Monday, 17 October 2016

Letter from Venice (15) 17-10-16

In the afternoon I decide to reconnoitre the Railway Station as I want to make some visits to a few of the mainland towns near Venice. I head for the church of San Stae first which I had visited a few days ago but been unable to enter as it is only open in the afternoons. This time it is locked because it is closed on Mondays. I step back to the edge of the Grand Canal to view the massy, Palladian style fa├žade. Huge statues give the appearance of busily and vertiginously struggling to escape. There is a boat station in front of the church so I hop on the number 1 and hop off two steps later at Ferrovia on the other side of the Canal.

I pause for a moment to take in the low flat building and the steps in front of it. The letters FS are set in a flying modernist logo on the frontage above the entrance hall. I mount the steps and penetrate the station. Passing through one row of boutiques I immediately emerge at the buffers where I am confronted by the wedged leading edges of four Frecciarossa high speed trains. The romance of travel hits me amongst the hubbub and bustle of this famous station. I look up the times for regional trains to Vicenza and Treviso and head for the Biglietteria to find out about prices. After a while in a ticketed queuing system I speak to a female Trenitalia employee who tells me I can do the 45 minute round trip to Treviso for a mere 6 Euros 70. For the trip to Vicenza it’s only 12 Euros. I am delighted and begin to plan a lot of other trips.

I emerge from the station and descend the steps to the 5.2 boat station. It is 20 minutes till the next boat so I sit on the station steps with many others, light a cigar and watch the porters, pedestrians and boats crossing and re-crossing in front of me. Behind me I hear the tanoy chatter the names – ‘Modena, Bologna, Bassano, Trieste, Vicenza, Treviso, Milano, Verona.’ In a pleasing nicotine haze I board the 5.2 and sit in the front cabin. Occupying the two forward lateral seats are a youngish couple. Unshaven, in his red leather jacket and baggy jeans the diminutive man, his sunglasses on his head, looks like a minor criminal. His girlfriend, in a buttoned up coat, sits upright with her hands on his knees as he peers into his phone. On the way home the couple stare into each other’s eyes and pass each other grapes while the woman toys with a garish, bronze-coloured handbag.

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