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The road to Venice
The cheapest train heading to Venice leaves at 6:50 AM. I got this info from a spanish guy working at the hostel. A spanish guy who could easily pass as an Italian given how he perfectly spoke the language. Waking up that early while on vacation is something no one did. Not even me. But since I've been living off my savings for almost a year, it was wise to allow this tiny bit of discomfort in an effort to save 20 euros, the additional charge on every following train. I often reflect on my working days where I gave no consideration to how high-priced anything I wanted was. If I wanted it, I had it. That simple. But that was then, this is now.
Down in the lobby nobody was up yet, except for the receptionist who was in the kitchen helping make breakfast for hordes of possibly very hungry guests after a night of partying. It was decent of him to go quickly through the check-out process when he knew I had a train to catch. He was also very kind to pack me a little something as breakfast for the road and to wish me a "Buon viaggio".
It was still dark outside, with no sign of a nearing morning. The few sleepy shadows roaming the streets at that time all eyed that dude with a full backpack on his shoulders rushing to God knows where. But I wasn't about to indulge myself in the relaxed lifestyle of this beautiful lakeside italian town with only 15 minutes on the clock till departure.
The train station looked nothing like the streets leading to it; it was as full as a stadium during a world cup final. I had decided against booking a ticket online because I wasn't sure I'd get up that early to catch the train. So that left me in front of ticket machine 8 minutes before the scheduled train arrival. Some argue that the railway ticket machines in Germany are the most complicated in the world. I say the italian ones are a worthy competitor, but I'll spare you the details.
Peschiera del Garda has a small train station, not one of those where you could be a half an hour early but still miss the train because of going around in circles trying to find the right platform. I took a quick look at the morning beings waiting for the same train. Only the Italians can pull off being that elegantly dressed before 7 in the morning. You gotta hand it to them. But none of their eyes carried the same excitement as mine did. They were probably off to work or school or whatever. But yours truly was less than three hours away from one of the most beautiful cities on earth. I was going on an adventure.
On the train I saw the classiest conductor ever. He looked like a 70s movie character that was brought into real life just for the purpose of this voyage. With a signature black railway costume and a white moustache on a thin serious face, he approached one of the passengers and the two engaged in a conversation. Using what little italian I had learned before I set on my trip to Italy, I understood that the gentleman wanted to change the destination on his ticket. Minutes later the conductor came back carrying a fancy suitcase-like device where the passenger typed his info and introduced a credit card for the payment. It all looked to me like they were shooting a mission impossible movie without us, the real passenger, knowing it.
At this moment tiredness won over excitement and I fell asleep. I would occasionally open my eyes with the change of motion of the train, when it slowed down to enter a station. Also the rays of light were finally spreading through the morning sky. This kept on for a couple of stations until one time I opened my eyes to find the train making its way forward not on ground, but on water, left and right there was nothing but water. I could see boats all around and they seemed in a race with the train that uninvitedly invaded their territory. The view from the windows on both sides was reminiscing of sunny days of sailing across the sea during school vacation in my childhood. This surreal moment ushered in a new day and a new city. We had arrived in Venice poofy style dresses for prom party