It seemed like we had barely gone to bed when the alarm went off at 4 am so we could enjoy the sail in to Venice. We quickly went out on the balcony and within five minutes we could see the bell tower of San Marco in the distance. It was amazing how much boat traffic there was at that hour. After we passed San Marco, we went back to bed for a bit. We met Yost and Sam for a final breakfast on the rear deck. Mike and I had a 12:15 flight so we were in a rush to get off the ship, they were spending two nights in Venice so they weren’t in quite a big of a hurry as us. Luckily, our quasi VIP status gave access to the disembarkation with the concierge which meant we could leave as soon as we were ready rather than having to wait for our “color” to be called. We made our way to the airport and checked in about 9:30. Unfortunately we couldn’t check in our bags until 2 hours before our flight …those crazy Italians! So after cooling our heels outside for a bit, we checked in our bags, went through security and found the Lounge. Our flight to Paris left and arrived on time…and directly from and to the gates. No buses today! Made an uneventful transit through CDG with about an hour in the HUGE lounge there and then boarded our flight home. It too was uneventful and we arrived at Dulles on time, no issues in customs and got to the aLoft about 8 pm. Had a quick 5 Guys burger and to bed….no issue falling asleep since according to our bodies it was 3 in the morning…or almost 24 hours since we had sat on the balcony looking at San Marco in the dark. Unfortunately, our bodies wanted to wake up on Italian time too, so we ended up heading back to Raleigh at 6:30 am getting home just before noon.
We had a great trip, met some nice people, and had some amazing experiences. Of course learning to row the gondola was the highlight but revisiting places I had been before and seeing Mike see them for the first time was great too. Slovenia was an epiphany…so beautiful and friendly. The death marches while tough all resulted in wonderful memories.
I hope everyone has the opportunity to visit Italy some day and taste REAL Italian food….and a slice of Krempita in Slovenia should also be on your bucket list!
Waiting to check in our bags. (note that they seemed to have grown while we were gone)