I`ve been on the fence about bike touring in Italy. A tour that I mapped out six months ago looked so promising, from the mountains to the sea. My friends Ken and Heidi are several months ahead of me and are blazing the trail for me. They said they felt the Italians were in-different towards them. Basically they don’t like tourist but they know they need them. I met several Italians who confirmed those feelings. Then I started thinking about standing in front of the leaning tower of Pisa and almost feeling like a victim, instead of a traveler or tourist.
People told me I had to go to Venice, its one of the most beautiful cities. The temperature has been rising the past 3 weeks, its basically hot now. In France II met some folks from Slovenia and felt a connection. I always planned to go but after Italy. I want to visit Lake Bled in Slovenia but during August, while the weather is still summer like. If I did the Italian Tour, that makes Slovenia Septemberish, colder and potentially wetter. So the Italian Touring doubts are starting to settle in.
I left Tende too soon, but anyway. I take the train to Cuneo and attempt to buy a ticket to Venice. Im at a border train station and NONE of the ticket people speak English. Hey Italy, do you want people to visit? We need to be able to buy a train ticket! No one outside Italy speaks Italian, get on the tourist program, ENGLISH. I find a guy who helps me buy a ticket to Venice, I take the train to Venice. I arrive around 11pm, and start looking for a hostel or hotel. The bottom is $65, the dorm rooms have an age restriction 35, I`m close but NO. So after talking with several hotels I stumble into HOTEL S.GEREMIA he has 1 room $65, I ask if he`ll do $55, OK. I get the room, I`m king, private bath, air conditioning, big bed. The room is so nice I almost go back and pay him the difference (notice almost but no) I get up early and head for an ATM, and what do I find?.
MY ITALIAN POLICEMAN PHOTO, SCORE
I learn something quick about Venice, its a walking city and I dislike walking. Walking is a pace that does allow you to take photos
CLIMATE CHANGE SAYS GOODBYE VENICE
Nearly every restaurant serves Pizza. Breakfast is espresso and a croissant, not my idea of a meal to start the day. So I walk by this place one afternoon.
SOMEONE GOT THE MEMO, AMERICAN PIZZA
MURANO GLASS is something I knew nothing about. Well, again every other shop had blown glass.
THERE SEEMS TO BE A THEME, CLOWNS ON BIKES. HOW SHOULD I FEEL ABOUT THIS?
So I’m walking around, museums, cathedrals, gondola rides (boat) its a little too much. Im not in the mood for any of it. Basically Italy is more of this, its making my decision to skip Italy, that much easier. Oh ya, its f____ing HOT, standing in the sun sweating.
I email someone I met in France, ask if they have room for me? No problem, gives me his address and I take the train to the mainland and bike to the address he gave me. No one is around, its late, so I camp in this field.
THE NEIGHBORS WERE A LITTLE NOSEY
I GOT UP EARLY AND WAS OUT OF THERE.
So I decide to bike back to Venice instead of taking the train. What a stupid idea, I made it but WTF. After taking a nice bike lane, Im on the gravel I finally get to the bridge.
LOADING UP WATER AND SODA FROM THE MAINLAND TO TAKE TO VENICE. (photo out of order).
I think, if they have a hotel room for $50 Ill stay one more night? if not I’m out of here. I get another great room at the same hotel. WIFI in the room (France its possible).
IT`S PIZZA OR PIZZA FOR DINNER?
The smart phone disease is bad here. I see this young couple having (what I thought) was a romantic dinner at a sidewalk cafe in Venice.. They are both engrossed in their phones, not talking to each other. So Im talking with the resturaunt worker and tell him the story. His response? People ask him first if he has WIFI, not whats on the menu. I said so basically you can serve shit and free WIFI makes it all good? His response, Yes.
So I go next door to my hotel and tell Enrico the WIFI story. He laughs and chimes in, When people come for a room, he points to the chair and says they would sleep in the chair as long as there is free WIFI, we got a good laugh.
ENRICO WAS SUPER HELPFUL AND FUNNY!
I TRIED TO HIRE ONE OF THESE GUYS TO HELP ME OVER A CANAL BRIDGE MAYBE 50 FT., $10. I DID IT MYSELF.
So the decision to skip Italy has gotten easier with just my few days in Venice.
1. Its only going to get hotter the more south I go, skip Italy
2. The in-different attitude, life is too short, skip Italy
3. Pizza for every meal, skip Italy
4. Tourist attractions that victimize you, skip Italy
5. Slovenia’s summer August window would diminish by the time I got there, skip Italy
6. When a French driver tells me the Italians drive aggressively, rude and impatient, that was the nail in the coffin for Italy, skip Italy.
The decision to Skip Italy was one of the best travel decisions besides coming on this adventure to begin with.
THE TRAIN LET ME OUT HERE
I tried to take a train to Bled Lake but they said its probably quicker to ride. Thanks for the awesome advice.
II GOT ON THIS BIKE PATH ALL THE WAY TO SLOVANIA.
I MET THIS FUN COUPLE FROM BELGIUM, BLIJKE AND JAN. THIS IS HIS TREE CLIMBING BUSINESS TRUCK/CAMPER
So theres no tent camping here (caravans are ok) what? Its a $200 fine if they catch you. So I leave my bike and stuff with Blijke and Jan and hike into the woods with my tent and sleeping bag. Though they do allow cows to graze in the woods, what causes more damage, tent camping or cows?
I stop to take this photo the next day
Before I know it I’m being filmed and questioned by this Italian Family.
SYLVIA SAID SHE WANTED TO JOIN ME, I TOLD HER TO GET HER BIKE.
THE BIKE PATH IM ON IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND NO CARS!
I NEVER GOT A WELCOME TO ITALY PHOTO SO HERES THE GOODBYE ITALY PHOTO.
Italy photos HERE
Thanks for reading and commenting, again these take hours to write so don’t feel put out if I don’t get back to you. Ive got to do activities so I have something to write about!
NEXT? I come to (happy) tears in a Slovanian tourist office.
4 thoughts on “A COUPLE OF DAYS IN VENICE, ITALY AND WHY I`M NOT BIKING ITALY”
Sorry you didn’t get to see the best Italy has to offer. It’s a remarkable place, not without its frustrations, but still, it’s incredible. It seems tourism is a double edged sword. Great for supporting people but can get overwhelming for everyone when it’s too much. Can’t wait to hear about the Slovenia adventure. The birds continue to eat my blueberries just as they ripen. I gave them a good scolding this morning. Will have to do the net thing next year. Never got the apple stockings. We’ll see how that goes. Smelling smoke all night. Forest fires.
I keep on enjoying reading about your excursion Jeff. Is it hot and humid? It’s hot here but I gotta say I am actually almost acclimated to this climate but around here we do prefer the winter months most. Still jobless and looking hard for something. May end up getting a teaching job inside a juvenile correctional facility but still a little early to tell for sure. Needless to say, it has been a grind and not producing much just yet but I hold out for something better. Have fun Jeff and look forward to your posts. Love you. Mark
The bike path from Italy into Slovenia is just what I need to find … flying into Bologna mid May 2014 and heading immediately to SLovenia likely via Trieste. Where was this path?
Thanks for reading and writing. When you get off the train at Trieste, with your back to the train station, go left towards Slovenia. Ride just 1 km or so and you will see the bike path on the left, even I found it. You might contact the Slovenian Tourism Assoc. and ask them to send you the bicycle map of Slovenia, you have plenty of time. I´m riding road tires on the bike routes that are gravel and they work fine. This is an awesome little country to explore by bicycle, the bike paths are great and the people are even better! GOOD LUCK, JEFF