Wednesday, July 29, 2015

From Visiting To Visitors

The last day of any cruise is always a bit of bedlam. Assuming you are all packed and ready to go, there is nothing much to do but eat more food then sit in your room with your bags until you are allowed to leave the ship. You are supposed to leave any large bags in the hall the night before, so with any luck you haven't left something crucial for the morning's pampering, which is just about the main event until port. We ended up choosing the last exit time, since our flights and plans weren't massively early in the morning. It ended up still being a bit of a rush once off the ship, though, simply because so very many people were waiting to take public transport and flee Venice for the airport. Dancer Friend had made plans to stay in Venice for a few days as tourist and my flight wasn't until the evening, so we put all of our efforts into getting the two U.S.-bound ladies safely en route. With just a moment or two of anxiety, we got them safely on a bus and shed our nostalgic tears goodbye. It was insane to think that the week of cruising and island hopping had at long last come to an end.

While the U.S. gals began their trip back home, Dancer Friend and I headed to Venice proper, were we were going to eventually meet up with the acquaintance who had hooked us up with a gondola ride the week before. It was so terribly hot with nowhere to escape and since our rendezvous time got pushed back several hours, we basically camped out at a cafe, randomly ordering more food and drink to entertain ourselves. When we finally met up with our guide, we all went to drop Dancer Friend's bags at the apartment and regroup. Unfortunately it didn't make sense to leave my suitcases behind, so we had to take them with us for our last few hours of wandering. Thank goodness I had already seen Venice before or I would have been slightly disappointed by how incredibly exhausted I was. Still, it was great to be out and about and spend a few more precious hours on vaca. Not to mention that the one photo I took all day long was of me and a Unicorn. Perfection.

At long last, it was time to head to the airport where I could at least sit with my book for a few hours before takeoff. The combination of dehydration, the sun, exhaustion and end of holiday blues tragically created a bit of an anxiety cocktail that caused my flight home to be less than pleasant. I seriously almost asked the flight attendant for some vodka. In addition, I booked a super shuttle because I wanted a quick way of being escorted home at such a late hour. The gods of travel seemed to be against me, though, and it took several minutes of waiting for the driver then waiting for other passengers followed by various false starts before we actually got on the road. When I eventually made it to my tiny little apartment up 6 flights of Parisian stairs, I practically collapsed on my bed without a second thought.

This was of course, not the end to my adventures by any stretch. A very good friend of mine from college and NYC and studying abroad was in London for work while I was in Greece. While I love her to death, she has a tendency to make plans a bit spontaneously, so it was only a week or two before my cruise that I discovered she did in fact want to hop over to Paris before heading home to the States. I had to subtly not so subtly insist that she avoid taking the Eurostar TOO early the next day, as I was pretty sure to be mostly comatose. I woke up on Sunday morning feeling supremely jetlagged even though there is no time difference between Paris and Venice. My morning goal was to get to the grocery store so I had some sort of food on hand since I had approximately zero inclination to do anything but veg all day. After a quick trip to Gare du Nord, I escorted my dear friend back to my sweet abode, where we were able to girl gab and catch up and all the rest before yet another escapade the following morn.

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