Wednesday was a long travel day, as Alan already wrote about. Cat Ba, Hanoi, Bangkok, Frankfurt, and finally Venice. When we arrived at the Venice airport mid-morning, we discovered our bags had not made the connection with us in Frankfurt. We filed a report with the baggage office and finally made our way into Venice to meet our Airbnb hostess, Elena. We stayed at a small apartment right in the middle of Venice for a few days and Elena was very kind to wait for us and help us to finally get our bags delivered.
Thursday morning, we woke up very early, so we walked out to see the sunrise from the Ponte dell’Accademia. This is one of the bridges crossing the Grand Canal of Venice. The light was lovely on the dome of the Basilica de Santa Maria della Salute so early in the morning. Afterwards, we had pastries from a cafe on our piazza and then did some planning for traveling to Amsterdam and camper shopping.
The Rosens were arriving from Florence, so when we knew they were close, we walked out to the Ponte again to see if we could meet them. Lucky for us, we found them easily enough when they disembarked from the vaporetto (the bus-like boats that ply the canals of Venice).
They dropped their bags off at their hotel nearby and we set off to Piazzo San Marco, catching up on our travel adventures on the way. After dinner, we noticed city personnel putting together impromptu walkways through the alleys. The water was rising in the Piazza, and all the low places near the canal. With the coming full moon, the tide was going to be extra high.
After breakfast Friday morning, we met up with the Rosens again for a day of sightseeing. We walked to the house of Aldus Manutius, a Renaissance typographer and printer. He happens to feature prominently in the book, Mr. Penunmbra’s Twenty-four Hour Book Store, a fun read recommended to me by both Lara and Joel. From there we moved on to the Jewish ghetto and museum and lunch before taking the vaporetto over to Murano. Murano is well known for glass production and we visited one working studio and did a lot of shopping.
After Murano, we hustled back to the hotel so the Rosens could grab their bags to depart to Milan and then head back home. In the confusion, we thought there were some lost gifts, but all turned out well and they made it to the train station just in time. We waved our goodbyes and then took the vaporetto the long way around Venice, back to our apartment.
Saturday we wandered around Venice a bit and picked up some snacks for the train ride to Amsterdam. Our train wasn’t leaving until the afternoon, so we visited the Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti an ornate villa/museum near our piazza, where there was a nice exhibit of Russian Impressionist paintings on display.
In the afternoon, we boarded the train in Venice and found we were sharing our cabin with a friendly German woman, Annette, traveling with her daughter, Rosalie. They were enjoying a mother-daughter weekend in Venice for Rosalie’s Spring break. It was nice to chat with them, and fun, especially since Rosalie liked practicing her English with us. The scenery was lovely as we headed north through the Alps to Munich; it even snowed a bit in the mountains.
In Munich, we had a few hours to wait before boarding the overnight train to Amsterdam. Compared to our experiences sleeping on the train in Vietnam, our night on the train to Amsterdam was completely luxurious. Our cabin, or couchette, as it is called, was small, but extremely neat and efficient. I suppose you shouldn’t expect any less from the Germans. I slept well on the train, and the conductor woke us at 8 in the morning for breakfast. We arrived in Amsterdam mid-morning and walked to our hotel from the train. After getting settled, we had lunch and walked around our neighborhood a bit. This will be our base until we meet with our camper-purchase contact, Donna, on Monday.