I left Krakow late Saturday afternoon to head to Bologna, Italy. Why Bologna? Simply because it was the cheapest place to fly into in Italy and that is where I wanted to head next. It didn't really matter to me where I landed, because I'm taking the train all throughout the country. So, I chose what I had thought was the cheapest flight. It was, actually, the cheapest flight, once again on the no frills Ryan Air. Here's the rub: Ryan Air charges for every little thing...to check a bag, to reserve a seat, to print a boarding pass, etc. I'm traveling alone, so I don't care about which seat I get on the plane, and in the past I've been able to print out my boarding pass online and not had to pay for it. But in Krakow, I didn't have access to a printer and couldn't find an internet café near the train station before leaving. So, I knew I would have to pay for my boarding pass when I got to the airport. I figured, it being Ryan Air, that it might be as much as $10 or even $15. What I had not been prepared for was to pay $111 for it. Yep, they charged me $111 bucks for one little piece of paper. I was furious! That's almost 3 times more than I paid for the flight itself. I tried to cancel my flight and get on a later one so I could go back into town and find somewhere to print, but that would have cost me even more. Live and learn...from now on, printing my pass will be a priority.
I arrived in Bologna after a flight so harrowing the passengers applauded when we finally touched down. We went through a horrific storm that had the plane pitching left and right, dropping altitude suddenly, etc. It made me glad I'm staying on the ground for a while. Trains may bump and sway, but that is definitely preferable to dropping a 1000 feet or so unexpectedly.
I don't have much to report about Bologna, because it was really just a stop-over point for me on the way to Venice, where I arrived by train this afternoon. The trip through the Italian countryside was lovely. I saw fields and farms, little Italian villages, and a couple of times I saw castle ruins on high hilltops.
I'm staying just outside of Venice in a lovely little neighborhood called Marghera. This time, instead of having my own apartment or hotel room, I am being hosted in the home of a wonderful woman named Vera Michelotto. She is a gem! Already we have become fast friends. Vera is retired and rents a room in her home to travelers. She doesn't accept just anyone...you have to write her and let her know a little about yourself and what you are doing, and she decides who she will host. I am lucky, lucky, lucky that she accepted me because she is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She was waiting for me at the train station when I arrived and fed me a traditional Italian Easter cake as soon as we got to the apartment. As much as I wanted to get into Venice and look around, it was hard to leave Vera. I felt immediately at home here and could have just sat in her kitchen chatting all evening.
I did pull myself away for a few hours, though, so here are some pictures of beautiful Venice. I apologize, but I'm not doing commentary for these. I'm exhausted tonight. The time changed over here last night, moving an hour ahead. While I love falling back, I hate springing forward. And in a completely unfair twist of fate, I've had to do it twice in the past month...once before I left the states and now again in Europe. You don't need my commentary anyway...the beauty of Venice speaks for itself.