Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vacances de Printemps: Italy

After our wonderful stay in Spain, Kath and I jetted over to Italy to get to know our other neighbor a little more. We took the bus back to Santander from San Sebasti√°n and flew to Milan. We had to stay in Milan overnight because our flight got there really late, so we couldn't take a train to Treviso right away. So we got a cab to take us to our hostel, except the cab driver was on her phone the entire time, and she tried to rip us off. I had told her the address quite clearly when we first hailed the cab, and she seemed to be fine with it. But after about 10 minutes of driving in the wrong direction (I had a general sense of where we had to go because I had looked at a map before), I asked her again if she knew where we were going, and showed her the address on the reservation. She looked at it and started muttering to her friend on the phone (in Italian, but I could understand most of it because I had taken a year of elementary Italian), "Where is this street? Do you know where it is?" I could not believe that she didn't know it! Finally though, she managed to find the hostel, and the meter said we owed around 25 euros. I was not going to pay that much when she spent 10 minutes driving in the wrong direction, so I argued with her and managed to get it down to 15 euros. Having dealt with that, we checked into the hostel, where we also got some trouble because she made us pay extra due to some sort of fee, but it wasn't an exorbitant amount so we just let it go.

After staying the night in Milan, we walked to the train station the next morning and planned on buying tickets straight to Treviso, a small town near Venice where we had a CouchSurfing host, but when we saw the ticket prices we couldn't believe how high they were, so we decided to take a look at tickets to Venice. They were so much cheaper, so we bought tickets to Venice and ended up spending the afternoon in Venice. Tickets from Venice to Treviso were only 2 euros, so it saved us a lot of money, plus we got to see some of Venice!

Obligatory gondola photo =P

A lot of people I had talked to before going to Italy told me that Venice was overrated and that it wasn't worth visiting, because there were so many tourists and because it smelled so bad. I, however, really liked Venice! Maybe it was because we only spent an afternoon there--maybe it's not the best place to have a long stay in, so what we did was perfect. We spent only a brief period of time there, walked around, saw a bit of the city, got gelato (of course), and enjoyed its charming canals. I really didn't think it was that bad. I mean, yes, it is touristy, but it's still beautiful! And it didn't smell bad at all. But maybe that's because we weren't there in the peak of summer. Either way, I still think Venice is worth a visit, but maybe just a short one.

That evening, we took the train to Treviso, and met our CouchSurfing host, Fabio. He didn't have a lot of time to take us out or anything, but he told us about this little restaurant in town that was good, so he dropped us off at the entrance to the city center and we found our way there, although it did take us a while. It was called Osteria Ai Filodrammatici, and the food was pretty freaking awesome.

My dinner--rabbit and polenta! So good.
My dessert...yummmm. It was some sort of...creamy log pastry thing, no idea. SO GOOD.
Kath's cookies for dessert
We wandered a bit after dinner, got gelato, and then walked back to Fabio's place. Didn't do much that night, just chatted a bit with Fabio and his roommate.

The next day, Kath and I set off to the city center again, to do a little more exploring. Turns out, Treviso does not have a lot going on. It could also have been that we were out right at lunchtime so not many places were open, but it was still really quiet. Really pretty though--it's a very picturesque little town. We did get some pretty good Italian pizza for lunch though! Other than that, we just walked around, took pictures, got more was drizzling though, which made it less fun.


Treviso has canals too =)

More gelato, of course...I mean come on, we were in Italy!
One of the main entrances into the city center
We saw some duckies on our walk back! =D
So clearly, not the best day to explore Treviso. But it was still nice. Relaxing, for sure! Anyway, we left Treviso that day (yeah, we were only there for one night) and went back to Venice briefly, just so we could take another train back to Milan. When we got back to Milan...well, needless to say, our impression of Milan was not improved, because there was a torrential downpour going on--so much so that it was raining INSIDE the train station. Yup.

It's kind of hard to capture rain on a crappy camera, but...
...maybe you can at least see how wet the floor was.
Our cab driver this time was much nicer though! He was an older man and kept trying to teach us Italian curse words, haha. And our cab ride only cost 13 euros, as opposed to the 25 that the first cab driver tried to charge us. He drove us to the same hostel that we stayed in our first night there, and we spent our last night in Italy. The next day we took an entire day to get back to France because we took trains the entire way back. We went from Milan to Ventimiglia, then Ventimiglia to Nice, then Nice to Nimes with switches in Toulon and Marseille. Yup. It was a loooong day. But, we finally got back! And it was home sweet home for just another 3 weeks...

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