7/18 – We managed to pull ourselves together in time to catch our train over to Venice. Upon our arrival to the Santa Lucia Station, we initially attempted to direct ourselves towards the new hostel using the directions we’d grabbed from their website. The only issue here was that the directions were from the mainland train station, not Santa Lucia. So that was a lovely realization, that we had accidentally booked a hostel in mainland Venice (or what is actually Marghera) rather than in Venice proper. Around this time with the afternoon heat beating down on us and the enveloping aroma that Venice radiates everywhere, we started joking about the hunger games again (only partially joking). After our ten-minute cab over to Marghera, we checked into the 1-star Nuova Locanda Belvedere (which was home to a black cat, naturally). In order to avoid passing out from hunger, we quickly went down to the nearby restaurant and inhaled a pasta lunch, followed up by a needed siesta.
Later, we got ready and made the trek back into Venice; we took the slow line down the Grand Canal to St. Mark’s Square and looked around there for a bit. We ended up finding a close and affordable place for dinner; I got a pepperoni and black olive pizza and a 4-euro diet coke! That expensive of a canned soda shouldn’t be legal. Post table-push-up, we walked around the side streets behind and around St. Mark’s Square, and eventually ran into a couple from Colorado who were in search of people with which to share a gondola ride. We happily obliged them and all six of us found the first willing and ready Gondolier to whisk us off on a 45-minute Venetian voyage! It was super worth the money and we were all really glad that we sprung for the expense in the end.
Friday 7/19 – We got up, re-packed up our backpacks again, and hopped on the commuter train back into Venice proper. Once back at the Santa Lucia station, we forced ourselves to make peace with the reality that there were no lockers there; hence, we cruised back down the Grand Canal towards St. Mark’s Square, fully loaded backpacks and all. Due to the absurdly long line to enter St. Mark’s Basilica, I stupidly decided to just have the other three go into St. Mark’s, while I watched all of the bags at a café in the square. Five minutes later, I had discovered that the cheapest thing on the café menu was an 8-Euro espresso (lol), so I simply anxiously awaited their return. Not entirely surprisingly, the middle-aged waiter kicked me out minutes later so I then attempted to transport all of our bags to another area (that must have been such a pitiful sight). Thankfully right then the girls had returned and we made our way back to Santa Lucia to head towards the next stop: Florence!