May 19, 2022

All the world’s an island: Correspondent Carol-Ann covers the Globe with only a back pack Part Five

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Carol-Ann-Rudy11By Carol-Ann Rudy

Rome and Venice: Piacere di conoscerti – Happy to meet you!

Linear travel, linear thinking. A huge change from my daily approach to life from “content and objectives taking center stage in our minds,” to quote Dennnis J. Tariakow, in an article in the Ortho Tribune newspaper. Jumping on and off trains, subways, and buses. No multi-tasking. I was happy to leave the “big picture” of the world behind and focus on the joy of each moment. Nice, nice change!

On a sunny warm day in Rome, after finding a convenient BNL bank directly across from my B&B to withdraw funds in Euros (I had locked in my exchange rate with my bank before leaving the Approaching St Peters on tourbusU.S.), I headed to the nearby subway station without my backpack and only a bag over my shoulder. I’d had the mistaken notion that I could get by with ONLY a backpack on my trip, but the physical feat of reaching around to retrieve money, passport, and so on from my backpack plus the burden of carrying it everywhere had changed my mind. In Madrid, between trains, I’d bought a well-designed Samsonite purse and found it a god-send for the remainder of the trip. Incidentally, I’d also bought a padded hip belt ahead of time and used it throughout my trip. Glad I did—it helped distribute the weight and relieved my sensitive neck and upper back.

The Corte de CassazioneI arrived in Rome’s main station mid-morning and exited to a large square. Saw tons of tour buses nearby and within ten minutes was ensconced in the upper deck, about to take off to see the cultural treasures Rome has to offer—at least viewing them, although not touring within them. Cost? Just 18 Euros, a bargain. I had only one day on my itinerary to see this most ancient of cities and figured a bus tour was the best choice. Was not disappointed; on the two-hour tour with an excellent running commentary by a guide, I saw so many major archaeological attractions including the The Tiber RiverColiseum, the site of the Circus Maximus, and St. Peter’s. After returning to the boarding site, I stayed on board and did it all again; my ticket was good for about eight hours and I could jump on and off any one of the buses of that line. The second time around, I got off at St. Peter’s. This was one major site I had not made prior arrangements to see, and seeing a line of perhaps a thousand people, determined I wasn’t going to see. I heard comments from a couple of other English-speaking tourists that they had been rushed through St. Caste Sant Angelo Castle of the Holy AngelPeter’s by staff – not their best experience. But in spite of missing the Sistine Chapel and the great interior works of art and worship, I enjoyed the exterior. I walked through the surrounding area and loved the ambience of the city.

Returning to my B&B, I slept comfortably and left the next morning for Venice. Once again, delightful company; spoke at length with a beautiful native of Tonga, her Italian husband and C on bridge in Venice iEyeNewstheir child. One of my intentions on my jaunt through Europe was to sketch; I really would like to have drawn this woman with such striking features, but found on every portion of my trip that using pencils, pens, and watercolor (a Winsor-Newton compact kit I could wear around my waist when I wished) was not satisfactory when being shaken continuously.

I stored my backpack in a locker for 6 Euros at the Venice Trenitalia train station. Gondolas of Venice seen from a BridgeNeat station! It is located right on the main canal. Once again, the weather was superb. I bought an 18 Euro ticket for a 12-hour boat trip—not a gondola. Traveling by myself, I could forego that more romantic trip by gondola through the canals of Venice. The boat circumnavigated the islands of Venice and bisected the main one. At one point by St. Mark’s square, I got off and spent hours walking through narrow alleyways, crossing many bridges, occasionally dropping into shops, and like Happy Tourists in VeniceRome, taking lots of photos. I had an excellent lunch with an attentive young waiter who started affectionately calling me “Mama”.

About 5:00 p.m., I left Venice behind and boarded the train for San Stevino di Livenza about 30 miles away and the first meeting with my warm and wonderful hosts, Gianluca and his lovely wife Valentina. He is a Captain in Gianluca and Valentinas super Italian kitchenthe Italian Army and a Ph.D. candidate. Oh, and must include their two affectionate Bernaise sheepdogs, Ettore and Chanel! Valentina had prepared an excellent Italian meal featuring succulent baby clams and pasta. The wine of that area is the well-known Prosecco. I had three glasses; two of the sparkling variety and one of the so-called flat. I greatly admired modern Italian design, which was evident throughout their home, particularly in the kitchen. After several delightful hours exchanging views on Italian politics and culture vs American, I The Bridge of Sighsretired and slept very well.

The next morning, I fixed a typical American breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast that Gianluca had never experienced. Valentina left earlier by bicycle for her job nearby. Once again, I saw many High Waters around VeniceEuropeans traveling by bicycle and many by motorbike. I’m sure this must contribute to their generally fit appearance.

Gianluca walked me to the station about 100 yards away and I returned to Venice. While in the station there, I checked on the train I was scheduled to take at 1:30 in the A View from a Bridgemorning of the next day—only to learn that there would be a 24-hour Trenitalia strike that night at 9:00 p.m. If I was going to make it to Vienna and not be stuck on the tracks—really!—then the latest I could leave was 4:00 p.m.

I was very frustrated; if I changed plans and stayed an extra day in San Stevino di Livenza, it would disrupt the plans I’d made for Vienna and have a domino effect for the rest of the trip. I decided to leave at 4:00 with great In St Marks Squarereluctance, missing plans Gianluca had made to join members of his family and friends at a seaside restaurant for the evening. Meanwhile, I’d left my backpack at their home and would have to travel back to my hosts and pick it up about 2:30 in order to get back to Venice, board the train at 4:00, and head for Vienna. I followed through with that abrupt change of plans, leaving my gracious hosts and family behind.

I enjoyed my truncated two days in Venice; I found I preferred it over Rome (which had the dirtiest, most graffiti-written subways I’ve ever seen). Venice is a living museum, with its population living in it, not simply around it as I would characterize Rome.



IMAGES: (Carol-Ann Rudy)

Approaching St Peters on tour bus

The Corte de Cassazione

The Tiber River

Castel Sant Angelo the Castle of the Holy Angel

Caro-Ann on bridge in Venice

Gondolas of Venice seen from a Bridge

Happy Tourists in Venice

Gianluca and Valentinas super Italian kitchen

The Bridge of Sighs

High Waters around Venice.

A View from a Bridge

In St Marks Square

NEXT: On to Vienna, Zurich, and Antwerp

To read the first part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the globe with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on August 11 2014 go to:

To read the second part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the globe with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on August 18 2014 go to:

To read the third part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the globe with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on August 26 2014 go to:

To read the fourth part of Carol-Ann’s story of how she covers the globe with only a backpack published in iNews Cayman on September 8 2014 go to:


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  1. Carol- Ann,
    I am truly enjoying this tour Europe through your eyes. Great photos and travel log.

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