The cab was ready for us but when we got to the airport, the flight had been cancelled. Disaster!
There was a general strike in Italy and the only arrangement was a flight the next day that didn’t arrive till after boarding time.
We were at the head of the line which had quadrupled by the time options were being discussed.
Pressure was on to make a decision and as we discussed options I noticed that Zurich was the closest airport to Italy and I was pretty sure there was a train from there to Milan so we changed out tickets to Zurich and we were in the air a little after 7.
We flew over the snow covered Alps and descended through the clouds to a green postcard picture landscape of pointy roofed houses and green carpet wandering cows to cruise to a stop at the terminal in Zurich, Switzerland.
We flapped around the airport looking for flights but the cost would have been 650 euro each so I went to the rail office and we purchased tickets for 480 aud. for all of us. Because Lachy was 15, he got a free rail pass for Switzerland which he can use anytime up till 28 January 2015.
We went down to the station and boarded the train to Zurich Bahn Hoff where we changed to the Milan train. We had a 45 minute wait in the chilly morning air. The train rolled in and on we hopped, having two window seats and an aisle facing each other with a little table between.
The train pulled out and travelled through the outer suburbs and into the picturesque countryside.
We meandered along the base of a deeply gouged glacial valley often with a lake beside and towering snow-capped mountains all around. It looked like one of those model railway sets, so beautiful and picturesque. I just wish I had thought to wash the outside of the window before we left.
The journey to Milan was four and a half hours with most of it in Switzerland as you don’t cross the border till you get close to Como. I can see why so many celebrities flock to Lake Como as it was also very beautiful. A young girl joined our foursome at Como. When she sat down, she plugged in her laptop. I wish I had known the plugs were there as I ran out of battery on the camera.
At Milan it was a shift of two platforms to the Venice Train which seemed overbooked. There were people occupying others seats and a lot of shifting went on once places were challenged. I spent most of the journey sitting opposite my seat. Eventually the true owner of the one I was sitting in turned up and I had to oust the occupier of my seat.
There was a rather too-friendly young Iranian truck driver sitting next to me who asked lots of question in very broken English much to the bemusement of the very fashionable middle-aged Italian couple opposite.
The countryside from Milan to Venice wasn’t as interesting although I caught a glimpse of an old arch bridge passing Verona.
It was getting dark as we approached Venice and was fully dark by the time we left the train.
First order of business was a map so I set out and bought one for 3 euro.
Once we got our bearings we lugged the baggage through the streets to the hotel which was just a doorway between shops. I buzzed and the door clicked with the hostess descending the stairs as we entered.
Formalities performed, our room was the first one overlooking the street and we plonked our stuff down, thankfully to finally be in Venice after a hectic day of high drama and seemingly endless travel.
The room was gorgeous, very Venetian with chandelier, cut glass mirror, drapes and painted furniture. The room had a double, a single and a dining table and chairs so was quite roomy with a good bathroom.
First order of business was dinner and the hostess recommended a restaurant across the street. It was fully booked, but I asked about the empty tables out front and we were soon seated and ordering. Ali had scampi pasta while Lachy tucked into gnocchi with meat sauce and I had a calamari and scampi dish.
Ali and I went out exploring after dinner while Lachy relaxed in his Venetian boudoir.
Some shops had already shut and I was having trouble keeping my eyes open. Thankfully we made it back for a well earned sleep.
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