Salerno to Venice

11/3 – time to put another notch in our EuRail pass, and make our way north to Venice. We hate to leave the warm weather, but our quest must continue, and Italy is one of the more expensive countries we’ve stayed in. The high speed train took us northeast from Salerno to Naples then Rome, Florence, Bologna, Padua and finally to Venizia, where we skimmed across the water as if we were in a boat instead of on a train. First class passengers in Italy get free espresso, wine and crackers on board!

It’s definitely jacket and scarf weather here, although still nice and sunny. As soon as we got out of the station, I was overcome with the realization that this place really is not like anywhere else. There is water where the streets should be! Houses have boat doors! Taxis have outboard motors!

Jim got us a B and B in the heart of the old town, just down the street from the Rialto Bridge. We were instructed to call when we got in, so the manager could meet us there. I programmed the phone, which said we were 15 minutes away, so I called. “No!”said the manager, “don’t call me until you are standing in front of the door!”

45 minutes later, I understood why. We went over bridges, down alleyways, and who knows where, trying to reach the address. Our phone instructed us to turn every 20 feet, and then cut out periodically from exhaustion. We finally reached the street, a well-lit row of shops, and called again. “Are you right in front of the door?” Yes! “Then I’ll give you the code to let yourself in.” Another 20 minutes of hilarity ensued, while we set off the alarm, knocked a painting off the wall, and enlisted the assistance of the young woman in the shop next door to interpret what the man on the phone was saying. Once we got in and found the light switch, we were in a very nice ensuite with wifi. Oh happy day!

So, now we are ready to go out for a light supper (after all our snacks on the train). We find a little pizza place right around the corner, and order an 12 euro pizza. This is much more than a pizza cost in Rome, but we’re cool with that. We enjoy our meal and ask for the check – 22 euro! It seems that in Venice you pay a coperto (cover charge) per person for sitting at a table, in addition to a service charge, which is a percentage added to the price of the food. If there is music playing, you also pay an entertainment charge! Sheesh! Our bad for not boning up on local customs before venturing out to eat…

We look carefully at the menu posted outside the next cafe, where it clearly states: espresso ordered at the bar: 1.50. Espresso ordered at table: 7.50. From now on, all our meals will be eaten standing up!

We walked through St. Mark’s Square in the darkness. Tomorrow we will explore!

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