During my solo travels, the only one I could rely on (besides myself) is God. He is always bombarded with my prayers when I’m alone. 🙂 So it was no different when my flight was scheduled to land in Venice at 11:30pm my pick up to Slovenia was at 4:05am. That left me a total of about 4.5 hours to find a lodging to rest at before making my way to Piazzale Roma for my pick up.
And here the story goes. The below was written for my personal (and private) blog. Edits were made for this blog post.
When I booked my pick up from Venice to Slovenia, I booked a bigger window period so that I could save money. I don’t know if it was a good decision or not. Anyway, I figured that if my pickup was at 6+am, I could catch the water taxi from my hostel to the pick up point of Piazzale Roma. But an email came yesterday to say that my pick up would be at 4:05am. Panic mode. There was no way I could leave the hostel in time and have a water taxi take me to the pick up point. On top of that, my flight to Venice lands at 11:30pm. The last ATVO bus from the airport to Piazzale Roma is at 12:20am. So say the immigration queue is long or baggage claim takes a long time, I just might miss the bus. All the different senerios were playing out in my mind.
There was only one hostel that replied to my plea for a stay – not even a booked room. Just somewhere to sit until I was ready to leave for my pick up. So I Googled the location, took snapshots of it and prayed. I really prayed hard.
The screenshot which I took (yes, I keep all my screenshots)
When my flight landed, I was quick to grab my carry on bags and go. I needed to find my way to the ATVO. If I was quick enough, I could catch the 11:55pm bus instead. Near the bag claim area, I saw the ATVO machine. I needed to buy my tickets. But I had no idea if it was the correct place to do so. And there was another lady there too. So I asked her. Turns out, she didn’t know as well. Her name was Noel from San Diego. She had the exact same timetable for the ATVO memorized. We decided to just buy the tickets. Since we were both heading to Piazzale Roma and had a time crunch, we decided to stick together. Her bag came first, she grabbed it. My bag came soon after and then we headed off. Since we had a few minutes till the next bus departure at 11:55pm, we decided to make a dash for it. She pulling her wheeled luggage and me carrying my 75L backpack on one shoulder and the 28L (if I remember the capacity correctly) on the other. With my sling bag. And I ran. Literally. We made it just in time!
The journey took 15mins. Then we got off. Now, my next hurdle. Finding the hostel.
From Google maps, it said it was a 9 minute walk away. I didn’t have data connection so I just used the offline maps to navigate. Then my Guardian Angel from heaven stepped in. It was quite dark although there were some people still walking around. I had my phone in one hand and my personal alarm + tactical torch in the other. I had my backpack behind me and my day pack in front of me. And my jacket on – though it was quite warm (compared to Iceland). I would walk and look back once in a while to see if there was anyone following me. Better safe than sorry. I stopped at one bridge to check out the location. Next thing you know, a middle aged lady (in her 50’s) appeared behind me. She asked me where I was headed. I told her that I was heading towards Backpackers Hostel at Campo Santa Margherita. She said she lived around that area – just follow her. I hesitated for a short while before I went with my gut instinct and followed her. I did wonder if she was some part of a gang and if she would lead me to them. I think too much. So we headed off – over numerous bridges and dark streets. She told me that she was on her way back home after work and that she’s a native Venetian. I didn’t think too much about her ability to speak English until I went to Slovenia and numerous people told me that of all the Europeans, the Italians are the worst English speakers. What were the odds of bumping into a Italian who spoke excellent English?
A dark street I had to walk pass. I took this picture at 3+am on the way to my pick up point.
The address I had wasn’t exactly complete so she needed more info. She whipped out her phone to help me check the exact location. But it escaped her as well. And at 1am there were huge (drunk-ish) groups of people hanging around Santa Margherita – loud groups. She asked me to follow her into a bar where she asked the bartender where the hostel was. He was so kind to come out and lead us to the hostel – just a few steps away. The hostel looked a little shady from the outside – no sign, just a little paper that said ‘Press bell for reception’. We pressed it. Twice.
The lock opened and we went in. I saw a Indian-ish looking man coming down the stairs. After Guardian Angel asked if it was the hostel and him saying yes, she left. My Venetian Angel.
My early morning GoOpti pickup