Ok, I won’t lie to you. Travelling by yourself is tiring. You are constantly on alert whenever you are out of the bubble that is the train or airplane, and there is noone to absolve responsibility to when you just can’t be bothered thinking about it for a while. Now its obviously not all bad, things are looking a lot better now that I have had a nap and my stomach has settled back down to being on the ground, but those few hours where all I wanted to do was sleep and instead I had to lug my bag around the train station….not fun. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Where did I leave off last time?
Ah, that’s right. The second plane trip. I think I need to revise my opinion of airplanes again. Not the level of service, but simply add a proviso. Flying is only fun if there is hardly anyone in the plane. I was counting on my second flight to get some decent sleep. It was pretty much the middle of the night for me, and I figured if I got some sleep then, I could maybe nip this jetlag in the bud. Unfortunately, Cathay Pacific had other planes. The flight I was on was a plane-share thingie, so was absolutely packed. I was basically sitting in exactly the same seat (seriously, one row forward) but I had a new friend. Luckily she was quite nice (and didn’t take up much space). Didn’t get much out of her, but she was from the Philippines, on her back to Europe to her job in domestic help. She slept most of the time, and barely got up to go to the bathroom which is always a good quality in a window-seat passenger. So, with only me and my little chair, sleep was a bitch. I got a few hours of napping, but my legs were rebelling against the evil confinement I had subjected them too. So they ached, especially the knees. And somehow walking and stretching didn’t do much. I’ve been on the ground almost 6 hours now, and they still ache. Granted I have spent some of that time sitting on a train, but that’s just quibbling now. It was no surprise though, that when breakfast came, my stomach decided that I was a meanie and didn’t approve of all the bacon being waived past its nose. So like I said before – the flying experience is really dependent on the company. The fewer the better. I did learn one awesome fact though. I was going for a walk around the plane and saw a stewardess come out of this door in the middle of the plane next to the toilets. I caught a glimpse of what was behind it….stairs!!! I’ve been on double-decker planes before and I know that there is a lower level obviously, but had no idea it was pressurised or anything. So, turns out it’s a resting lounge for the stewards, and they actually have shifts on the flight where they get to go and sleep. With fairly real beds too. Quite jealous really. But still, new fact :)
Coming into Rome was quite amazing. Its one thing to see it on a map, or the talk about it in class, but seeing the Apennines and the Tiber, the mind jumps to little Samnites in their forts and little squares of Roman soldiers marching in turtleshell formation at eachother. From the plane it looked a lot like NZ – patchwork fields, trees, farmland etc. A whole lot flatter though. As soon as you see the houses though, its very Mediterranean. It has those same style of apartment blocks that you get all over Israel, with the window boxes on the balconies and the yellowy coloured bricks. From the train from the airport to the city, you pass heaps of fields and long grassy patches that almost look like corn. And of course, no city or countryside is complete without huge amounts of graffiti along the train tracks. I swear we rode past an old aquaduct of some kind, or retaining wall, just casually covered with tagging. Some things never changes no matter where you go. Something about Italy is both amazingly foreign and amazingly familiar. I sometimes feel that I should be speaking Hebrew at them, but that’s partially to avoid English because then they look at you in this odd way. It’s and odd look to explain really, but given the few interactions I have had, I can’t really complain. Honestly, in my plane clothes, all gross lugging around my pack, I don’t think I was a particularly endearing sight. And it’s not surprising seeing as they must see thousands of tourists every day, especially at the train station.
So, I got my ticket to Venice, decided to save myself $80NZD and take the slower train (6 hours instead of 4) that left a little later. I’m writing this on the train, and I’ll post it when I get to the internet. With over an hour to kill, I thought about dumping my bag at the locker things, but the prices were exorbitant, and I was too tired to really go anyway to be honest. So I found a convenient ledge and chilled. That’s when travelling alone really gets tiring. I would have loved to have had a little nap, but no such luck. Sigh. Luckily, the train is a pretty nice place. Just like the trains you read about in the old detective novels and Harry Potter, with the corridor and the little compartments. Although, they really should consider making the corridor a little wider, you get some severe traffic jams. There really isn’t much to do now, its too bumpy to read and I’m scared of napping too much and screwing with my clock. Instead, I had a massive bleurgh to all of you and probably put you off reading the rest of my posts this trip. But I promise, the next few will be way more interesting. In a few hours I’ll be in Venice, with all the canals. I’m pretty sure my hostel is in a neighhbourhood that used to be a Jewish ghetto during the times of the Venetian Republic. Odd how things work out. :)
Be seeing you