“That is impossible. There is no night train to Venice.”
Laurilee and I stare blankly at the woman behind the ticket counter for so long that she begins to worry that her English wasn’t correct.
“What I mean is,” she says, “That train does not exist.”
“Huh,” I say, “But it’s on the timetable.”
“It does not exist.”
The woman in Marseilles was sweet and helpful, and although she couldn’t magically conjure up a non-existent night-train to Venice, she could get us as far as Nice today and then on to Venice the following afternoon.
Better than nothing, we said, and started looking for accommodations in Nice.
This was the most unexpected hiccup (hiccough? I never know.) during our entire trip, and as problems go, it wasn’t earth-shattering. We had to book a semi-expensive, semi-dodgy hotel near the train station in Nice and we lost half a day of Venice, but other than that it was a piece of cake.
And then, Venice!
It’s all true! No roads! Just canals!
I can’t remember the first time I had ever heard of the concept, but I remember as a little girl trying to imagine what it would be like to use a boat instead of a car. I loved the idea of Venice, full of water-roads and winding walkways.
It was exciting to step out of the train station and be immediately greeted by a busy stretch of the Grand Canal, with tourists loading onto buses and mail-boats zipping past with bags of letters and stacks of parcels.
Venice has some really wonderful sights, including the Guggenheim Museum, Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Accademia art gallery. But we didn’t go to any of them during our shortened stay.
But that was fine. I was mostly just there for the canals.
The day train.
Some gondoliers. Too rich for our blood!
The place we stayed brought breakfast to our room. They're sweet.