In the morning, I pushed us to venture out into the rain for some last-minute souvenirs. I pondered a cuckoo clock, hand-carved with wood from the black forest, but at several hundred Euros decided against it. Instead, we got a giant, classic beer stein with the words Oktoberfest and 2018 and depicting a man guzzling beer straight from the keg. It seemed appropriate.
We were warm and dry and safe in the train. The rain outside shrouded the alps in mist, dramatizing the mountains spiking up over scattered villages below. We moved from rolling hills with cows in Germany to steep mountains with pockets of terraced agriculture in Austria to oddly flat valleys filled with grapevines flanked by tall walls of mountains in Italy.
In Germany and Austria, every train station had free wifi. So as we pulled up at beautiful, picturesque stops, I’d quickly pull out my phone and google pictures and maps of where we were, trying desperately to hold onto odd names for potential future adventures – Innsbruck, Brenner, Borghetto…but I still can’t find all the names and pictures to match the breathtaking castle ruins perched atop hills or the breezy waterfalls dropping toward picturesque villages nestled into valley crevices.
As we moved further south, rail station signs shifted from German and English to Italian and German to finally Italian and English.
When we arrived in Venice it was already dark and the rain had gotten worse. We caught a vaporetto (water bus) toward our stop at San Basilio in the south west corner of the island. We found our AirBnb relatively easily – a gate on one of the dizzying side streets that led to a courtyard filled with laundry hung to dry but now getting soaked which then led to the door of our temporary little corner of the world. – and then
We dashed out into the rain again for the simplest and warmest thing we could think of: Italian Pizza. Google led us to a little hole in the wall near the university and with good reviews but with the odd name of gecko. We took it to go, ran back over bridges and through a maze of alleyways in the rain, and had dinner in bed for the second night in a row. It was cheesy and delicious.