When you think you have it all figured out and that everything is easy, reality smacks you in the face.
My reality came soon after stepping off the plane at Venice Treviso airport 15 February when I took holiday by myself during my term break at CWC in London.
When I made my way out of customs after the 1 hour 40 minute flight from London Stansted I noticed everything was small, which in my mind meant easy. This was not the case. As I found the ATVO bus, as I had read about online, during my preparation for the trip, I inquired the bus driver about where I should buy a ticket, to which he said “office!”
I bought my ticket, with my constant feeling of doubt growing, and got on the bus.
We made our way to Venice and arrived after heavy traffic, an hour later, having crossed the bridge from the mainland with the company of the bus “oo-ing” and “aw-ing.”
I myself, still doubting the trip, found little enjoyment in the journey but rather found other things to worry about, including how I would get to my hostel/campground and where I would buy my train ticket that would get me to Florence, my next destination.
After arrival at Piazzale Roma, the dead end point for all traffic in Venice, I began venturing. I could not help but feel a sense of enjoyment and ecstasy walking on the promenades and walks along the canals, I had looked at so many times in pictures.
I walked for about 3 hours before it got dark and then made my way back to Piazzale Roma to catch the bus that would take me directly to my hostel: Le Alba D’Oro in Ca’Noghera on the mainland. After finally arriving a bit late for the private bus that should have arrived at 7 p.m. I decided I would instead try some Venician wine and get something to eat.
I decided on a restaurant along a canal close to the Piazzale and ordered Lasagna, which was supposedly homemade and very good according to a waiter standing outside. That should have been my first clue as I decided to continue with my experience at the restaurant, where the waitress spoke all in English, a difference to all other people I have come in contact with so far.
The Lasagna came and along with a mandatory cup of “American” coffee I ate it with little enjoyment. Now, you are asking me what about that wine you said you were going to try. Well, I asked the waitress for a glass of red wine, however she said that was not possible and that if I wanted wine I had to buy an entire bottle. So I opted for the 2 Euro half cup of coffee.
The Lasagna was microwave heated and was LESS flavorful than the Lasagna I got on the plane ride from Chicago to London on February 8. And that is all I’m going to say about that except that it cost me 12.94.
Knowing that the private bus was coming to pick up those going to Alba D’Oro, I hurried to the bus stop. After 1 hour of waiting I searched through my bag for the number to Alba D’Oro, called, said “parla Inglais” and asked about where the bus was, to find out that it only ran April through October.
This was not the end of the line however; the best was yet to come. The lady told me that bus 4/ would take me directly to Ca’Noghera. So I bought a ticket telling the man that I wanted a one way ticket to that destination and got on a bus that said “4/.” However, as the bus took off at about 8:45 p.m. and began winding through the streets of mainland Venice, I soon felt as if I had made a mistake. After the bus obviously reached its final destination because of the drivers reaction after realizing I was still on the bus, I asked him about where to go to which he pointed to a stop and said “Four slash, FOUR slash!”
I exited and waited at a bus stop after that for another hour. It was cold to say the least and when the bus finally did arrive I hopped on sat down and continued to feel unsure.
When everyone got off and I was last on the bus yet again I inquired two gentlemen and they automatically knew I was going to ask about Alba D’Oro, as if this happens a lot, and said I should have stayed on one more stop, as the bus rolled out of sight. So then I walked about another 2 km before arriving at the sign that read “Alba D’Oro Camping.”
Thank God, I thought with a smile on my face. I walked into the office my backpack smacking the incredibly small door frame and said “parla Inglaise.” He gave me a key, explained where I was to go and then continued talking on the phone with someone else.
Incredibly cold and hoping for just a bit of warmth, I made my way, hat and key in hand, to my cabin. It was entitled “Pin 7.”