I recently found a journal I used to keep record of my week-long trip to Italy in the autumn of 2011, since it was such a good time away I think I should share the entries. I also have some pictures I had saved on my Facebook profile that will accompany the corresponding entries.
16th September 2011: Day One.
Rather than my usual haunts of France and (occasionally) Germany I found myself bound for a new destination, Italy. I’d had an interest in visiting Italy ever since I studied Classical Studies back in High School when I learned about the Roman Empire and it’s extensive history. It might have started sooner than that actually, my uncle is from Italy himself and my brother’s fiancee means that I will end up with even more Italians in the family. It’s fair to say I’m rather tired of visiting France over and over, that really loses it’s novelty after 5-7 trips.
I decided to go on this week-long holiday with my dad, I had not had a chance to do something like this with him since our trek around the south island of New Zealand back when I was 15… I think and this would be new ground for him as well. Our trip would start at London St. Pancras where we would board a train for Paris, then we would get another ‘sleeper’ train that would take us all the way to Venice in Italy. We would spend 2-3 days there before heading to Rome where we would spend the rest of the week before getting a flight back to London.
The trip started badly when I forgot to bring the most important thing of all, our tickets from London to Paris. How did I even manage that? I managed to bring everything needed except the documents needed to get us both out of the country. Thankfully my dad had a solution and using his IPhone was able to get the reference number of our booking and was able to get another set of tickets printed off using St Pancras’s own net cafe. The train journey to Paris was uneventful and we eventually found ourselves outside Le Gare De Nord, that’s in the north of Paris and we needed to get to the south east for our next ride to Venice.
People have their own opinions of the French and Parisians too. My last experience in Paris was not very nice when I was mistaken for a homeless beggar by a few locals as I sat outside Le Gare De Nord with my luggage waiting for my train back to London. My own opinion of Paris is an odd one, it looks very dirty and untidy but also has an air of authenticity about it. I know for a fact that the majority of French homes only look ‘run down’ on the outside while they look very modern and tidy on the inside, it’s just something odd about the architecture. As we walked down the streets of the French capital I got into a discussion with my dad, we went into all sorts ranging from the state of the Euro and politics – the sort of things that I usually discuss with friends. After the eventful stroll through the city during which we saw what looked like a protest of goths against something the government was doing… I don’t know and I wasn’t really keen to stop to ask, we reached Paris Bercy. We found ourselves with an hour to spare so we found a nearby restaurant and got some dinner. There we had a really good steak each, there was also a really good waitress; doe-eyed and chirpy, good thing I wasn’t drinking otherwise I might have said something lecherous. Unlikely since I was on holiday but still, best to not run the risk. Our train pulled intoParis Bercy and I looked at it with some trepidation. I had been on a ‘sleeper train’ once before, funnily enough it was on a holiday in France… Toulouse I think? It is an uncomfortable experience for sure, unless you pay for a 1st class cabin then you’re in for hard bunks and sharing with 2-4 other people. The noise is tremendous and the motions of the train made you felt as if you had been shoved into a tumble dryer.
All I could do was put my MP3 player on and hopefully that put me out…
That’s the first entry, the next one will be up very soon and will be about our first day in Venice. It was an eventful day for sure.