Oh Venezia let me hold you close a moment

Location - SWITZERLAND, Lucerne
Weather has been cold!!! More on Swiss experiences later, but at the top of Mt Titlus it was -5 degress C!
Local time 6.05 pm
My whole life (so far) I’ve always said if I never went anywhere else in the world, I wanted to go to Venice. I’m not even sure where my love affair with the Italian city started. Probably a film or book around my pre-teens or something. A romanticised notion of something that I imprinted upon the city, so Venice had a lot to live up to.
And it was every bit as wonderful as I was hoping. It has been my favourite so far, which I would have expected, followed by Paris and Rome I think, which I wouldn’t have expected Paris to feature too highly, and Rome I thought would be No. 2 for sure.
We took the optional extra of the Gondola ride, having asked the Tour Director early in the trip if it was worth the 39 Euro each (so approx $150 AUD for us both). It struck me as one of the type of things that could be inflated, us being the tourist bumpkins we are, and we will pay blindly. The tour director (Iris) said you can pay up to 100 Euro for a gondola ride, as they know everyone wants to do it, so they charge whatever they want!
For our money we got 40 mins, plus musicians in one of the 4 boats singing for the whole group, and there were 6 in our gondola (which was fine, 2 other lovely couples) and I never expected us to be on our own.
We overheard a quote to some people on the street for half an hour for 80 euro, no musicians. And we assume that was 80 for the entire boat, not each, so I’m happy with that.
It was just so magical, sitting in the gondola going through the little canals, it was a little lightbulb moment for me that we really WERE on the other side of the world. Just amazing.
We’re on the downhill slope now, the last week of our tour and its gone so fast. I will be relieved to stop “touring” but our two weeks at the end are shaping up to be very busy also so I may need to get back to Sydney for some rest! We’re taking it easy from now, I always kind of said that after Venice, everything was gravy. Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Athens, Olympia, Venice, they were all the places I really wanted to cover, and the Alpine countries we’re in now are just a bonus. Crossing into the Italian/Austrian Alp area felt like we were starting a whole different journey, which is great. Everything feels fresh again, and we’ve all been able to pull out our “cold” clothes, which no one on the tour has seen yet so its almost like starting anew, but with old friends.
Vienna was pretty, but kind of boring. After we did our city sightseeing tour we had 3.5 hours to kill, and their shops are all closed on Sundays so we just sort of wandered aimlessly, having lunch and a kleiner brauner, German for an espresso macchiato (of which in Europe you have to add the espresso part or you get a long one. They also have latte macchiato’s in Austria! So after wandering around, considering catching the train back to the hotel but giving up when we couldn’t figure out their systems, we ended up sitting in Starbucks for an hour. Now, in my defense, we did have a coffee in a local shop, but we knew Starbucks wouldn’t kick us out if we sat there for an hour and a half, which we did because it was raining and miserable. Sightseeing is decidedly less fun in the pouring rain, I can tell you.

4 kindred spirits ~ This bugs them too!:

Anonymous said...
September 25, 2008 7:07 PM

Hey,

You've described this all very beautifully. And gah, you've just expanded my list of places I want to visit, damn you!

Love the coffee trivia also.

I leave for Japan on Saturday!

All my love,

-lou

Eca said...
September 25, 2008 11:58 PM

noooooooooo!!! there are so many coffeehouses in Vienna and you ended up in STARBUCKS!!!??? I wish my phone worked and I could have let you know (I hate vodafone.) Too late now, post the rest of your itinerary!

Glad to hear Venezia was all you hoped and more, hope all your glass is stashed safely away too (And that you maybe got yourself a teal glass bracelet...?)
xx

Reanan said...
October 01, 2008 8:24 AM

Ohh sounds loverly... I am feeling large pangs of jealousy as I sit at work eatting my muffin.

Starbucks if definatly a bummer... would it not have been better sitting in a park or something?
Assuming there are parks? lol surely.

K said...
October 01, 2008 12:40 PM

Did the location do anything to improve the starbucks?

I'm so jealous of your trip - sounds so great!

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