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Chris Sayer’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014

Location: Venice, Italy

MapIt was such a long haul, four countries in 36 hours. It was the final one of four flights that created the most excitement. After all, it was still dark for the early morning short hop from Launceston to Melbourne, and the nine hours from Melbourne to Hong Kong had us stuck in the middle of the seating, with no access to a window. The twelve hours from Honkers to Munich was night time all the way, as we chased the sunrise rolling across the planet. The one hour from Munich to Venice, however, delivered an unforgettable view of the Alps, courtesy of a window seat and a cloudless sky. The flat, green farmland of southern Germany soon gave way to angry-looking mountains with rocky outcrops poking through white snowfields. With the sun just peeking above the eastern horizon, the low light gave the rugged mountain ranges a spectacular relief, accentuating the steep slopes and darkening the deep valleys. Then the sight of Venice directly below us as we approached our final destination airport was such a welcoming a sight.

We walked off the plane and into Italy unhindered, as we had passed through Customs and Immigration in Munich. Taking a water bus from the airport into the middle of Venice was just like taking Melbourne’s Skybus, and the Venetian skyline greeted us as we drew closer. We got off at the stop that our friend Alice had emailled me about, and as we alighted there was Alice and Matt to meet us.

There were big hugs for everyone from Alice, and firm handshakes from Matt, which was a little strange as this was only the second time we’ve ever met Alice, and the first time for Matt. We had previously met Alice in 2009 on a Danube boat cruise in Vienna before our Turkey trip, and we kept in touch on Facebook after that fortuitist meeting. When she heard that we were coming to Venice, only an hour’s flight from Vienna, she took a few days holiday to meet us. Matt was her new man in her life, and he was as lovely and warm as Alice, both middle-aged Austrians with good English and a sense of adventure. We stayed in the same hotel as they did, a basic place with comfy beds and delicious breakfasts, and right in the middle of Venice. We were prepared to sacrifice luxury for location.

It was still only 10am, too early to book into the hotel, so we went for a coffee and short walk before midday check-in. It was hot, 30 degrees under a blazing sun. It was a nice, gentle introduction to Italy for three exhausted and travel-weary Aussies. The adrenaline kicked in and, after an afternoon nap, we spent the rest of the day exploring before finally succumbing to fatigue that evening.