Adelaide - Bangkok - Zurich - Vienna in 34 hours

Thursday, July 25, 2019
Venice Hotel Times, Veneto, Italy
At 8:15am Gretl phoned to say she was about a minute away, but was held up in traffic. I said that was OK, as I needed another minute to sort out my bags. Almost twenty minutes later, beginning to worry that perhaps Gretl had been unable to get past a car accident, I asked Michael whether the car I could see parked out the front of house might be hers. He looked, but concluded it wasn’t, and so I gave her a call. It turned out that she’d been sitting there for almost twenty minutes waiting for us! She had assumed that I was still messing around with my bags and we had assumed that she would come inside or at least give us a call when she arrived. We concluded that next time we had better communicate more clearly!
The drive through the city was slow going due to the peak hour traffic, but once on the other side, we had a fairly clear run, arriving at the airport in plenty of time. Michael’s anxiety only eased once we had checked in, even though we had plenty of time to spare. After a leisurely cappuccino in the lounge, our long trek to Europe began.
We gorged ourselves on movies on the leg to Bangkok, the delightful ‘Brain Full Of Honey’ being a standout new release with Nick Nolte that I quite enjoyed, particularly due to the fact that some scenes were filmed in Venice, our first destination. 
I was happy to stay in the Thai Airways Orchid Lounge during our time in the Bangkok Airport, but Michael, as usual, had to lounge hop to make sure he wasn’t missing out on any particularly tasty foods. Just before 11pm, I gathered my gear, along with Michael’s hand luggage that he’d left with me, and walked across the corridor to the Orchid Spa where we had both booked a complimentary massage. Michael turned up a couple of minutes later, explaining that he’d become disoriented after leaving one of the lounges (his general sense of direction or the effect of too much alcohol?). 
The neck and shoulder massage was exactly what I needed. It felt as if every muscle the woman dug into screamed in agony, but by the end of it I sensed that the tightness had eased considerably.   After a tasty ginger tea, we returned to the lounge for a short while before heading off to board our flight to Zurich. 
The 11-hour flight seemed to fly by particularly quickly. I skipped the main meal, as it we had already been served dinner on the last flight and I was struggling to stay awake. I have no idea how long I slept for and whether the one Restavit sleeping tablet I took made any difference at all. All I know is that I kept waking up and having to shift my position to ease the aches and pains caused by the bumpy bed. Not that I’m complaining, mind you! I appreciate that those travelling in the economy section were having a much tougher time. 
When I had slept for as long as I could, I sat up and was quickly served breakfast. (Don’t worry, Felicity, I won’t bore you with the details of what was on the menu!) I then began watching the movie ‘Five Feet Apart’, expecting that we still had several hours of the flight left. Shockingly, the plan landed 90 minutes later with the main protagonist drowning under the ice with only a couple hours left before she was supposed to undergo a lung transplant! I now have to wait at least five weeks before I find out if she is rescued in time. Given that the movie still had half an hour to go, I’m assuming she survives. 
At the Zurich airport, we looked everywhere for directions for transit passengers, but not seeing any, we followed everyone else through customs and on to the baggage claim area. When our bags didn’t appear within the first five minutes or so, Michael raced off to check whether we were supposed to be collecting our bags here or in Venice. We had assumed that they would be checked right through to Venice, but given that we had passed through here in Zurich, we weren’t so sure. Perhaps it was like in Australia when you have to clear customs in the first place you land in before flying on to your final destination. Perhaps the EU worked similarly. But this was not the case. Michael was told that we shouldn’t have come through immigration after all. At this stage, panic set in, as we thought we only had 25 minutes until our next flight departed! We had to rush up two floors, clear security and rush a considerable distance to reach the gate. Along the way, we checked a flight information board and discovered that the departure time was actually 20 minutes later than we had thought — we’d read the boarding time on our tickets and mistakenly thought that was the departure time! We arrived at the gate a couple of minutes before it opened and ended up being the first to board the plane! 
By now we were hot and sweaty, but very relieved. Although I still wasn’t convinced that our bags would actually turn up in Venice. Forty five minutes later, we touched down in Venice and were relieved when Michael’s bag eventually appeared on the baggage carousel. However, mine was nowhere to be seen — the sign indicated that the drop-off had been completed and there were no more bags appearing on the conveyor belt. We promptly headed over to the lost and found area and began providing the necessary information to begin the process of finding my bag. Luckily, Michael went back to the nearby carousel for a final check — and there it was. Never believe the signs you read — and if there are no signs, ASK = lessons learned today!
An express bus took us across the long bridge that connects Venice with the mainland, dropping us off not far from the railway station. It was a hot walk in the midday sun to our nearby hotel. As our room was not to be ready for another half an hour, Michael went off for a quick jog whilst I checked my messages on my iPad. In the process of organising all my gear, I accidentally sat on my new prescription sunglasses and broke off one of the arms. And so, my first purchase after we’d settled in to our room and showered and changed was a pair of inexpensive sunglasses. 
Eyes now reasonably happy, we strolled at a very leisurely pace through the busy alleyways of Venice through to St Mark’s Square, stopping on the way to check out the European Cultural Centre with it’s interesting artworks. We then meandered aimlessly through more alleys and squares, finally consulting our map and ascertaining that we had walked to the very east of the island. Fortunately, the tap water here is safe to drink and there are often wells in the many squares where one can refill drink bottles.
Hot, sweaty and tired, we arrived back at our hotel with some supplies from the local supermarket. We rested a while and then headed out for an early dinner at a restaurant we had spotted on the way. The tourist menu choice was limited and a bit average, but it satisfied our hunger. We collapsed into bed at about 8pm, so grateful to be drifting off to sleep on a comfortable mattress.
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Now you’re making me regret not doing Venice! Hopefully Verona will give me as much enjoyment. Looking forward to following the rest of your trip


I remember those snow covered mountains from the plane, near Venizia! Soooo, being hot weather, ARE there mosquitoes & a 'smell' I've heard about from the water? I can't imagine anything would upset me in Venice. We took the water boat from the airport that dropped us near our own vaporetto (spelling?) stop closest to the hotel (that Nick found through the tiny streets and across a bridge... mr good sense of direction!)... no better place to lose oneself than Venice, honestly... more, more, more... WISH I had the map of our recommended restaurants unpacked for you Merrilly... I want you to go off the beaten track to eat... no tourist restaurants in that city please, it's a crime!! (although espresso at any bar, as it's nothing like Aust ... I can drink black double espressos ONLY in Italy, given milk is a no-no after breakfast w coffee, and they have big sugar packs!).. or eat ANY pizza slices at takeaway holes in the wall... find 'gatto de lingue' biscuits (thin, small crispy 'cat tongues' - hope I spelled that correctly!!!) YUMMMMM, soooo envious... I could LIVE THERE XXXXXXX


What a magnificent start to your holiday! You really have captured the beauty of this city on canals. I am struck by how few in number are the pedestrians wandering the streets during the day.. Mum, Shirley and I were in Venice for three days in July 1982 and only saw small numbers of people strolling through the streets in the cool of the evening. You have begun your European holiday with a collection of wonderful scenes. It surely is going to be difficult to match the magnificence of this first day with any of the scenes to be recorded over the next few weeks. Thank you also for the entertainment in your commentary on your experiences in the flights taking you from Australia to Europe and the selection of photos that were included in that recording.


Hey, Lisa — I am sure you will love the places you have chosen to go to this time. You have to save a few places for the next trip! Hayley — no mosquitoes detected yet, and we’ve only come upon one small canal that was a bit ponygy. I’ve heard people report that Venice can be a bit on the nose in summer. We don’t want to rack up too much on our credit cards, and so it’s tourist menus, fresh food from the supermarket or pizzas for us. At least you’d approve of the pizza option, Hayley!


Thank you, Dad, for your comments. There are actually masses of tourists here in Venice — I just wait until they move out of the way, and then I take my shots! We also like to go off the beaten track a bit, exploring the less touristy alley ways.


Looks like a great start to your holiday, Merrilly. I’m really looking forward to traveling with you and Michael through Europe and the UK! Loving the photos already!


Great photos of Venice and much hotter than when we were there. We loved the "book store" "Library" place particularly the gondola in the middle