28 August 2010

The Trip to Lido

It's easy to be spoiled by the relentless reliability of the Swiss infrastructure. What I'm saying is that I shouldn't have been surprised when I left Switzerland and boarded an Italian train to find that my seat had been sold to someone else, who was sitting in it contently when I boarded. We checked our tickets and each of us came to the same conclusion - this was the correct seat in the correct carriage on the correct day at the correct time. He shrugged.

D and I found some empty seats a few carriages down after politely returning shrugs to the man enjoying my seat.

However, this caused a chain reaction of seats being taken, which ultimately led to a brutally perplexing attempt at communication as two aging French women in the middle of a card game explained to the forty-something Swiss-Italian woman who relayed to the young Spanish girl with the array of piercings that the train was overbooked and that she should find herself any seat she could.

And when the metal studded Spaniard finally understood the clusterfuck of booking that had occurred - she did. And everyone was happy.


And that's the story. I know it may not seem like much, but I have seen fist fights nearly break out on American Amtrak trains over less. At the very least there would have been a shouting match and someone would have sought out the conductor to huff and puff and make demands.

Here, everyone acknowledged the situation, rightfully cursed the Italian infrastructure, and found a solution to their problems without complaint. The old French women smiled at us, nodded and went back to fussing with each other over their card game.

Lido is an island just outside of Venice (Venezia) that is home to the local beach. We accidentally stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast here run by a sweet woman named Livia. I say accidentally because we had no idea what it was we actually booked when we made the reservation, but staying in Lido instead of Venezia was a brilliant mistake on our part, as ours was the only hotel a non-Venetian could find without a lot of assistance and at least a little bit of luck.

To get to Lido you take a sort of water bus called the Vaporetto. Lido is the very last stop on the Vaporetto, providing a brilliant view of the Grand Canal. As we boarded the densely crowded boat for the very first time, unsure of exactly how the whole process was going to work, we found ourselves pinned next to the same Swiss-Italian woman from the train who had largely facilitated the resolution of the seating issue (and whose seat I had originally taken by necessity.)

We were slightly worried that she might have been frustrated with us over the whole seating fiasco, but as she saw us, she recognized us and her face lit up with apparent delight. She asked us about our travels and gave us endless suggestions of where we should go in Venezia.

"Campo Santa Margherita, this is where all the people your age will be. It will be a good place for you to meet someone!" She laughed, and winked at us. "I would be there too, but I am here to visit my Valentino, and, how do you say? I am...already happy."

It was lovely to see her so happy, like a teenager in love. In passionate love. You knew it from the way she said, "Her Valentino."

Possibility; life never ends.

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