Many express a love-hate relationship with Italy. We get it.
It was time to head to the airport for our departing flight from Venice back to England. Near the Venezia-Mestre Rail Station is the bus signage. Study it carefully and you will note that the sign is wrong – it has one direction away from the airport, then the other sign has the stops in reverse order but also away from the airport.
Okay, let’s just take the bus that reads ‘aeroporto’ — likely a good guess.
We were fortunate to have previously purchased a card that has ten bus trips on it, and we simply tap the card, the light turns green, and on we get – what could be easier. We board the bus with our suitcases in tow, tap the card – green light- and we are off.
Both Heather and I thought this was good value. For about $3.00 Canadian we could ride to the airport, which is quite a distance from Mestre.
As we near the terminal – the stop prior to the final stop, the bus is boarded about five burly policeman types — a ticket check. Not a problem we pull out our cards to show we paid.
No, no, no — ‘Non hai pagato la tariffa corretta’. There is a fine of 68 Euros each for not paying the correct fare!
It is time to pull out the naïve tourist act– something that comes easily when you are a naïve tourist. BUT how were we to know? There is no sign at the terminal, there is no sign on the bus, the bus driver clearly saw us get on with two suitcases — perhaps an indication with a bus labelled ‘aeroporto’ that we were headed for the airport!
Finally after some scolding the officer relents and tells us when we get to the airport, go and pay the correct fee of eight Euros — which we dutifully go and pay.
That in a nutshell is part of Italy — confusion reigns supreme, but everyone eventually gets the job done.
Returning to England we were pleasantly surprised. A very pleasant Border Control agent took the time to say NEXT time we go to Venice, we must try X, Y and Z. She spent about ten minutes talking to us about Venice, her visits there etc. Then I was off to the late night store to buy something to get us through to the morning [gagging at the thought of another restaurant meal]. The cashier says, ‘Been away have you?’ Yes I say, to Venice. “Oh I have never been there but would love to go. Did you like it? ” — and so on from there.
Arriving back we feel genuinely welcomed back to our adopted land.
And like all Brits, tomorrow we are up to do battle with the British Rail system.
It felt good to be home.