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The day after I published Part 1 of my Italy holiday, our time in Rome took a dramatic turn for the worst. We found out that our return flight with Monarch airlines was cancelled because they went in to administration.
It’s a weird feeling to know you’re stranded in another country. I didn’t know when we’d be home, what would happen to the boys at the dog sitters, and how much extra our delayed return home would cost. I admit that I did start to panic. Anxiety and stress can make my pain worse so I took some deep breaths; had a cuddle with my other half; and we said to each other no matter what we’ll get through it together.
Getting on with our day
Later that day we visited the Vatican museum but our minds weren’t in the right place. It was also extremely hot and the crowds were unbearable.
We decided to stay positive and rely on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to get us home as outlined in the news updates. By this point we also knew the boys would be safe and looked after until we got home.
We went for dinner at the food hall at Rome Termini station (I of course had another carbonara) and got an early night ready for our train journey to Venice in the morning.
The train journey to Venice
I struggle to get comfy on a train and it’s hard to manage my pain. To make things easier for me we had booked the premium seats which were much comfier and wider. I could also use my coccyx cut-out cushions which helped a little. These seats also came with a few free drinks and snacks. Nothing to write home about but we made the most of them.
The journey was about 3 hours 45 minutes so to keep busy I Googled some interesting facts about Venice and learnt that:
- The narrowest street is 53cm wide.
- It was 2010 before Venice got its first woman gondolier.
- It is sinking 1-2mm every year.
I was really fidgeting by this point and making the most of the seat arm to lean sidewards and the folding table meant I could lean quite far forward too. To say I don’t like train travel then this train had to be one of the comfiest I’d used. Little things can make such a big difference. I also got up and walked about when I could. Train travel makes me feel sick though so I have to limit this where I can.
Arriving in Venice
There is one word that describes Venice perfectly: breathtaking. It’s such a beautiful place and it didn’t quite feel real that we were there when we saw the grand canal outside the train station.
We met our Airbnb owner and he took us to our apartment. He gave us his views on the best places to go to and where to eat. This was really useful and gave us the opportunity to plan our next few days ensuring we could visit the best sites and places to eat.
Walking our way around
We did lots of walking; hitting 15,000 to 20,000 steps each day. This is the ideal holiday for me as it means a lot less sitting and that my muscles are keeping moving.
We walked literally everywhere. Mainly because there are no cars or buses in Venice, but because the wait for the tour bus company was an hour and we didn’t want to waste our time. We were only there for 2 full days so needed to do as much as we could in the time we had.
We found the narrowest street.
There were some amazing views from the top of a shopping centre. I forget what it was called but it was like our version of Selfridges.
And after 5 days in Italy, we finally made it in to a Basilica at Piazza San Marco.
Eating our way around
We also did lots of eating. The food was just as nice as in Rome and we wanted to try as much as we could. The speciality in Venice is seafood and we had some amazing dishes. My partner had looked on Trip Advisor for the good places to eat and we also went to the places recommended by our Airbnb host.
We always try to find somewhere with comfy seats. This almost always means soft padding or cushion and ideally with arms too. If the seats are too hard then I can’t get comfy and this means neither of us enjoy our meal: me because I’m in pain, and my partner because she sees me in pain.
The best thing for my pain as always is to stay standing. We were able to do this with a glass of prosecco and some cicchetti by the canal overlooking the gondola boatyard.
Despite the dramas and anxiety outlined at the beginning of my blog, our journey home from Italy was without any difficulties or delays.
Well, not with the plane part of the journey anyway. We arrived at the boat bus stop near our apartment half an our early and waited for the 8:02am boat to take us to the airport. When it arrived it was full and the next one wasn’t due for another half an hour. More panic.
We had been chatting to another couple who were also due to fly back to Manchester, and we decided to get a private taxi boat, James Bond style, and split the costs. Thankfully I had taken my sea sickness tablet! This was a brilliant journey despite the bouncing around, and even more panic when we thought the boat had conked out.
Eventually we arrived at the airport, 3 hours early as requested by the CAA, and grabbed ourselves a coffee and a bagel and relaxed.
We checked-in to our to new flight with Titan airways and was greeted with 4 UK government officials who were there to reassure customers about the journey home and deal with any issues or concerns. We didn’t have any so we grabbed our boarding passes and were delighted to see that we had the front row seats still which we had reserved on our Monarch flight. Result!
How do you cope with your chronic pain when on holiday?