2017-12-13 / Front Page

On The Road In Italy: A Travel Adventure In Venice

By Catherine Tsounis

Regan Purkaistho.
Regan Purkaistho. “Be Prepared to Walk”.

That was the understatement of the year. Venice is surrounded by water canals, bridges, stairs that can be slippery and few ramps for dragging suitcases. Our last evening on Sunday Oct. 22, 2017 in Venice was rainy. We selected a hotel near the train station. Venezia Santa Lucia is the central station of Venice, northeast of Italy. It is a terminus and located at the northern edge of Venice's historic city.1

Trip advisor said the Olimpia Hotel was a ten-minute walk. Again, an understatement. Double the time if you are tired of walking with two luggage per person. We found a certified porter in the union. Regan Purkaistho is college educated and in late 20’s from Bangladesh. “Look at my information,” he said. “I am part of the union”. We negotiated a price below market value.

Walking and talking with Regan, who was transporting four luggage and a backpack on his cart gave us an insight into the life of the immigrant worker. Regan on slippery stairs without ramps pushed his cart. “Don’t go on metal ramps. Tourists slip in the rain,” he said. We felt sorry for Regan’s laborious work. He saved our lives.

"I will give you 30 euros and a $7.00 American dollar tip with a sharpie pen as a souvenir,” I Venice route we traveled with Regan on a sunny day.
Venice route we traveled with Regan on a sunny day. said. Europeans love sharpies of all varieties. Regan, who had excellent manners and a pleasant personality is one of many porters.Venice is losing its population every year because of poor quality of life caused by excessive tourism., boat regattas, exhibitions and culture events. Some Venetians believe 30 million tourists visit a year. This was my introduction to the wealthy North that, carries most of the financial burden of Rome, Italy. Bangladesh immigrants, who are fluent in English because of England’s colonial rule, are seen in all service industries. “I am not an illegal alien,” said Regan. “I have my license on my neck for all to see.” Email Regan Purkaistho on Facebook for services.

View of our travel route the next day.View of our travel route the next day.My experience with a water taxi introduced us to the porter industry. Tourists should bring only one airport luggage was some advice. This is impossible! The result: a thriving porter industry that gives jobs to hard working legal and probably illegal immigrants. Our water taxi from Bisanzio Hotel at San Zaccaria vaporato stop to San Lucia railroad stop cost 70 euros. When we arrived on the pier, legal porters grabbed our luggage without asking us.

They charged us 30 euros to walk a couple of yards to the train stop. I was shocked by this ‘rip off”. As one person said, “This is Venice. Everyone wants to be here.” I tole the courteous porters and their boss “No business. I will carry my luggage.” We took our luggage and walked 30 feet to Santa Lucia train station.

How can you visit a foreign country with an airline carryon luggage?  If he/she wants to see Venice, be prepared to pay porters that are a needed service. Three and a half euros are charges to sit. I saw such a charge in a Queens, New York café. Local businesses must survive.

Seeing Venice will remain a “once in a lifetime experience.” Politeness, a real interest in the safety of the tourist is a feature of Venetian life.

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