The moment when your wrinkled Roma weekly metro pass is accepted by the machine is a great moment:
Hands up, all I do is win! That’s how my Venezia journey started, taking one of the last Republica subway trains to Tibertina just before midnight. Tibertina is the second largest train station in Rome, northeast of Termini, the largest. Exiting the Metro I cross over into the Autobus Piazza; it’s 12:15 a.m. when girl approaches me in the bus plaza asking about the Megabus. A group crowds around me like I’m the authority on the Megabus, since I’ve ridden it three times from Roma to Napoli, Napoli to Firenzi and back to Roma. She’s been in the terminal 5 hours.
I meet Andrea, in a zip-up parka who could easily be mistaken for a young John Stamous. He tells me he lives close to Firenzi and that he’s been in Spain traveling with his friends. We chat about NYC because he’s had a culinary job offer there but apparently getting the visa is too difficult. He’s currently working in Firenzi and it turns out I passed his restaurant when I was there two weeks ago. I’m tempted to go back; I’ve tried to leave a few things to do in the cities so I can look forward to a return. For example, I did not go to the Uffizi Galleria; choosing to meet Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria Academia over Leonardo’s Annunciation.
Turns out Andrea and his friends don’t make it on this bus but he catches another shortly after we depart. Our packed bus, takes off on-time at 1 a.m. and I fall asleep in my cocoon of a jacket only to be awoken about 50 minutes later. The next time I sleep from about 2 a.m. until 5 a.m., briefly awake for the Firenzi stop and wide awake for the Padua stop around 7:30 a.m. We get to Tronchetto, Venezia’s bus depot, car garage and ferry launch, around 9 a.m. and it is certainly a sight to see. I’m just able to make out the glistening canals, cloudy sure — but the sun is always out even if the clouds are in its way, I breathe a side of relief when I successfully retrieve my bags from the back of the bus and set off to buy my 1.50E one-way People Mover ticket from Tronchetto to Piazza Roma, a 5 minute ride. I thought I could have walked this but in hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t, the sidewalks are not direct and rain is on its way.The last time I was on the People Mover, I was in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. While Magic Kingdom’s People Mover is a longer ride, nothing beats the glimpse of the Grand Canal as Venieza’s People Mover as it gets you that much closer to a world as exquisite as the Murano glass it has birthed.
After sleeping for roughly six of the eight-hour bus ride, I have exited Piazza Roma Station is a slight daze — amazed and so filled of joy to be back in a paradise that provides a photographer’s play ground, intense romance and allure all on its own. Venezia is an American Expresso meets Italian Cappuccino’s rich blend of the old and the new, wrapped in tradition and filled with love and mystery. Venice is like experiencing the best sunrise and and sunset, with each canal bridge you cross.
Before purchasing a 7-day vaperetto pass, their public water buses, at a whopping 60E, I watch the woman getting eaten by a trashcan (the lid closed unexpectedly on her arm), I see the man take steps three at at time to catch his water taxi and I notice the Asian tourist delighted that their breakfast muffin has drawn a herd of pigeons. The vaperetto transit map is nearly as confusing as the maps of Venezia herself, so I hop on one that I know will stop at the Rialto.
One of the reasons I love Venezia is because everyone has to walk, no wheels allowed — there are no bikes or skateboards. You can walk the whole island in a comfortable pace in 90 minutes (this estimate to be tested before I leave). It’s raining as I join the locals and a handful of tourist herded onto the Vaperetto 2. At our first turn towards Vaperetto Ferrovia stop (Santa Lucia railway station) it’s just like how I remember it: there is no sight more grand then the glory of the Grand Canal. The sight that makes me feel reborn, possibilities open wider and will always triumph over anything somewhere else has to offer.
I exit at the Rialto and I remember my way. I’m currently camping out at McDonald’s because I feel fine staying here a couple hours soaking up the free wifi as opposed to another place. The sun is coming out now, a brilliant time to wander around. Only two more hours until official check-in and it’s time to bask in the glory of all that is Venezia!