My train to Venice was an overnight one. This was my first overnight train. It was pretty cool, you're assigned a bed instead of a seat. Each room has 6 beds and all the rooms that I saw were packed. Except mine. I only had 2 other people in my room. A couple. They were French, and lived in Nice. He didn’t speak any English, and she spoke about as much English as I did French. This pretty much made communication about zero. We exchanged pleasantries, and asked each other where we lived, but beyond that, I couldn’t do much else. These two people, I have to believe, were gold medallists on the Olympic kissing team. I mean, my lips hurt, just listening to these two. They didn’t do anything other than kiss the whole trip (as far as I know), but they just didn’t stop. And it was all these little smacky pecks that made a lot of noise. They did it as we were loading up luggage in the room, they did it as I fell asleep, and were doing it every time I woke up. It defied belief, or I wouldn’t be taking the time to write about it now. If you meet these people, you'll know. You can then say "Hey, you shared a train with a guy by the name of Rick, didn’t you?". Anyway…….

Venice was my most favorite city to visit. There are no cars, no mopeds. Just little walking paths and canals, and most are narrow (the paths and the canals). Some paths go through tunnels, and you have no idea where they're leading. I got lost a few times, and tried to find my way around, but after a while, I was getting lost on purpose, just because it was so fun. I really fell in love with Venice, and with Italy in general.

When I was in Barcelona, I had decided my new years resolution was going to be to learn a new language. I had taken French in college, but there's a difference in taking it because it fills a liberal arts requirement, and taking it because you want to return somewhere to speak with people. Or to be able to speak with people that visit from other lands. I had thought I'd take French, but then since I already had the background, was considering Spanish. After hearing the Italians speak, it became clear that this was becoming my favorite choice. It's such a beautiful language.

In Venice, there's not much to do, except admire the way the city is set up. As awesome as this is, you exhaust the thrill fairly quickly. And I'm almost embarrassed to say that by this time, going in to cathedrals was getting to be routine. I'd go in to some of the most magnificent buildings in the world, and be only moderately impressed. I still went in most of them, as they were all still unique. After visiting the cathedral, I moved on to the large plaza, which also had a cathedral. In this plaza though, there were thousands of pigeons. You could buy seeds and feed them, but when you put the seeds in your hands to throw it, the birds would land on you and take the seeds right out of your hands. This amused me silly (please click on this picture to the left). I went through a whole bag, and then bought another. One of the neatest things, was that one pigeon always seemed to land on my head. I don’t know if it was my wool cap, or what, but they never wanted to get off. I could walk for as long as I wanted (well outside the plaza) and the bird really wouldn’t leave my head until I 'shooed' him away. This was rather shocking to those outside of the plaza that didn’t realize that just 20 feet away were hundreds of these birds that would sit on anyone's head. I just let them think I was some mystical bird trainer or something.

There was a large bell tower in that plaza which you could not climb, but you could take an elevator to the top, and the view was incredible.

As much as I loved Venice, I headed for Florence that afternoon…..