Saturday, June 09, 2007

The major schlep from Venice to Lyon

Today I traveled from Venice all the way to Lyon in France to meet up with my buddy Matt Lausch and hang out at my friend Morgan's house (he's also from Waterloo VOC) here in Lyon before heading to Annecy for the Annecy International Animation Festival.

It was crazy today for about 20 reasons. Ok maybe a few less. But I better list them to be safe.

1) The bus driver from Fusina Campsite back to Venice Mestre station said the tickets were "Closed" and we didn't need to worry about getting a ticket. Then the ticket checking guards came on just before we got off the bus and demanded our tickets, which the bus driver wouldn't sell to us. After some commotion they just charged us the price of the ticket and not the fine. Although the said it was "our problem" and we should "make sure we have tickets"... I guess even if the bus driver won't dell them to us we need to demand them. Crazy.

2) Then I sweated for an hour while eating breakfast and guarding my stuff in the train station.

3) So it was a bit strange that no trains were leaving or entering the station. Turns out there was a huge protest and people were lying down on the tracks and not moving as a protest for President Bush being in Rome today. I have no idea why blocking trains out of and into Venice Mestre is related to protesting Bush being in Rome, but anyway. That was brutal cause there were a bazillion people at the train station. At 11:30 some of the 8:45am trains still hadn't left yet!

4) I had to transfer at Milano Centrale to another train (of which there is only 1 per day) to Lyon. I had a very small window as it was to catch the transfer train in Milan and the potential for a 3.5 hour late train was not good.

5) After lots of running around the station in Venice with all my stuff, eventually I got onto the 11:30am Milano Centrale train which left at 12:30. If it was on time I'd still have about 45 min to transfer in Milan.

6) Of course the train was running late as it was the only Milano Centrale train that ran that day since the tracks had been blocked off. So it was very full and lots of people were getting on at each station. Thus, it got to Milano Centrale with a grand total of about 12 minutes for me to run off the train, find the platform for my transfer train, validate my ticket in the machine, and run onto the next train. No time for food, just for running.

7) I got to the train. Got on, and it was 4:04pm (train left at 4:10pm) Sweet.

8) Then I realized the dude beside me had a ticket that said "Paris Gare de Lyon".... i.e. the "Lyon" station... in PARIS. Ahh!! After a small but moderately sized freak out I realized that the train ALSO stoped in the town of Lyon, so nothing to worry about.

9) Then I bought a ton of food on the train and that ROCKED.

10) After lots of reading and music listening and chatting to people, we got into France and a ton of undercover cops came on the train and started tearing bags apart and demanding to see pasports and stuff. They were nuts. Aparantely this is super crazy and sometimes they don't even bother checking tickets let alone passports and stuff on the train. Seems like there might have been someone on board the train trying to illegally immigrate to France from who knows where.

11) After the crazy undercover police searched a bunch of stuff and got everybody worked up, they found the illegal immigrant dude.

12) They arrested the illegal immigrant dude.

13) I got off finally at Lyon Saint Exupery TGV Train Station... waaaaay outside of Lyon.

14) 1 more hour on the bus to get to Lyon Perrache near Morgan's house.

15) I saw Matt Lausch with his backpack on the tram as my bus was pulling in. Fantastic!!

So yeah.... maybe only 15 reasons why today was nuts, but MAN, it was NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yes 1 more...

16. I just watched the sun rise, it's 5:39am, and I am now caught up on the blogging. Morgan is the man for hooking us up with free internet. AWESOME!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow (well in like 3 hours), hit up Lyon and then off to Annecy!!

Lines at the train station

Sweeeet view through the Alps

Awesome mountains

Matt and Morgan!!

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