Oh God. I know what you’re thinking. Is she done telling this bloody story yet?
This is the third and final installment, I promise. Dobby has been reading through my drafts alongside me, and reminiscing about our little adventure:
“Sam, you know what, I think this might have to be a three part-er”
And I didn’t believe her.
Pour It Up
Okay so whizz back to part 2. Vinevia all’Amarone. Cute table outside. Even cuter Prosecco bottle sitting comfortably in its snug little ice bucket.
Finding San Marco Square and getting to Venice in the first place had tired us out a little, and what we really needed (craved) at this point was food, and lots of it.
We browsed through the menu and I found myself in that horrible dilemma most of us have had the privilege of experiencing.
“Oh my god there is just so much CHOICE”
“Wait, what does that mean? Oh it’s ………… – I love them!”
“Okay that will be a potential main”
“Or maybe I should try something typically Venetian. But they do have this dish and it’s basically my ‘go-to’…”
“Oh god the waitress will be back out in a minute – MAKE A DECISION – QUICK!”
“Maybe we can do half/half to try two different dishes?”
“God Dobby WHY ARE YOU VEGETARIAN?!”
“Omg focus – don’t waste time on sides!”
*gasps dramatically and clutches chest* “SIDES ARE NEVER A WASTE OF TIME”
Anyone else had that problem? Just me maybe…
What were seven or so of the most stressful minutes of my life passed by and we had somehow come to a decision.
“What goes well with Prosecco?”
“Darling, everything – you can’t base your decision on that alone”
So I think we went with our guts – which at this point were crying out for carbs, a creamy sauce and generally a large portion of substational and tasty grub.
Dobby ordered a lovely veggie dish (I know it was some kind of pasta) and I predictably went for my ‘go-to’, spaghetti marinara. I just love seafood and garlic and could eat a potful if you let me (unfortunately that wasn’t an option).
We also went for a starter of the ‘bread & bits’ variety. Very tasty and scoffed down within about 5 seconds of being delicately placed on the table in front of us (and our beady little eyes).
While we waited for our mains, we contemplated the next stop on our grand tour.
“OK, where to next?”
The wine had us relaxed and in a state of tranquility – the food enhancing this chilled mood even further.
“I’m easy – let’s just stroll and see what’s good”
“Let’s have a mooch, yeh”
Our dishes arrived and this is how I would define happiness –
The waitress walks out and the food heads directly for your table. Large white plates are served and the portion is not petite or ‘bite-size’, ‘delicate’ nor ‘Instagram-cute’ (what is this trend all about anyway – it’s just serving up a plate of disappointment and shattered appetite-based dreams people!)
Nay, the portions are deceivingly large, and the food looks beyond appetising; yet somehow still manages to exceed your expectations.
So at this point you’re salivating – it gets better. “WHAT?!” I hear you cry.
Cheese, my friend.
That freshly grated smell-it-from-across-the-room Parmesan cheese.
The waitress moves to serve the Parmigiano-Reggiano, waiting for you to gesture “stop”.
You don’t . The cheese never ends, there is cheese times infinity, the whole world becomes covered in cheese, and that for me is happiness.
In this case, I must admit, I committed the sin of all sins on Italian ground – ok not as bad as when I ordered a Hawaiian pizza, but getting there/coming in a close second. (Amici miei, look away now per favore)
Seafood and cheese. I found out a couple years later (or too late apparently) that this was a HUGE no-no.
The Italians couldn’t even understand why I would choose to DISRESPECT the marinara like that. I wonder what they would make of fisherman’s pie…?
Anyway, on that day I was happy as Larry pouring (most appropriate verb) Parmesan on and around my dish, and washing it down with chilled wine. And it was just everything.
As the dishes were taken away, we sat back in our peaceful slump, feeling entirely content with the world, our lunch and the rest of the time we had in Venice. I can’t remember if there was dessert, but I have a feeling we didn’t want to over-indulge (hold-in your laughter please), and so we made a move from the restaurant, at a pretty slow pace.
“Oh I know”
To be honest, lunch had made it for us, and we were both quite content in taking the rest of the day in our stride.
As I mentioned earlier, there is so much to see in Venice, it all becomes a little distracting. Being in a post-pasta bubble had turned us into a couple of ambling old ladies, wandering arm in arm and stopping to window-shop (or rather, glare) at the various boutiques lining the streets. After trying on a few masks, laughing hysterically and being frowned out of a shop (or two) we walked along the “Gran Canale” and took a few snaps on the famous Rialto bridge.
The Unfortunate Turn of Events
We were so fulfilled with our fabulous day out (pasta- and vino does wonders) that we *classic* lost track of all time. Here is where things got messy.
Turns out going for a stroll is okay as long as you have your logistics in check. We did not.
“Oh my god that is not the time”
*Bad word* “Dobby I don’t know if we’ll make it”
I love this girl and I don’t know many people who possess the same level of optimism.
“Okay…” *looks at map* “No you know what- I think we can make it. Let’s try”
Our past experiences (solo adventures and together) of ‘just’ making it on time for – you name it – parties, exams, flights (it’s not great I know) combined with our knowledge (comfort) in that the other is exactly the same way, had egged us on in previous situations, and this one was no different.
Imagine two girls, post-boozy lunch, running (and panting) through the streets of Venice, bags bashing against innocent bystanders, holding the look of 50% calm, 50% “Ooh not quite sure this running lark is all that worth it” on our faces.
Well that was the scenario.
We got to what I remember to be the other side of Ponte della Constituzione, and Dobby laid down the card of sensibility – “I can’t, I’m sorry…I think it might wait – they never really come on time right?”
I threw in the towel too. Checking the clock, the train was already due and therefore had probably left 5 minutes before (they like to mess around like that sometimes – switching up platforms, going from delayed to cancelled: basically keeping commuters and baffled tourists on their toes).
I knew the train had left but we thought we’d check anyway – optimism. Entering the station we looked up at the board and our doubts were confirmed.
“Ok never mind, we’ll just wait for the next one out.”
That would have been a logical idea except in this case the next few trains departing were of the Frecciarossa variety, aka something which our student budget (particularly at this point in the semester – IT WAS OVER – OVER) would not stretch to. Simply put, it was decidedly not the Megabus of Northern Italy.
“*Another bad word* What are we going to do?”
By this time we had extended our timetable research online and I managed to find out that there was a cheaper train heading towards Bologna, just later on… MUCH later on.
And that would still leave us an hour away from home.
Suddenly the image of my chaotic cave of a room felt so distant and beyond reach. We looked at each other for a moment. “Done it again, haven’t we” but also “LOL I wonder how this’ll pan out” crossed both of our minds.
Then my battery died.
We didn’t make it.
We stayed in Venice; we’re still here right now.
We’re stuck forever; that’s us in the photo featured. Cazza’s finishing off her glass, and I’m pondering over what cheese selection would go best with the next bottle.
Just pulling ya leg.
As it turns out, Dobby didn’t have data and had about 5% more battery than myself. That’s 5 %.
Things got old school pretty quick.
“We need to get off the island”
Make the call
Our only hope right now was our sweet Casalooch. I had messaged Joshua earlier informing him of our pickle and he couldn’t, yet at the same time could, believe our predicament.
*Third bad word* “Oh we need to call Josh, quick, I’ll write his number down before your battery dies.”
Dobby got up the number while I rummaged in search of pen and paper. What I found as substitutes were a worn-away eyeliner pencil and ironically, my unused train ticket. Doing all of this in blind panic on the steps outside Santa Lucia station felt other-worldly. As I used Dobby’s back as a support for my frantic scribbling, I couldn’t help but laugh at how desperate we must have looked/actually were, especially when fumbling for coins for the payphone. PAY. PHONE.
Needless to say, it felt very 90s.
So there we were, chucking all the cents we had into this payphone, and dialing carefully (oh so carefully), waiting on Casalooch to answer, who had actually just got out of the shower at this point, and was chilling at home in Forli, or at least he was before becoming our human switch-board.
*Deep breath* JOSH I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS WE’RE TRAPPED IN VENICE LOL TRAPPED HAHAHAHA THIS IS SO US OH MY GOD WHY AM I RAMBLING DOBBY I CAN’T BREATHE CHUCK IN ANOTHER 5 CENTS—” beep
“Oh Sam. How have you done that?! I’m eating left over lasagna. Did it go off without you? LOL BYE. Oh deaar. Wait what are you calling me on now? Are you using CASH. Hello are you calling from the 90s? Darling what’s happened ok nevermind I’ve got the timetable up write this down. Is Dobby there? ELLO U CHEEKY TROLL”
Being our savior for the day, he practically planned and coordinated our safe trip back home: Sat in a towel, in his bedroom, some 100 miles away, googling every possible way for us to get “back from the islands”, Casalooch came up with the following itinerary:
“Okay so here’s what you girls need to do.”
*Dobby and I stand with one ear to the phone each, silently nodding and eager for instruction/direction/guidance/a miracle in our time of need*
“Train from Santa Lucia Venice to Ferrara departs at midnight – this means you need to get off at Bologna”
“But it’s for Ferrara…”
“This is the thing – you’ll have to buy a ticket for Ferrara and get off one stop later, Bologna. It’s the best way for you to get home without waiting until morning for one HAHA – sorry – but, no darling, we’ll get you home. Get off at Bologna.”
We bought the tickets straightaway. I can’t express how grateful we were for my best friend’s ability to organise and resolve under pressure. It was the best situation given our unforeseen circumstance, although there were a couple of things we were wary of:
- Technically the first ticket was for Ferrara…so for one stop , we would have to avoid any ticket inspectors (if there even were any).
“Hide in the toilet”
“WHAT both of us?”
“Or play tourist! Technically you are…?”
2. The crossover at Bologna would mean a wait of 3 hours more or less, in the early morning, which was not really an ideal time to be in the city. However, from the few times I had been on a night out with the españoles in Bologna, I was aware of Piazza Verdi, a square popular with the young folk for pre-drinking, before moving onto the clerbz. This came to mind as I remembered Dad’s sound advice.
“There’s safety in numbers”
There were sure to be students around at this time.
“Let’s just enjoy Venice!” Dobby could see I was still getting over our little hiccup.
As we went through our action plan again with Josh, she breathed a sigh of relief – she was right, what was important now was enjoying the time we had left.
“What a blessing, we can see Venice at night!”
It did seem like we’d been given a few more hours to explore, and this was not to go unappreciated.