up very early to catch the vaporetto to the station, it’s very quiet. though the skies are grey, there is a bit of blue above one of the islands which makes for a great picture with a church and other buildings highlighted by the brightness. the vaporetto goes to several stops, including some unscheduled ones through the working area of venice where supplies arrive by train or truck for redistribution through the islands. it is very much alive with men loading long barge like boats with every conceivable commodity from the morning papers to bags of flour and bottled water.
at the station we encounter what we hope will be our last set of stairs in a public system. it is absurd that there is no ramp, elevator or other means of getting your bags into the station, italy has been the worst for this, however paris comes a close second for dealing with tourists hauling bagage, or worse yet anyone with a severe mobility problem.
we’d hoped to have breakfast at the station but with the extra stops we have less time than expected, and any hope for a sit down breakfast is dashed by discovering only stand up coffee bars with no take-out. we settle for a machine dispensed espresso and a hot chocolate. all aboard and we’re off to milan.
we’re supposed to have an hour plus in milan and look forward to breakfast again as nothing was available on the train. no such luck, another stand-up coffee bar. i find a sandwich shop and buy two egg and cheese sandwiches, bottles of fanta and chocolate cookies….yum.
ok, italy is one big bad joke (or so it feels right now) as we’re standing on the platform in milan with a hundred or so others all wondering which platform the train will actually come in on. the schedule sez 7, however the board and platform signs offer nothing to confirm this. in fact, all other trains and platforms are up but not ours. even the people working on the train have no clue as to where to go!
the train is officially late as they put a 10 minute rettardo sign up. after another 20 minutes of waiting we’re advised the platform has changed to 4. we move en masse hoping an actual train will show up. it does, with the usual scramble to find luggage storage, seats and elbow our way down the aisles to our seats. 30 minutes late we head off for the alps (not that we’ll see anything as it has been raining since we left venice and there is no sign of the skies clearing.)
we must be getting near to switzerland as things are looking more prim. the clouds have lifted a bit and we get glimpses of lakes and treed hills. it quite picturesque as many of the islands in the lakes have old buildings and churches on them.
hello switzerland. bern is very cold, happily our hotel is just across the street from the station.