Diary of The Travelling Seanchai :-
Things just don`t go to plan for me!
2007-05-25 to 2007-05-27
Ok, I know, I can`t blame anyone but myself but to error is human, to really screw things up takes a computer!
I had said my goodbyes to the Athens gang after a huge night out which brought us back to Mike`s bar for some farewell Karaoke songs. Unfortunately it was full of men as we double checked the doors to see if we had stumbled onto it`s gay night, but no, the ladies just weren`t out that night. Never letting that get the better of us, Andy, Will and I took the only two girls in the bar (the barmaids Zoe and Ruby) out after they had closed up and we went to a Greek club till the early hours!
We dropped them home and a 25 minute cab ride in the city came to a massive 4 Euros… now that`s more like it. So like I said, my goodbyes complete, I just checked my e-mails before I left for the airport and then saw that my flight details were strangely for two weeks away. Surely an error as I had clearly booked them for today. A quick phonecall confirmed that the computer, that flawless creation of human friendliness, had just moved me to the one in two weeks time when there was an availability!
So I start calling around and I am literally willing to fly anywhere that I can move my credit to (at one point I was nearly going to Helsinki with nothing warmer than a hoodie!) but nope, no flights out till Monday. Well I am over Athens so I met Zoe and got her to explain to a travel agency that I didn`t care how or where but I wanted out of Athens. Slightly rebuffed by my rejection of his city, the agent put me on a ferry the following day from Athens to Venice…. 31 hours!!
So now another night in Athens was on the cards, meeting up with all the people that I had already said goodbye to and had openly slagged off on my going away e-mails! Ah, pride cometh before a fall!!
So the next night at midnight, I did get on the boat in Patras and then settled into my oh so not comfy seat for a nights sleep. The next day I explored my floating accomodation for the next day. It was full of greasy truckers and retired Germans, hmmm it wasn`t so much the Love Boat as the Antiques Roadshow on tour!
I met Laura, a girl from our hostel who I had laughed heartily as she told me she was taking this nightmare journey! She`d stopped for a few days in Corfu and here I was chatting to her now, firmly swallowing humble pie. That pride was falling at quite a degree at this stage!
There was a pool on board but unfortunately the people that were taking a dip were sporting very large moustaches and equally very small speedos! I thought Paisley had disappeared as a design from fashion in the 80`s although by the wear and tear, that`s when they could have been first worn… Uck…
We arrived into Venice at 7am and it was surreal as our liner dwarfed the city by some degree. Venice is truly a feet of engineering but it seemed Lilliputian in its ability to cater for something as big as our boat.
I ran to the train station as I was going to take a direct to Vienna but I missed it by two minutes and in hindsight I am glad. I took off around Venice and just loved the small lanes, the countless bridges, the gondolas and gondoliers and the remarkable lack of a stale water smell! I stumbled on to St Marks Square which is truly beautiful. Outdoor restaurants regale you with orchestras as they rob you blind with beers being 12 Euros! (Seriously, it costs you a Euro to spend a penny in the toilets in Venice! I sat in there and read my book for a while just to get value for money!)
For a much cheaper rush all you need to do is spend one euro, take up position anywhere in the square, throw a few seeds in the air over yourself, stretch out your arms and wait to be attacked by the feathered rats, or as they are more commonly called pigeons! Everyone stands around to wait for the latest human scarecrow and photos fly! I had a strange thought as I was descended on why it was that their feet weren`t scratching me and in a moment of lunacy I wondered if someone actually clipped their nails! Hey, when you are under attack strange things come to mind!
I took off on a long walk around Venice and then sat in the train station as a thunderstorm descended on us. St Marks Square alone floods 250 times a year so I think that they are in a lot of trouble if Al Gore is to be believed!
An overnight train then to Vienna where I met Anna who showed me the tricks to make our compartment as unappealing as possible to potential newcomers so that we could stretch out and sleep! Of course that did little to put off the commuters for Vienna next morning who burst in on us and through a chorus of tuts and throwing our bags about made me feel extremely embarrassed, like my Mom had caught me in bed with a girlfriend! The workers of the world, sheesh I just can`t understand them!
A session and a waltz around Vienna