Vicenza. The skies were overcast; it had been raining, but not now. We walked from the station to our apartment, about ¼ mile of familiar terrain. This is our third trip here and we’ve always stayed in the same place so it was easy to find.
This trip we are staying in the Mini apartment, actually a studio apartment owned by the same person who has the big, spacious 3-bedroom apartment next door. But it was not available, and we had stayed in the mini before, so we took it. It’s very small, just one room plus a bath, but it’s been renovated since our last stay, had new, very fancy windows, a new bed (no longer a futon) and is really quite comfortable. But let me say this about a couple staying in a studio, unless, of course, they’re still dating or are newlyweds who want to be as close as possible ALL THE TIME.
Mr. C is an early riser; if he’s not up by 6 AM he considers the entire day a complete loss and it will be impossible to get anything done when starting at that late hour. Farm boy, you know. I, on the other hand, could sleep until 11 AM and then stay up until 3 AM. So in this tiny one-room space, how do we manage? Well, he gets up at about 5 AM and takes yesterday’s IHT into the bathroom where he reads it front to back, top to bottom, while I slumber peacefully. Since we have no internet, his choices of early morning amusement are limited. Then about 7 AM I awaken, call for coffee, and the day is off to a fine start. This is one reason why it’s nice to have a real bedroom. The door can be closed and the awake person (usually Mr. C) can bustle around, make coffee, read, noodle on the internet without disturbing the travel partner (that would be me). In Rome, he would leave the room and go downstairs to catch the internet action. In both Florence and Siena we had plenty of room to spread out. Here, quarters are tight. But it’s only for four nights and other than dealing with circadian clocks, it’s just fine.
We had a couple of glitches upon arrival here. First, no hot water. We look everywhere in the apartment for a hot water heater but there was nothing. We needed to get in touch with the owner who lives in California and we have no cell phone. We hunted down an internet spot ~ actually, not an internet café but a business which graciously let us use its internet connection to send a message to the owner about the problem. Next stop was at the local Tourist Office to ask about internet cafes or cafes that have internet connections ~ think Starbucks. There are no such places; I get the feeling that Vicenza is not an internet-friendly spot. But there are two internet hot-spots, one being at the Tourist Office and if you’ll show me your passport I can give you the password. Well, I didn’t have it with me but said I would be back in the morning to get this started. Then we did some shopping for dinner and came back home. At about 5 PM, the property manager showed up to take care of the hot water problem. Apparently the boiler for this apartment is controlled by the boiler for the larger apartment and it just happened to be off because nobody is staying there right now. Meanwhile, we discovered there was no gas for the stove. But handy Mr. C rooted around under the adjacent sink, found a likely lever, turned it on and voilá! We had gas and were able to cook dinner and, most importantly, have coffee this morning.
The manager, a tiny woman named Juanita, came all ready to instruct me in how to use the washing machine, all in Italia, of course. I said something in Spanish, thinking it was close enough and what do you know! She’s Spanish so we had a long, informative discussion about the washing machine, the electricity, the kitchen, everything else I needed to know. Great success. We had dinner, went to bed early, slept wonderfully well on a hard, firm mattress, not on the old, soft Futon that had been here on our last trip.
After coffee and some edibles, it was off to the Piazza Teatro Olympico to get set up with the local internet. I settled myself in a nearby café, ordered a cappucinno and logged on. That’s when I wrote a long exposition and had it disappear into the cybercosmos and threw up my hands in disgust and left. Mr. C had gone off to get a haircut and after other internet chores, I wandered back toward his barber. I discovered that the wonderful food market was being held today and strolled through. I didn’t have my camera but never fear, it will be back on Thursday and I’ll go and take some photos. Mr. C and I met up later, went back to the market and bought a couple of things for dinner, returned to the apartment to eat last night’s leftover chicken for lunch, then headed over to the train station. We bought tickets for Venice tomorrow, and our Vicenza-Genoa tickets for Friday. That train goes first to Milan, a huge pile of a train station with acres of marble, miles of tracks, enormous high-ceilings waiting rooms. A person could get lost for weeks. But as long as you have about an hour between trains you’ll probably be OK.
Nice supper in tonight with a bottle of frizante white, not quite Prosecco but close. We have to be at the train station to catch the 9:57 to Venice. The sky is dark and cloudy and it looks like rain, but it did today, too. By 10 AM the sun was out and it was gorgeous all day until about 4 PM. So we’re hoping for the best. I am taking my camera to Venice to get pictures of something other than pigeons in St. Mark’s Square.