Day 50 – 29th October 2013
Ferrara – Rovigio – Padova – Venezia
I had an idea yesterday. I thought it would be a good idea to learn some Italian. Since the people here do not care about learning English.
But how can I do it. I am on my bike all day. Luckily there is a thing called the iPod where I uploaded some Italian lessons which I can listen to on the bike while riding.
Only downside is that I probably look very stupid repeating all the words the voice on the headphones is telling me to say.
“Capisco = I understand.“ says the voice in my head.
“Capisco“ says the kid on the bike.
“Come si dice….? = How do you say ….?“ says the voice in my head.
„Come si dice…?“ I repeat and an Italian woman at the side of the road looks at me in a confused way.
“Just keep going“ I tell myself.
I have to say it works a bit. I think I now know a few more words than before.
At the supermarket I tried using some of the phrases I learned. They worked and I was happy.
But the happiness did not last.
Right after Rovigio it started raining and the lessons where repeating themselves for the 6th time. No more joy in riding the bike. No more funny Italian words to repeat.
Only cold wind.
I did not let that stop me. “The show must go on.“ I said to myself and put on my rain clothes.
Then suddenly the rain stopped. The sky cleared up and I got closer to my goal for the day: Venezia.
The music that I was listening to while riding was playing a happy tune and I sang along. And there were the confused looks again.
But who cares as long as I am having fun.
Padova got me confused. The road lead me onto the highway. But me and my bike are not allowed on that street and I spent about half an hour just to find the way around the highway.
Somehow this day looked like a day of ways that are dead ends or streets that are not accessible with the bike.
Finally I got to the sea. And as some of you might already know: Venice is an island that is connected t the mainland over a single street.
I found that street after asking several people for directions and when I got on the road it was horrible.
Somehow I missed the opening for the sidewalk and was stuck on the street. With huge busses and cars passing me with no space at all between the bike and the cars.
There was a guide board on the side of the road so I could not just switch to the side walk. So I rode down this dangerous road and was waiting for a gap. But there was non.
So I stopped on the road when no car was coming for a while. And lifted my heavy bike over the board that was as high as my hip. But I could not get it all the way over and the bike bag on the side caught on the board and fell off.
I was lucky. Nothing broke. It just fell off. Puhhh.
I had a second to breath. Only now I realized the beautiful view I had from the middle of the sea. Venice on the one side and the main land on the other.
I had made it. I reached Venice. I was there. But now what?
Venice is a city that had no roads but canals instead. What do I do with my bike and more importantly where do I sleep?
The train station is the first place you see when you enter the city. I do not know why but I had always imagined Venice to be little and a place of quietness. I was wrong. Of course, this place was full of Tourists. In front of the train station was a little information booth that sold Tickets for the boats and booked Hotels for you. So I went in there and asked nicely if they could book a hostel for me.
I guess helping tourists every day must be a hard job, because I just got an harsh answer that they do not book anything under 100 Euro.
Wow! I am not paying that.
So I tried my luck over the Internet. But all the numbers I called were either wrong or no one did answer the phone. While struggling I could not overhear the conversation 4 guys right next to me where having. I guess they must have been looking for a place to sleep and where looking for a WiFi spot. So I just offered them my Laptop to use so they could look their stuff up. While I was talking to the guys from LA that were living in France, an older man came to us and asked if we were looking for a Hostel.
I could not believe my luck. But the 4 guys wanted a Hotel and not a Hostel. I told the old man that I would like a bed in a Hostel but he just said that he could not put 1 person in a room for 5. An there goes my luck again. I turned to the 4 guys again and the old man disappeared without a trace into the masses of people in front of the train station.
I did not know that he would be my hero later.
The 4 guys did their research and recommended a hostel to me and left. I tried to call but this number was also wrong/no one answered.
How I hate looking for a place to sleep. Something so basic is so hard to find.
I went into the train station to try my luck there. Here I found another tourist information. But the man at the desk was already helping someone else and made me wait outside.
Here I met the old man again. I had to play this smart.
“The room will be empty anyway. So why not give my one bed and you would make some money when otherwise you would make none at all?“
But he just repeated himself and said that he could not place one person in a room for 5.
“And if I pay a bit more?“
It was hopeless. And I grew tired of these games.
“What about a single room?“ I hit the jackpot.
“Yes! I have one. For 50 Euros. And a place to put your bike.“
„Done.“ I mean it is Venice. I guess nothing is cheap here.
He walked all the way with me and we talked a bit on the way. By now it felt like, he was my grandpa. Actually it turned out that he lived in Düsseldorf for a while. Which is right next to Cologne.
Finally I had my room. It is plain and simple, but enough for 1 night.
I took a good shower and then went on my way to explore the city.
I must say I have always imagined Venice more beautiful. I mean I get the thing with the canals instead of roads. That is kind of cool. But somehow I could not really fall in love with this city.
By the time I was on the other side of the island i got very hungry and went into a restaurant, ordered some Tagiatelle and looked at the pictures I took.
Suddenly the couple at the table next to mine turned to me and asked from which part of America I was from. (I did not know my English was that good). And soon we got into a conversation and I talked about my adventure on the bike.
They were from California and on the journey though Italy. Very sweet people that really cared about me and my health. It is always wonderful to meet such loving people. After finishing my meal I went on my way again, but not without giving my blog address to them.
Now it was time to find the way back to the hotel. But Venice has a lot of small alleys and dead ends. If you want to get somewhere in this city you have to forget everything about common streets. The smallest alley in which you can only move sideways can lead to a huge Piazza. You have to change directions several times and as it happens I got into many dead ends until I finally reached the Hotel all tired and exhausted. But happy.
Only thing left was to write the Blog entry. I would have never thought that it would take me this long to write this but I have been sitting in front of the computer for about 2 hours. Of course with some distractions but still.
The stats of the Day now in Italian:
Km oggi: 130.82km durata del viaggio: 6h 13min km in totale: 4076km