Venice Italy

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Venice is a compact city; you can wander around aimlessly and still not lose your way.

We headed to Piazza di San Marco (St. Marks Plaza) where St. Marks cathedral and the Campanile stands. The Campanile is the original clock tower, upon which Sather Tower on the campus of UC Berkeley is based. Puddles of water accumulated in the plaza after a flood during high tide. A raised walkway hoisted on scaffolding allowed us to walk over the puddles. Since Venice gets flooded around 60 times a year, scaffolding is ready at all times. Inside the cathedral, a priest chastised me for wearing a baseball cap once again (see Notre Dame).

Next we strolled to the Rialto Bridge, one of the major bridges across the Grand Canal. It's wide enough to have gift and trinket stores in the middle band of the bridge. Pedestrians walk on either side of the stores.

We had dinner at Ristorante China Town, next to the Grand Canal, fairly close to the train station. The food was pretty good. We met two American women, one who had lived in Venice for over 7 years. "I heard that Venice is sinking." She scoffed and said that it wasn't sinking. Rather the water is rising due to global warming.

We stayed in the city of Mestre, the last mainland stop before the causeway goes out to the island city of Venice. Mestre is just 10 minutes away by train or bus and runs every few minutes back and forth. We stayed at the Best Western Hotel Bologna, just across from the train station. How convenient! It was quite nice with clean ultra modern rooms. The continental breakfast served was splendid.

The Couchette
We took an overnight train from Venice to Zurich, Switzerland. Reserving a sleeper compartment was as expensive as a hotel room. But, a couchette compartment was fairly reasonable at around 25 euros per person. Our reservations scattered us in 3 different compartments. Once onboard, the conductor co-located us in the same compartment. The conductor explained how to operate the compartment lock. I wasn't certain how to climb up to the upper couchette bunk. The small table seemed too flimsy for me to stand on. Of course, a ladder is stowed below the lower bunks. The train was noisy and bumpy. But I managed to conk out.

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