Monthly Archives: October 2016

Experiencing Venice and its mosquitoes

We moved to what appeared to be a rental house the next day. My aunt had done a pretty amazing job at finding a place. It’s massive! The one downside is the mosquitoes (but that’s a problem anywhere in Venice). She’s a very experianced traveller so her advice has been really handy too.

Hotel kitchen
Having a kitchen is a nice change!

We spent a while walking around and just checking the place out. It has a nice ambiance, but it is very touristy. I can hear more English being spoken than Italian by the passers-by.

Canal in Venice
The iconic canals of Venice

I’d always wanted to visit Venice for two main reasons; firstly the canals and my interest in boats, secondly the badass Roman history and culture the city has. I saw a lot of the former and little of the latter, but it was still great. I wish I had a bit more time to check out Rome or somewhere in Italy with some more historical stuff about the Roman Empire, as that has always fascinated me.

Narrow Venice street
The ridiculously narrow paths and alleyways make for a surreal maze-like city

Meeting up with family?

I managed to finally relax in Venice a bit, settling in to my accomodation. I had to visit the hospital, which was an experience to say the least, but after a few days I was feeling a lot stronger and basically back to full health.

Street sign in Italy, reading 'ghetto'
Street signs in other languages are often amusing…

Due to a combination of factors my father decided to drop by Venice from Australia (only a 22 hour flight, no big deal right?). I’d made a full recovery so it wasn’t really a health thing. I think he just wanted to make sure I was definitely set and check out Europe too. In the end it was a full family effort with my aunt booking accomodation for the two of us. His plane got in late so I was up around 0100 waiting for him to get to the hotel, which involved a jog on his part (no busses that late).

Wheat field in Venice at sunset
The land surrounding the island of Venice is just as stunning, particularly at sunset

He finally arrived and despite being tired we both stayed up even later catching up on everything that’d happened. Much like myself before I set off he’d never been outside of Australia before, so that was going to be exciting for him.

Slice of pizza
Grabbed takeaway pizza from a place down the street

Having never been away from home for so long it was great to see my father and also relax a bit. Having traveled solo for quite a while I’m used to being totally responsible for everything and knowing I don’t have backup, or anyone to bounce ideas off. That’s both a blessing and a curse, but having my father there is a nice change of pace and and a bit of a relief. A month earlier I would have been horrified at the thought of having family drop by on my travels – determined to be independent and managing it all solo. After doing just that for such a long time though and now being much more secure in my traveling abilities it’s just great to see a familiar face!

Austrian Doctors and arriving in Venice

Thankfully the ferry was amazingly smooth, the calmest boat ride I’ve ever been on, which given I was feeling rubbish was a relief. I spent the day lazing around, mostly just lying down although I got up to grab a hearty breakfast of jelly and water.

Jelly and bottled water
Yum yum…

By the end of the day I was feeling worse and I knew that I had to force myself to eat something. It had been three days since I’d had a proper meal. I lined up at the buffet and grabbed a pile of food. As I got to the end of the queue ready to pay I started feeling worse. I passed the cash to the lady and leaving the tray of food walked a couple of steps and collapsed on a couch. Mentally I was still there but I was too weak to stand and had trouble talking.

Some of the crew helped me to a medical room, one was pretty panicked and I did a pretty inept job of trying to calm the poor guy down as he attempted to take my blood pressure and pulse at the same time (and succeeding in neither). Two Austrian doctors, a father and daughter duo walked in to relieve him. I’d gone in to hypoglycaemic shock (low blood sugar) as a result of not eating for such a long time. This is typically associated with diabetics, but starving myself had managed to get the same effect. I sparked up a lot after sculling a disgusting salt and sugar solution and some orange juice which got my blood sugar back up.

Venice industrial zone
Arriving in Venice’s grim industrial zone

I then had a massive dinner with the doctors and their family, which was exceptionally kind of them. Robert (one of the doctors) and his family had been on a holiday to Greece and were on their way back home. We all had a laugh and had a good time. It felt more like I was with family than a bunch of random people I’d only just met. Robert’s wife was concerned for me, I promised to look after myself on the road. Soon it was time to disembark and I said goodbye to the Austrian family. I feel bad knowing I owe them so much and couldn’t do anything in return. I will always remember their exceptional kindness.

Greek busses and ferries

It was time to leave Greece; the time had really flown! I started the day with grabbing a bottle of orange juice (still not eating) and hitting the road. I made it to the train station and bought a ticket to Patras where I was to catch a ferry to Venice, Italy. This was a little more complicated than I thought, as it was actually two trains and then a bus. The bus driver was slightly crazy too, and clipped quite a few traffic cones in his enthusiasm to overtake…

Pink flowers
Some flowers along the road’s edge
I made it though, and upon arrival lay down in the transport hub waiting area. The multiple days of not eating, heat and still giving it 100 percent as far as walking around and traveling, had started to take its toll, and physically I had started to feel quite weak. A cleaning lady walked over after an hour-or-so and kindly offered me directions. Unfortunately those directions meant I had to walk 6 km down the road to a different port, which I hadn’t been aware of.

A small yacht
Love to own one of these one day…
I set off on my walk. Normally a 6 km walk/jog would be no issue for me at all but in the state I was in it took about 4 hours with stops to lie down on patches of grass. I finally made it to the port just after dark and rewarded myself by buying a burger, determined to eat. I ended up only managing to eat the sad slice of tomato inside. At around 2400 I passed through immigration and was finally on the boat on my way to Venice!

A picture of the Patras port in Greece
The deserted port as I await the ferry