We are finally on the last leg of our trip (in Europe anyway!) - we hit Italy three days ago (1st July), having caught a rather scenic train from Salzburg. The scenery was absolutely amazing - travelling by train through the Austrian and Italian Alps is highly recommended. There are a few rather long tunnels at times, but the scenery, especially prior to leaving Austria was unbelievable. Once again we used our Eurail ticket to facilitate the 6 hour trip (with 1 change over) from Salzburg to Venice. We raced to get on the train in Salzburg - in amongst heaps of school kids who obviously use the intercity service instead of the suburban service for its comfort to get to and from school.
We found ourselves some seats, and tried to settle in. After a few stops some of the kids left - although more got on to replace them.
In a short while the ticket inspector made his way through the carriage - it was then that we inspected out ticket a little closer, and noticed the words '1st class' printed on it! We had just assumed our tickets were second class - they were not!
We verified this with the conductor, and shortly after we had made our way to the back of the train and were reclining in large leather seats - a long way from the loud school kids we had competed for seats with.
Fortunately we still have a few more trips left on the Eurail pass - so all is not lost, and we will defiantly be making the most of 1st class. To be honest, most of the 'good' trains in Germany and Austria have 2nd class carriages that are the equal to any 1st class we probably have back in Australia (on the Melbourne to Bairnsdale line anyway!).
So we arrived in Venice - its hot, and its very humid! Its hard to escape the heat. We are staying a little out of town so had to catch the bus from the train station to our hotel. Not being used to the bus system here we go of at what we though was the second last stop - as instructed - however this was actually the first stop in the second last suburb, not the last stop!
So we were essentially in the middle of no where with the next bus half an hour away. We decided to walk for a few stops to pass the time... We soon realised however that we may be in a bit of a seedy area - something to do with the girls on the side of the road with really small shorts on!
We decided to wait it out at the next bus stop, and it wasn't too long before we were back on the bus and headed for our hotel - the bus driver was kind enough to assist.
Finally we arrived - and the place is actually quite nice... just in the middle of no where... but it has air conditioning, a saviour from the humidity and heat.
So we have ventured out into Venice city for the last 3 days. Its like a maze - streets and allies going in all directions - none of them directly leading to where you want, or need to go. Its almost pure luck that you can navigate back to the same place twice - but I think this is part of its charm.
We have managed, probably more by chance and being lost, to see most of the city. We never seem to have taken the same path twice, which is actually quite nice.
We were keen to get a gondola ride, however after discovering that there is an 80 Euro price tag on the journey, we decided to contemplate it for a while - 80 Euro can go towards so much. Eventually we decided not to, maybe next time...
So tomorrow we are off to Bologna (apparently the gastronomical capital of northern Italy) for a few days.