Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Life in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy

Today working I heard our bartender talking to one of the owner of the hotel, and I recognized my name even though they were talking at our hotel’s bar, which is close to the reception but not attached. When I asked them about what they were talking about, they told me that a boy had left a note at the bar. Hehe, I had to laugh when I read the note. I have met this guy twice, he’s been to the bar here in the hotel because he knows the girls that work in the bar.

Anyway, in the note he asked me to have a cup of coffee with me. Cute thought, but the ironic part was that he didn’t have the balls to ask me in person but he had to do it through the bartender, so obviously the whole staff knew about it. Funnily enough when he returned in the afternoon, the owner of the hotel shouted to him like if he were my father, so I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. It was a funny scene with the owner shouting and defending me saying that the boy should not come to the hotel to disturb me. Crazy as it might sound, it made me feel good. It was nice to see that both the bartender and the owner were fighting for my honor. In some way, I must be a part of the staff in their minds and that’s nice. I finally play a role in this craziness called a hotel.

I also managed to ask my boss about dinner. Until now it has been quite unclear where I’m supposed to have it since I work at one hotel, but live in another. The rest of the staff living where I do, work in this hotel, so I have been kind of out of place. But today I got it cleared up. Most of the staff is really nice, and today I had my first meal with the staff of Hotel Alisei.

I have to mention that we’ve had the cutest Russian couple at the hotel for about a week. I have been happy to help them since I can talk with them in English, which is rare here since 99,99% of the conversation here is in Italian. This is a fact that strengthens your Italian very fast, but also makes it almost impossible for you to practice and use your other languages. For me, since I use on a daily basis four languages in Finland, this is demanding. But I have improved so much Italian in the two and a half weeks I’ve been here, that it makes sense to endure it. Can you believe that if you call or write an Italian hotel, I might answer you? For me, this is incredible!

Anyway, I was saying that I found this couple very nice, and especially their young baby boy. Today I gave a Moomin figure to the boy. In a sneaky way, I am marketing and promoting Finland without people even knowing it. Unfortunately the wife doesn’t speak anything else than Russian so I couldn’t ask her if she recognizes the character but maybe one day she will. That is all that matters. Besides that, working in a hotel, is all about the guests. I might be in another country with other customs, but I will always remain myself and treat the people and the hotel guests in my special way. I don’t like to build up hierarchical boundaries of what one can do and not. Fortunately this is a cozy, family owned hotel, so they accept my way of acting.

I’m excited about tomorrow since a big quantity of guests will arrive to celebrate the short holiday that starts in honor of the first of May. Let’s hope for sunny weather. Happy Vappu/vappen to all Finns, I wish I could be there with you! Celebrate for my sake too, and remember to celebrate safe. In Finland, there are crazy people on the streets. Take care of each other! I want you unharmed when I come back! Mi raccomando (which means something like “I’m telling you”)!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A weekend get away

On Thursday afternoon I was picked up by my friend F, and my short break from work began. I had asked my boss for an unusual couple of free days, during the weekend that is. Unusual since here they are the busiest. But because I let her know in advance and it was F’s birthday, she gave me the permission to do so. So we left Lignano and drove to Brescia. I got to see F’s place in Erbrusco. It’s nice, cozy and perfect for one person. F lives in an area where a lot of wine is produced and it’s surrounded by vineyards, such nice scenery. There are also a lot of hills around, covered with trees and forest, almost jungle like. He lives in a apartment building even though it consisted of only two floors. The neighbors were cute, all greeting and chatting with each other every time they met. I think in that neighborhood no secrets exist since everybody lives so close to one another and apparently follow each other’s lives.

We stopped by Bergamo Thursday evening too, because I had been telling F all about my need to visit H&M. My boss didn’t tell me before I arrived that I would have to have a white collar shirt with me, so I have been wearing a let’s say alternative t-shirts under my work outfit. Until now I have also been suffering of chilliness, since it has been raining a lot here lately which the locals say is normal for spring. What I hear, it’s raining all over Italy. But for a receptionist sitting all the time, with the hotel bar doors always open, it’s not good. I wanted a pair of dark blue pants too so I wouldn’t have to always wear my skirt. Don’t get me wrong, I love skirts and everybody that knows me know that I live for wearing skirts but I don’t want to catch a cold here, so I definitely was desperately looking for a pair of pants. And since H&M is like my second home, I always find what I need there, I was extremely happy to enter the doors of the store to find everything I needed. Once again, I owe my life to H&M, hehe.

We went for a late dinner in Erbrusco to a local pizzeria. I got to taste some local specialties too, like an ice cream peanut cake and pannacotta with strawberry sauce. Delicious. Erbrusco is a cute little village with typical Italian narrow roads and a beautiful church. Interesting enough, you can find a nice gate there made by a well known artist who makes usually sculptures.



Friday morning we decided to go to Brescia. I got the best city guided tour possible from my friend who took me through the historical center with its castle from which you can see the city panorama as well as to newer sights like the city hall, and the down town district. It was wonderful to find myself again in a city full of life, with tons of Italians. Such a difference compared to small Lignano where the high season for tourism is yet to begin.



We had lunch at F’s place and then decided to take the first step in order to realize my thesis. I had now finished writing my theoretical part, at least most of it, and therefore completed the questionnaire I wanted to be filled in as a part of my research. F took me to a place where they print things and make photocopies, so I left with 100 copies of my questionnaire. A truly great feeling, even though it only meant the beginning of my research. Right then and there, I also got my first respondent, the man who made the copies was kind enough to answer my questions.

Later on, me and F went to another shopping center. We spent the afternoon just enjoying each other’s company, having coffee and ice cream. We tried to eat sushi for dinner, but arrived too late since I fell asleep for an hour after our afternoon shopping. By now, I have got used to drinking at least four coffees a day, so it doesn’t help me to stay awake. Instead we went for dinner to lake Iseo, a nice area only 10 mintues away from F’s place by car. I had a great pizza with gorgonzola and asparagus.




Later we went to a near by town to a restaurant/bar called 030. One of F’s friends was working there as a deejay. The place was great. House music, dancers etc. It was basically built up so that the bar was in the center and everybody was standing around the bar. The bartenders were also entertainers, speaking on the microphone every now and again. The cocktails were strong and the music was loud. Loved. it. A cocktail there costed about 5-6 euros, not even that much. I must add though that I hate the Italian way of ordering in bars. You always have to queue first in order to pay at a cashier, and then you queue again at the bar to get the cocktail you want in exchange for your receipt. At around one thirty we headed home and watched F’s favorite movie, an Italian gangster movie called “Romanzo criminale”. Great movie. We both fell asleep on F’s couch, it was quite cute actually. At six o’clock when the movie ended, I finally managed to drag myself to F’s bed.



With only four hours of sleep, we woke up at ten and went again to lake Iseo. This time for lunch. The area was beautiful. It reminded me of lake Como, which F corrected me in saying that if I would say that out loud to a local, he/she would probably kill me. So even though the lake might have seemed like lake Como to a foreigner, for the locals, it’s something completely different. The lake is surrounded by green hills but also mountains with snow. There are several small villages surrounding it, I liked that. It was a hot day, at least 25 degrees so I was wearing only a top. What a great feeling! I had the privilege of going to a local seafood restaurant with F. I got to taste the most amazing food, for sure the best I’ve had since I arrived. Despite the fact that foreigners seem to believe that Italy is only the home country of pasta and pizza, there is a wide range of other typical food here. I ate as a first dish pasta leaves, similar to lasagna leaves, with a mix of crayfish and shrimp inside. It was soooooo good. My second dish was a local specialty, a fish called tinca. It is a very greasy fish, so it is perfect winter time when it’s cold outside. Even now it was wonderful. They had prepared the fish in the oven putting bread crumbs on top of it. It was accompanied by polenta, the North’s similarity to pasta, made out of corn flour, something that reminds me of cuscus. I really liked everything I ate at the restaurant, and of course the sparkling wine that followed. A divine meal, if you ask me.



After enjoying our time at the lake, it was time to start to head back to Lignano. The car drive took about three hours, of which I slept one in the car. F must think I’m very strange since I seem sleepy all the time. But I have noticed that for me it’s normal in Italy. Here I’m always more tired since the surroundings are more demanding for me with the foreign language and unpredictable circumstances.

Once we got back to Lignano, the city was packed. I was surprised to find life here. But the 25th a local party, the flower market called Fiori a Lignano started so it brought a lot of people here. Apparently all weekends are going to be like that. My colleagues have especially warned me about next weekend, starting on Thursday because then it’s a holiday in Italy like in other countries, but here it is preferred to be spent on the beach if the weather allows it. The first of May is celebrated in a simple way; it’s merely a day for workers when many demonstrations are held in the big cities, but there is no carnival feeling as at home. I hate thinking about missing the celebrations in Finland, so I’m happy if we will have a lot of customers. Work will keep me from thinking about it more.
As I mentioned before, Sunday was a busy day so I got to work some in the breakfast section in our hotel too. It was a nice experience. Mainly my work was to clear left tables, remake tables, ask customers what they wanted to drink and bring them coffee or tea, and add stuff to the buffet table. The customers were nice, so I like the experience. I also got to wash some dishes that came from the breakfast. It was refreshing to try another type of job, so I’m looking forward to helping in the kitchen also next weekend.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Last night sleeping at my hotel

Yesterday I decided to find myself a place for washing my clothes, so I asked my colleagues where to go in order to find the closest laundry place. They gave me the directions, so I took my bag of dirty clothes and headed for the place they had advised me to go to. Once I reached this laundry place, I realized this was not a laundry place where you could use washing machines with coins, but a real laundry place. Fortunately the cute older signora told me where the closest laundry place was where coins could be used.

The place was interesting. I entered a room with a machine where you could buy buttons of soap, washing machines and tumble driers, but no staff. Ok, let’s try it, I thought. Soap? The machine said it costed 1,50€. I put in one euro and out comes the soap. Fine, even cheaper. I’m happy. Then starts the encounter with the washing machine. I’m supposed to put in three euros in order to wash a machine. I put in three, and the machine asks for more. In the end, it’s satisfied with four euros. Oh well, at least it’s working. After 38 minutes in this room with one bench and three fashion magazines, my washing machine is ready. Perfect. I take out my washed clothes and move them to the tumble drier. After spent six euros for one whole washing experience, I have clean clothes so I leave the laundry place. I try to figure out when this place is open, but it’s impossible since there are no indications of opening hours on the door. Silly me. That would be, hmm..too logical?

On my way home, I start to feel hungry and I suddenly remembered the sandwich place we went to with G on Saturday evening. So I head for Panino. This time I order a sandwich called Venus, perfect for a girl like me, wouldn’t you say? Completely satisfied, I return to the hotel with an amazing sandwich and a Coke. The day is saved. This is one of the things I love about Italy. I mean, look at this beautiful sandwich. Mozzarella, grana cheese (similar to parmeggiano), lettuce, tomato, rocket salad. Pure heaven for six euros. I guess it's useless to say that there's no Mcdonalds here. This place has not been touched yet by the Mcdonalds effect, hehe.



Tomorrow I’m leaving for Brescia, a city situated in Lombardy, the same region as Milan. One of my friends F lives there and since it’s his birthday, I’m going there for two nights, so almost three days. Nice, I have never been to Brescia before.

Tomorrow I am also moving my things to the staff facilities in the other hotel owned my bosses. I went to see them today. They are not that special, standard rooms, but it’s fine for me. As long as I am able to use my computer and I have my own room, I’m happy. There are three rooms there and the other two will be occupied by two waitresses and one receptionist from the other hotel. I already know the waitresses from my hotel, and they are really nice, so I think it will be nicer to leave close to them than living all alone like I have been living until now.

Besides this, today we were comparing our working hours with G, my colleague, and it seems that from about the fifth of May, we will both start at twelve o’clock, which means that we can spend the morning on the beach together. I’m looking forward to that.
Sunday, April 19, 2009

Barrounding

Thanks to all the obstacles I’ve encountered I forgot to write about last night. I had a great time with G and two of her friends I and M. We started our evening in Life Café, the same place as earlier this week. Here the girls always drink prosecco, sparkling wine that is. The reason why is easy to understand since the grape is grown mainly in the Veneto region of Italy, traditionally in an area near Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the hills north of Treviso. These areas are very close to the region where I find myself. I think this feature describes quite well how the youngsters here are. They admire trademarks and money. Even though they don’t mean anything bad with what they’re saying, I pick up and analyze everything. This is a fairly rich region and it’s noticeable. People talk about cars, yachts and trademarks. As I have mentioned earlier, G turned 22 last Thursday and we celebrated it yesterday. G’s birthday present from her boyfriend was a Burberry collar shirt. I think this describes quite well what people value here.

After spending about one hour at Life Café, we went to have a panino, a sandwish that is. Here in Pineta there is a great place called Panino (http://www.lignano.com/ilpanino/ )where they make tons of different sandwishes. I took one with spicy salame and pepperoni, sausage and peppers. It was enormous and soo good. At Panino, even G’s boyfriend Gi joined us.

Together with him, we headed to bar located outside with tends where the guests of the bar could leave a handprint on two great parasols. Here even the police passed by telling us to lower the volume. At twelve o’clock, Gi went home since he had been working all day and was tired. He works in a nightclub so obviously he has night shifts.

Finally, we reached the center of Pineta, and the bar called Tendabar, http://www.lignano.com/tendabar/ . It was full of people since yesterday was also the opening night for a local nightclub. I took a Caipiroska Fragola, with strawberries that is. It was amazing, with fresh and big pieces of strawberry inside. Here follows a photo of us four girls. What a great night!


Struggling with surprises

Every day here is surprising. When you think everything is going fine, something new arises. Today has been a hard day. Since my boss hardly is around since the other hotel is opening next week, it’s been very difficult to find the time to talk to her. I don’t consider myself an egoistic person, but I do believe that when a person takes an intern from another country, that person should also accept the fact that that intern will need more guidance than one from the hosting country. Here this rule doesn’t apply though since I was told today with a very firm voice that I should not expect any special treatment. My boss even compared me to my Italian colleague and said that I should be more like her and know how to do things without being told. I should also know what to do, even though nobody has told me. This after a week. Nice.

This all came up when I despite my tries this week, have failed to talk about my working hours with my boss. She is always in the company of other people or in a rush, and therefore I didn’t know when my first free day would be. Since my colleague G works different hours than me, I knew for sure that she would meet my boss in the morning and therefore I asked her to ask my boss if this could be my free day. I know it wasn’t the best way to go about, but I didn’t expect G to tell me the answer. Seeing as I live in the hotel, my boss could easily pick up the reception phone and call me to give me the answer. Instead she decided to have G to call me and tell me that my boss wants to talk to me. When I came down to the lobby, I got a fair doze of orders. Now afterwards I feel really bad since I’ve tried to do my best here. My boss even said that if I don’t like the way she works in, I can take the next airplane back home. The funny part is that I would gladly do that if it would be possible. The harsh truth is that for these people I am merely a worker, nothing more, nothing less. Maybe a friend to G, but for sure I’m not a friend of my boss.

But I have decided not to give up. It would be too easy, and I need the credits for this internship. It’s always like this in the beginning in Italy. One should never think that being here is easy. It is a hard mental test. You have to deal with a lot of things on your own, and it’s for sure not easy. But I know I can do it, I’ve done it before. Once we get used to each other in the hotel, it will become easier. I get along with everybody else, and I am sure that my boss didn’t take this conversation as hard as I did. Once before she said something mean to me, and later she was normal again. It’s just her way of acting. I can understand seeing as she is a hard working entrepreneur, but she will never be a good boss if she fails to admit that she errors.

The ironic part of it all is that the things I do wrong are the things I don’t know. Now she agreed to sit down with me tomorrow and go through my working hours and days, something she should have done from the beginning. I have just not been a high priority here since the other hotel is opening. I’m really excited to meet my new colleague who will work side by side with me when she arrives. From Tuesday, I will work alone in the reception with my boss until my colleague arrives I think in the middle of May. We’ll see how it goes.

Thank God I have a good boyfriend. I don’t know what I would do without him. It’s impossible to describe in words how much I miss him. His support has been priceless.
Saturday, April 18, 2009

Finding life in Lignano Sabbiadoro

Suddenly we already have Saturday. As I have mentioned before, here the days pass by rapidly. Today I got to help put away the buffet breakfast we serve in the mornings here in the hotel. It’s a treat working in a hotel, because here you always find fresh food and especially fruit. I love it. The first morning I ate from the breakfast, I jumped immediately to the fruit. What a treat to eat fresh pineapple, strawberries, water melon and kiwi every day.


Next Tuesday I will move to another hotel, where there are staff lodging. Then will see if the breakfast there is as good as here. It’s a shame though. I’ve got used to my room already. I heard that the staff lodging is underground, that didn’t sound tempting at all. But as long as I have a decent shower, toilet and internet access, I’m alright. The other hotel owned by the same couple as mine is called Hotel Alisei, http://www.hotelalisei.it/ . It’s a little bit bigger than the one I’m working at, and has a pool. The rooms seem nice also at Alisei, but here we have six new rooms that really are of my liking. If you ever have the chance, check out the deluxe rooms at my hotel.

I found a funny website about Lignano Sabbiadoro when I was surfing. For those of you readers that are interested, have a look at http://www.bellavistalignano.it/en/restaurant.html . Here you can read about the history of the place, also the origins of the name Lignano. The reason why I found the site was that I wanted to show you the restaurant. I went to this restaurant with G and her boyfriend on Monday, and had a great pizza.
Yesterday I spent a great evening with G, my new collogue. She took me to the center of Sabbiadoro, another area about 2 km from where my hotel is situated. The peninsula where my workplace is situated is divided into three parts; Riviera, Pineta and Sabbiadoro. Riveria is the western part of the peninsula is predominantly residential, with small villas, low rise houses and pine trees. Pineta right in the centre of the town features a modest commercial center, popular beaches. Sabbiadoro at the Eastern end of the peninsula contains a bustling commercial center and soaring high rise condominiums Sabbiadoro is the area where the legendary Vodafone store was located. It is also the liveliest part of these three when it comes to going out in the evening. I and G headed to a bar called il Life Café, since G knew one of the bartenders working there. We had a lot of fun with the guys working at the bar, and seeing as there still aren’t that many people around, they were happy to have us there. We even got some toasts there, so we stayed until about twelve o’clock.




G had her birthday yesterday, so we are celebrating it tonight. We’ll go for an aperitivo (finger food+drinks at a reasonable price) somewhere, and then probably head back to the Life Café. It’s such a nice place with sofas and music. As a lounge bar, it’s perfect. The cocktails weren’t that expensive either. Since G knows the bartender, we had two cocktails for free yesterday.
Friday, April 17, 2009

Lignano Sabbiadoro



The view from my hotel room, Via degli Alisei




Views from the street where my hotel is situated:



The beach in Pineta, the part of Lignano Sabbiadoro where my hotel is situated. In total, Lignano Sabbiadoro has about 8 km of beach, hence the name Sabbiadoro (=golden sand).
Thursday, April 16, 2009

Defining my random sample

As I glanced through my blog, I seem to have forgotten to write that I have managed to get an assigner for my thesis. My topic has now been changed to “The mental picture of Helsinki- Helsinki’s marketing in Italy made during the years 2006-2008” since my assigner is the tourist- and congress office of Helsinki, for which I will also work from the end of June. Yey.

The good news is that for this thesis, I need to make a research and I have decided that I will make two questionnaires that I will hand out to:

1) Italians that have never been to Helsinki/Finland and
2) Italians that are already in Finland and therefore have been reached by some marketing channel.

I doubted earlier the possibility of finding Italians that have never been to Finland to fill in a questionnaire. But then I realized that this hotel is perfect. The persons here have no mental picture of Finland whatsoever and therefore they are perfect as my target group. Yesterday I asked my boss if I could ask Italians to fill in a questionnaire and she agreed to let me do this, so as soon as I will have my theoretical part done, I can make the questionnaires and start collecting respondents. It will be interesting to see why these people know so little about my wonderful home city. I have been trying to be careful not to tell them too much about Helsinki so far, so that the answers will be honest and sincere.

Encountering initial obstacles

Usually people say, days fly by when you’re having fun. But in Italy, they fly by mostly because of the crazy long working hours you have. Here even though you might have a morning shift in a hotel, you don’t start before 9 a.m. which means you don’t get to leave before 5 p.m. Seeing as the sun sets at 8 p.m. that only leaves you with three hours of daylight during your free time. That’s nothing.

Working at the hotel has been interesting. Since the hotel I’m doing my internship in is quite small, they give me quite free hands and I get to try a lot of things. I’ve been surprised from the beginning of the way they treat me as one of them. In fact, sometimes they tend to forget that I am not Italian.

I’ve realized that the opening of the owner’s second hotel, Hotel Alisei, which will take place next Tuesday, will mean more responsibility for me since half of the staff of my hotel will move to the other hotel. Therefore the opening will in fact leave me in charge of the reception together with my boss. Funnily enough, she is also responsible for the other reception and therefore I can already imagine that I will be left a lot alone at the reception. This after only one week of internship. Interesting. I remember working at Palace Kämp Hotel Linna in Helsinki, and there I would never have been left alone after merely one week of practice.

I can’t deny that I am worried since it’s very different for me to be working purely in Italian, but I guess I should look at this all as a great opportunity. The people here continue to see me as one of them, and they do not treat me in a different way even though I’m Finnish.

Yesterday I encountered some obstacles in finding a way to get wireless Internet. Since I in Finland use an Internet key that is attached to my USB port, I thought I would do the same in Italy. Here though, the keys are not as developed. Ever since I arrived, I have been searching for an operator situated here in Lignano. Eventually I heard that Vodafone has an office here so I decided to walk to their office after work. I left the hotel at 5 p.m. and arrived at the Vodafone office about one hour later.

A distance that seemed fairly short on the map turned out to be a mission impossible in reality. I just have to face it; in Italy you can’t do anything without a car. The roads are in terrible condition and more importantly, people misunderstand you when you’re walking alone as a woman on a street meant for cars. I noticed I could not walk for more than 5 meters and then there was always a car asking me if the driver could drive me somewhere. It would be fine if I wouldn’t be alone, but honestly, I don’t think it is safe accepting a similar office from a person I don’t know. As a result, I ruined my feet by walking about 5 km in 25 degrees only to get an Internet key.

I mentioned earlier that the Internet keys here aren’t that developed. In the end, the only one that Vodafone could offer me was one of 99€!! In Finland my key was free. Here almost one hundred Euros and after my internship I can’t return it so I’m stuck with the key and there is no refund. Besides this, I had to charge the key with 30 Euros in order to receive 100 hours of Internet usage.

The positive part of walking all that time in order to reach the Vodafone office, I managed to see the center of Lignano, called Sabbiadoro. This part of Lignano is the posh part of peninsula. Even though Lignano is small, you can still find designer shops here like Dolce&Gabbana, Dior, Gucci etc. Lignano is a place that lives on tourism. Here you can find a great quantity of hotels. Everywhere you look, there is a hotel and a bar. To be honest, I prefer the area in which my hotel is situated, called Pineta, because it’s less commercial. But seeing the center, I realized why people come here on vacation. With a car and the right company, Lignano would be a great place to spend one’s vacation in.
Monday, April 13, 2009

The lovely chaos

The day you rest in one place too long, is the day you stop developing yourself. This is a saying I’ve heard once and I have always tried to live according to it. I must say, with years passing by, I’ve noticed that I have become more afraid of daring and challenging myself. It’s funny how we youngster always seem to make fun of our parents for not being daring enough, but then when we find ourselves in a new situation, we tend to act in the same way.

Anyway, I spent most of the autumn last year desperately searching for an internship in Italy. I had almost given up and lost all my hope, when I realized that my last chance was the annual travel fair that’s held in Helsinki. So I made it damn sure that I went through all the Italian stands that were present, and as incredible it might sound, this actually paid off because this way I managed to get myself this internship.

My internship is in a cozy small hotel with only 36 rooms called Hotel Daniele, www.hoteldaniele.com. The staff here is great. The owners are a couple, and they basically live here. At least they spend a great amount of their days here. I asked my boss, one of the owners today when she has free days. She merely replied “in this line of business, free days don’t exist”. I guess she’s right. This hotel is situated in a small town called Lignano Sabbiadoro, which you can find about 90 km from Venice. Population: 5 983. At first, this was a shock to me since I’m a city girl, but I take this fact as something positive. At least nobody can tell me that I don’t know how to go local. Here in one week I’ll know all the people in this town.

Yesterday when I arrived, I was lucky enough to have a friend who came to pick me up. Otherwise I would have had to take a bus from the airport to Venice and then a train, and then another bus. This is Italy. Long live public transportation! Luckily this time, I was saved from all the confusion. F and I decided to go first to my hotel to leave all my baggage there and then head back to Venice. I must add at this point that Venice looked so tiny from the airport. It’s incredible how a city so tiny can be so magical. Maybe the small size is the true reason to its fame.

Anyway, once we got to Lignano Sabbiadoro, I went up to the front desk of my hotel and told them who I was. I was immediately welcomed in a warm way. Despite this, there is a clear rule here. If you want to know something and be informed, you have to make sure to ask as many questions as possible. Italians are funny in that way. They never seem to understand that a foreign person doesn’t know everything about their country. The funny part is that I’ve already lived in Italy for some time, but I am still amazed at some things.

Returning to Italy always means returning to the chaos. The lovely chaos. Immediately when me and F headed back to Venice, we realized how difficult it was to find the right train to take us over the bridge going to Venice.

Venice is a unique Italian city because there are no cars. It’s a miracle. No honking horns. Therefore there was a massive amount of people taking trains from the train stop just outside Venice. Obviously all the Italians from other cities leave their cars there at the station and then take the train. The funny part was that at the train station, there were no indications about how to get to Venice. And when we finally got on the right train, only one wagon/car was working. The others were “fuori servizio”, a fraise Italians seem to love, which means out of order. In Italy, fuori servizio is an excuse for everything. You are forced to laugh every time you see a sign like that because you can never anticipate where you’ll find it.

I’ll continue domani..tomorrow :)