July 20th, 1998

We woke up at around 6:30AM so we could pack and get ready to leave. We brought our luggage down with us when we went to eat. Breakfast is really nice at this place, with yogurt, fresh fruit, and of course, some kind of bread. The hotel gave us a complimentary ride to the train station. There was only room for 3 people and the luggage. The tickets that we got to Grindelwald were round trip so we were set for our ride back to the train station that accepts Europasses. We had four train rides to take for this day. Our longest one was definitely a long one. It was a four hour ride. It was the kind that had compartments that seated six. The one we got in did not have air conditioning. After an hour or so it was unbearably hot. During one of the stops that the train was making, we looked around to see if we could find a compartment that was air conditioned and was totally empty. We found one. It wasn't super cool, but the air-conditioning was working. After about 15 minutes in that compartment, the air-conditioning went out. It got really hot again. During the first part of our trip we went through a lot of tunnels. Italy is certainly not a very mountainous place, but it seems if they saw an ant hill in the way, instead of going around it, they would burrow under it. The problem with their tunnels is the air pressure would change quite a bit and your ears would be plugged in an instant. Almost so much that it would hurt. A few times it happened so fast that you thought your ears were going to explode. A couple of hours into the trip it was about time for lunch so Jenny, Arnie, Jessica, and I went to the lunch car for some sustenance. There were some tables, so we just sat down at them. Little did we know, that there was a place in the car just beyond the tables that we could have gone to order sandwiches for a light lunch. The waiter gave us a menu. We finally figured out that they had a fixed menu, and there was only a few things to choose from. He gave us all spaghetti. It was very good. We were pretty much ready to get our bill when he brought us some veal, eggplant, and potatoes. It appeared that the spaghetti was only our first course. We were all thoroughly stuffed after that, but we weren't done. We had dessert afterwards and then a fresh fruit after that. It was a huge lunch and pretty expensive as well. After lunch, we went back to our compartment.

Jessica getting one last taste of Swiss Chocolate
We tried sleeping, but it was so hot in there. Just lying there, you would still sweat. After a couple of hours, we looked for another compartment, where the air-conditioning actually worked. We walked a long way, but we found one. We had to lug our luggage all the way to the other end of the train.
Unloading our luggage, again.
It was hot enough just standing still, so you got a lot hotter when you had to move luggage around everywhere. I was very hot by the time we got all of our stuff transferred to the new compartment, but it was worth it. We only had an hour left on our route, but it was much more pleasant.

Water Taxi Pickup Place next to the Train Station

We got to Venice and took a water taxi to St Marks Square. There were no cars around the area that we were. There were only boats and gondolas. There are water ways all around the city.

It is amazing to see all these buildings that are actually built on the water.
One of the many buildings along the canal.

Sitting in the Water Taxi

Standing in the back of the Taxi

Cruisin the Canal

Gazing at the sights.

We got to our hotel and had to climb up some very steep, narrow stairs to get to our room. We were on the second floor which translated in English was the fourth floor. In Europe, they never counted the ground level floor as the first floor. And in this particular case, you had to climb a level of stairs just to get to the hotel manager's office. You climbed yet another level to get to the "first floor". The main thing that I wanted out of this room was air-conditioning. It had, what looked to be, a brand new air-conditioner. Our room was extremely small. The bed had a clearance from the walls of 1 foot, 3 feet, and 5 feet. The shower was probably 2 feet x 2 feet. It was just barely big enough to fit in. The funny thing is, even though the room was very small, they still had a boday in the bathroom. It had air-conditioning though, which was very important.

Doug and Jenny standing over the Grand Canal in Venice

St Marks Square

Dinner under the clothes

We took a cold shower and rested in the cool for a little while then we set off to find some dinner. It seemed that in the area, fish was a specialty. So I tried one. I know nothing about fish, so I tried my method that works great in the U.S. Ask the waiter what he likes best. Whether it was because of a language barrier or because they didn't feel comfortable doing so, I could never get anyone to tell me which they liked best. They would always have me go over and take a look at it. In this case tonight, he just showed me a picture on the wall of the 2 choices of fish. I chose the one that looked the ugliest, an angler fish. It was pretty good. Kind of meaty. I had terimasu for dessert. I love that dessert.
We spent the rest of the evening walking the streets of Venice. We saw bands playing in St Mark's Square. It is extremely humid in that area. There are so many neat shops all around that area. The big things here are masks, cameos, and romano glass. After the Ytreeides headed home, Jenny and I walked around the streets a little bit more and soaked in the ambiance of it all. We also soaked in the humidity. But we won't go into that.
The alleys are very narrow in Venice

The beautiful Grand Canal