9am Local time (+2hrs GMT): Arrival – there are few things more beautiful than flying over the alps on a sunny blue skied day – with not a cloud to mention. the sleeping woman sat to my right, had she unclosed her eyes, found me for a good part of journey peering over her shoulder to stare out of the window. i love flying – i always have – something probably quite ‘little boy-like’ about it all, but come on – it bloody rocks.
touch down in treviso airport – which, for those of you who haven’t landed here before, is about the size of my apartment. a few tips for you should you decide to visit:
1. get some euros before you arrive – the beaureu de change where you can get your cash doubles up as the ticket office for the buses into venice and treviso centrale, and as the bus is really the only way of getting anywhere from the airport – every member of the flight which has just landed is queing up to get tickets. when you only need �20 for a taxi – you don’t want to be waiting – especially when the weather outside looks just perfect.
2. learn some italian – simple :)i’m quite chuffed that already by the time i’d got into the cab – i’d been mistaken for not being an english speaker – my pronounciation of ‘bon giorno’ and ‘ciao’ must be perfect. although, then when you get talked at in rapid trevisian – its not long before you’re pleading ‘non parla italiano’ and looking at your feet for a while.i arrived into treviso and the apartment where i’ll be staying for the next week – met angela, my delightful host, and promptly wandered off to do the walking thing which i seem so attached to. first things first, get my bearings in this place – which is not the easiest of tasks – the streets are a labryinth of winding passages, dead ends, loops, trapdoors, ladders and snakes – but using the mcdonalds as my point of reference – i was soon able to get back to the apartment, have a shower and shave, put on some clean clothes and wander back into town.
i stopped off at a little wine bar, i suppose you would call it, down an alleyway, sat outside and attempted to order a glass of wine – which i did – but the food was a little more complex, and fortunatly the waiter spoke enough english to suggest a mix of italian tapas – which i gratefully received – fantastic food – stuffed courgette fried in breadcrumbs, small fish cake like balls, little blini type breads with seafood in a creamy sauce on top, and what i can only describe as a scone with bloody spicy salsa and cheese on top. i took the chance to flick through my handy TimeOut guide – and decided to walk to the train station to go into Venezia – which is a costly �3 for a return ticket (Ha!). Once i’d worked out how to get to the platform, and how to validate my ticket (find the yellow box on the platform, and put your ticket into the hole – simple really, but i was tired okay?), i stood waiting for the train to arrive listening to my walkman – and for some reason, every time a station announcement was made, i took my headphones off to listen – i don’t speak italian, and lets face it – most train station announcements aren’t that audible are they? so don’t ask why *each* time the ‘dingdong’ rang, i took my headphones off – force of habit perhaps.
not paying attention when the train pulled in, i almost lost my head – no yellow line you see – and regaining composure, jumped on the train and within half an hour or so, we’re passing across the massive bridge which takes you from the mainline to venizia santa lucia station.
i walk out of the station – and instantly, you’re faced with the grande canale and i do my best cheshire cat impression. imagine venice like the bastard lovechild of crystal maze, kevin costner’s waterworld (why does that film title always make me think of a rubbish wet’n’wild style water park in the north east of england which is only open for two weeks of a year?), and treasure hunt. The year is 2037 and cars have been abolished, the streets are water, and your mission is to find tourist attractions before the sun sets – GO! you’ll spend more time doubling back upon yourself and passing the same point three times over before you actually find the intended destination. it truly is half the fun of it.
i eventually reached Piazza San Marco – the drawing room of Europe, and was actually surprised by its size – i always expected it to be bigger – but size doesn’t matter, i’m a firm believer in that – and truly it didn’t, apart from the �8 0,3l bottle of beer – that was simply wrong – paying for the music which was being paid at a whopping �3,50 – also wrong – but i didn’t care – i’m on holiday and if i’m going to visit turistica centrale, that will be the price i’ll pay.
i wandered back to the station after sitting out in some delightful sun for a few hours, and having missed the train by about 2 minutes, i wandered back across the Grand Canal and sat on the steps of a church for 45 minutes waiting for the next train.
when i got back to the apartment, angela and chris were already preparing for the party later that evening. a birthday party for paula, and it seems half of Fabrica would be there, not least suggested by the amount of food we made to feed the masses. I did my mingling thing, and by the end of the evening, i was holed up in the kitchen, where all good parties congregate, and lo and behold, chatting with a group of english people about london. don’t get me wrong, i’d spoken to plenty of people from other countries around europe and indeed the world, but naturally, all the english slumped together in a corner. call it homing instinct. to further the idea that the world is shrinking at a dramatic rate – i happened to end up talking to one of the lecturers from my MA course, who is over here staying with one of the guys who set up my MA course, who i happened to end up talking to also. Too bloody wierd.
2am rolls around, and the booze had ran out some hours previous (its wierd going to a party and not having a drop of beer, all red wine, all evening – in fact, the house wine which we’d started off drinking was from a shop where you can take your own bottles (ie. and old 1,5l water bottle) and they’ll fill it for the paltry sum of �2 – which equates to roughly �1.50 – thats 25p for a large glass. I like these economics), so onto a bar – which was just some minutes walk away, and had closed, but the group of people i was with seem to have a fairly good handle on things and managed to get us a round of beers/bloody marys/spritz/vodka anyway, and then a few bottles of beer to take with us to paula’s flat – which quite neatly managed to sit next door to the bar.
i think i crawled into bed at around 5am after we got back and did a little tidying up post party bomb.