I thought I made a slow start this morning airing out the tent, but still found myself on the road by 8:45 am.
Stopping for groceries, I bumped into a Russian couple (from St. Petersburg) cycling from Milan to Rome. They too were headed to Padua, but weren’t interested in being social.
I arrived in Padua before lunch and wandered back and forth through the city streets for a while. Narrowly avoiding trouble, I was taking photos when the local police harassed someone for cycling in the pedestrian zone (a common practice everywhere in Europe; they must have blown their whistles a half dozen times at people in the time I waited there).
I followed a canal into Mestre. Wealthy Venetian merchants built dozens of estates along its banks.
Cyclists abound on my chosen route to Venice (also the Italy 1 cycle route). I cycled up behind a Dutch couple and talked with them for a while. This was their first international trip. 5 km outside of Mestre, one of them experienced a flat tire. Confirming they had things well in hand, I finished the ride into Mestre alone. From the booking, I had expected a hotel with a few shared rooms. Instead I find myself in a mega-hostel.
My bicycle safely stowed, I forged forth in search of a box. The day reminded me a lot of my last box quest in Dublin (“Join Rick’s Bicycle Shop Tour today!”). The first (and closest) shop should have a box tomorrow afternoon. The second turned out to be a motorcycle shop. The third recommended the first. Walking to the fourth, in some ways I hoped they wouldn’t have one – I didn’t look forward to dragging a box 2 km. The proprietor abruptly told me no box, and laughed scornfully. “Very difficult!”
That completed the circuit, returning me to the hostel. One more cycle shop remained – 1.5 km in the other direction. But surely a shop named “Shimano” would be able to help. Instead I found a sporting goods shop that doesn’t sell cycling gear.
Returning to the hostel, I had an email response from yesterday – also the first store. They should have a box available tomorrow afternoon for 10 euro. In a way the cost is comforting; they’re more likely to have something they’re selling than something they’re giving away.
Taxi scheduled for Thursday morning (with extra time planned given the box and requiring a larger taxi that might not be the first try). A train ticket to Venice costs 1.3 euro, and takes seven minutes. I know just where the station is, just down the street near a bicycle shop.