Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 4B: Reunion!

We found them! I never thought I would be so happy to see a piece of heavy luggage, but we were ecstatic. I quickly learned that toting this baby around wasn't the cakewalk I had imagined. But who was I to complain? I had a change of clothes! And makeup! And fresh underwear! TMI? Whatever. Washing our unmentionables in the sink was getting old. So let's rewind and I'll tell you how we reached this celebratory moment.

Kurt and I had to wait at the bus station in Venice for a few minutes and then push our way onto a really crowded bus headed for the airport. It was so hot this woman next to me almost fainted. We got to the airport in under an hour (I was afraid we were going to be on there forever). Once we arrived, it took a while to locate customs.

There were signs for "Left Luggage" and maybe even "Lost and Found" but customs was eluding us. Finally we spotted 2 information-like windows and decided they were it. But the blinds were down! Are they closed?! It must have been about 4 or 5 in the afternoon. I know Italians aren't exactly workaholics, but being closed in the early evening at an airport would be ridiculous. Upon closer inspection, we discover there is a bell you have to ring and someone will come help you. Apparently they don't want to be bothered by random travelers coming up to ask them questions! Anyway, we talk to a guy who helps us really quickly. He confirms our bags are there but only one of us can go in the back to get them. Kurt had been conversing with this guy in Italian and I was feeling useless, so, for some crazy reason, quickly volunteer to be the retriever.

It was kind of exciting. I had to go through the employee metal detector and walk through all these back offices while trying to keep up with the fast walking customs guy. Finally, we get to this big room near baggage claim. Inside, there are bags in piles everywhere. They are sprinkled around the room in piles of about 4-5 bags (I'm guessing organized by flight). I quickly spot ours and restrain myself from bolting to the pile. The customs guy double checks the tags on the bags and escorts me from the room while I struggle under the weight of 2 huge backpacks. Then the guy just tells me to exit where people leave from baggage claim.

Kurt was on the other side of the doors waiting for me like I had just arrived on a flight. I like to imagine that his face lit up because he was excited to see me, but I'm sure he was just glad to be reunited with his backpack :) We had a quick little photo op and then headed to find a handicapped bathroom. We took turns stripping down, taking a shower in the sink, and reveling in putting on new outfits.

After such airport excitement, we were a little too wiped out to deal with going back into Venice. Instead, we figured out how to take a bus to Mestre, a nearby town where we could catch the same train to Slovenia. It wasn't leaving until 9pm so we had a couple hours to kill. We ended up at a hotel bar across the street from the train station and had some sandwiches and beer. The bartender was closing up shop soon after we got there but was kind enough to let us hang out (and even served us a few more rounds!) as he cleaned up for the evening.

Before boarding said train, I convinced Kurt to get a gelato cone with me (FYI: they don't really call it that, I just like making Kurt cringe as I butcher Italian language and culture). The entire trip, Kurt kept promising me we would get a beer at McDonald's because they serve it there. Sadly, it was never the right place or time and I have yet to experience booze at Mickey D's. Next trip.

When buying tickets for this train, all the seats were sold out and they could only offer us was a sleeping car. This was actually a blessing because I was having a major allergy attack and planned on popping some allergy medicine and conking out. The car had 6 beds in it but no one ever came to join us. I am glad for this, so no one had to witness my Benadryl-induced coma. Kurt was kind enough to take some lovely glamour shots of me while I slept and he gazed out the window. Sorry, those will not be posted!

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