Today was a travel day for everyone. First to leave, shortly after breakfast, was Lucille. After goodbye hugs, she was off to the airport to catch her flight to eventually get to Tanzania and a week of safaris – on her own again after a month with our company. Alan, JoAnn and I caught the GoOpti bus at 10 a.m., which I had booked months before, to take us to Venice. Chris had a few more hours to go before his ride to the airport and his flight to back to Edmonton. I chose the flight home from Venice because it was cheaper booking a return flight from the same city, even including the cost of GoOpti and a hotel room for the night.
The 8-passenger bus trip was comfortable and fairly quick. We stopped after 2 hours at a truck stop for a wc break and snack, then drove another 1.5 hours to Marco Polo airport outside Venice. We had booked rooms at the Gronda Lagunare hotel in Tessera, a small town about 5 minutes from the airport, because it was way cheaper than staying in Venice and handy to the airport. We caught a cab from the airport, not expecting the driver to be too excited taking us the short distance, but he was ok with that. The rooms in the small 5-room hotel were not ready for us when we arrived so we dropped our bags in the rooms, while the staff made them up, and went for a walk. There is not much to Tessera and we ended up having a nice walk along farm roads then relaxing at the café beside the hotel. At one point we spied 2 women with luggage getting off a bus at a stop near the hotel. We wanted to find out how much the bus fare would be to the airport for tomorrow (the tobacco shop that sold tickets was not open) so we stopped the women. “Do you speak English?” JoAnn asked. The answer was yes and we chatted for a while, finding out that a single bus fare to the airport was €8! They were looking for a hotel that we had noticed just a few blocks away so we gave them directions. Eventually, we asked where they were from. “Oh, Edmonton, Alberta” and “Grande Prairie” were the answers. The world is certainly a small place. We had a nice supper at a nearby restaurant and turned in for the night. Even though the hotel was on the main road from Venice to the airport, it was a quiet night with little traffic noise.
The next morning we went for a walk again, stopping in at a wine shop (a bottle of 1965 Amerone for only €365 – we didn’t get it) and a grocery store. We all bought a wedge of Grana Padano at the grocery to take home.
The hotel manager called a cab for us. We could easily have walked the distance to the airport with our bags but the only road had no sidewalks and it was too busy to walk beside the traffic. We caught a Lufthansa flight from Venice to Frankfurt, had a 2-hour layover, then off to Toronto on Air Canada. The AC flight was far more comfortable than the AC Rouge flight on the way over! After another short layover in Toronto, where we were all questioned by customs for checking off cheese on our declaration cards (it was no problem), we finally caught our final flight to Edmonton. We arrived just after 1 a.m., though our bodies considered it to be 7 hours later. I drove JoAnn to her son’s place to pick up her car, then drove Al home. A long day, but it was good to be home after a very fun 28 days away.