We have been on the road, or more properly, on the European railway tracks for the most part of the last eight days. Maybe seven days. I don’t know. The concept of time has lost all meaning. Travel does that to a person.
It is very tough work. Tourists are all about seeing things, photographing things, experiencing things, buying things, doing things. It is an artificial existence, and so it is really hard to keep up for a long time.
We should all feel sorry for those tourists who blithely book a six-month excursion. They have no idea what they are letting themselves in for. I can tell them: It will be a lot of pain and suffering, all while trying to look like they’re having the time of their lives so as to justify their investment of money and time.
But I ramble. The point of this blog is to show a little of what it is like to move to a place, as opposed to just visiting there. But for the last little bit, we have just been visiting. It is tougher than we remember. We’re almost grateful to get back to work.
10 things we have learned so far:
- The best hot chocolate in the world can be had in Bratislava, Slovakia. This is a true fact.
- Vienna is much more fabulous than anyone could guess.
- Sorry to say, but Italian food tastes better in Canadian ‘Italian’ restaurants.
- The landscape between Milan and Venice looks a lot like Saskatchewan.
- Venice has a regrettable spewage smell to it. I say spewage, because I doubt they would admit to it being sewage. We may have seen a spewage outfall directly into a canal in the heart of the city.
- It is worth the extra money to book a full sleeping compartment with private bathroom and shower on Eurail lines in Switzerland, Austria and France.
- It is questionable whether it is worth it to pay extra money for first-class on Trenitalia (Italian Rail). Their seats are a little like Mussolini – hard to put up with.
- Italy’s train service Trenitalia also recently laid off their senior staff to hire a bunch of cheaper new staff, putting people out of work who have been with the railway for 20-25 years. Boo Trenitalia. A handful of middle-age guys are protesting this in front of the Venice train station. They have been there for 25 days. Trenitalia is a real name. Check it out by clicking here.
- If you want something done, get a Swiss, German or Austrian national to do it.
- Venice hotels are ridiculously expensive, but everything else is reasonable from food to souvenirs to boat taxis