Day three on my Italy tour and we have had the whole day in Venice today for a guided tour, glass blowing, gondolas and then free time to explore. Thankfully all uneventful.
I met the group at the end of the afternoon to take the Vaporetto (a water bus) to a place called Tronchetto, where our coach would be waiting to take us back to the hotel.
The Vaporetto is a great way to travel and there are many different routes. It is a way for the locals to get about and a single ticket costs 6.5 euros.
I had 38 people in my group and we were at the very front of the queue for this public boat. The boat arrived, I ushered my group onto the boat along with about fifty other passengers and then noticed that two men from my group have not moved at all. Not only that they have let all the other passengers pass them and have not got on the boat. The conductor on the boat said that the boat is full and wouldn’t let the two guys from my group on the boat.
Now, before getting on the boat, I had instructed my group to stay on the boat for 8 stops and get off at Tronchetto. In fact I had repeated these instructions several times, so I was not too worried about the two clients left behind. I shouted to them to get the next boat in ten minutes and repeated that they should stay on for 8 stops and get off at Tronchetto and that they would see me waiting there.
I arrived at Tronchetto with my group and sent them to the coach and explained I would wait for the two clients at the boat station. Some of the clients waited with me for the next vaporetto to arrive.
The next Vaporetto arrived and it is very busy. The two clients did not get off the boat and so I got on the boat to have a look for them. I spoke to the conductor first and explained that I was just getting on to look for 2 clients and could he wait until I got off the boat please. He promised to wait but, as soon as I got on the boat, it started to pull away.
I tried to get off but it was too late and before I knew it there I was literally sailing off into the sunset, with half my group watching. And to make matters worse the two missing clients weren’t even on the boat. What a nightmare!!
My phone rang and it was one of the two missing clients – they had got off at the wrong stop. They had got odff at the railway station, so I told them to get a taxi to the hotel.
In the meantime I had my own problems – how to get off the boat and get back to my group. The journey to next vaporetto stop was only 10 minutes but seemed like and eternity. I phoned the coach driver and told him to wait and got the next boat back to Tronchetto.
When we finally arrived back at the hotel, the two AWOL clients were sitting at the bar, beer in hand. And of course it was all my fault they had not got on the boat with the group and that they had got off at the wrong stop.
What a day!