Venice Diary- Day 9

Venice Diary- Day 9

June 12, 2017 Monday

This was a rough morning because I was so tired from my adventure in Verona the day before that I started my day a little later than usual. I had to be at class by 9 am, so I woke up around 8:20, put on a dress and sneakers, then met my friends for breakfast at 8:40. We sat outside in the sun and I had my usual eggs, meat and bread, and double espresso. It was a bit more rushed than usual because I had less time, but it was no less enjoyable. In class we discussed the connection between Plato’s Phaedrus and Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice.

After class, I went back to my room and wrote for an hour about everything I had done the previous week. Around 1 pm, I went downstairs to the hotel restaurant and ordered some lunch which I ate outside in the shade with a group of my friends. We had all brought work to do at the table but no one was doing it, and instead we were all conversing and laughing and having an overall pleasant lunch. Since we did all actually have to do some school work though, we cut lunch a bit short and headed back to our rooms. I read and wrote a bit more, until about 3:45. That’s when I and a group of other girls headed into Venice to walk around and explore some more.

We walked around Canareggio looking into shops and checking out cute cafes for a couple hours. We found this adorable little chocolate/ dessert store that would accept our vouchers, so we each bought a little something to satisfy our sweet tooth. I bought a bag of small chocolate and cookie sandwiches that taste so yummy. Gabrielle bought a slice of chocolate cake that was so dark it was black and tasted fantastic. We then went into a nice jewelry shop in which all the jewelry was made from beads and the store was separated by color. It went from blue to purple to pink to red to orange to yellow to white to black. All the jewelry was stunning. Maggie and Francesca each bought a bracelet and then we continued down the calle. We went into a couple of other stores, with people making small purchases every so often and then we got hungry.

We happened upon a tiny restaurant, “Pontini,” right on the water that appeared to be very popular and according to Gabrielle had gotten great reviews online. Because it was busy and because we were a group of six people, we had to wait for about 15 minutes before we were seated. Once we were seated inside (we didn’t get to sit in front of the water unfortunately), we had a chance to look at the menu and enjoy our complimentary bread. I ended up ordering spaghetti ala bolognese. What startled me a bit when I took my first bite was that it tasted so much like my mom’s homemade bolognese! It was also a great portion size, not too much but not too little. Other people got salads (which were huge), a caprese salad, gnocchi, and spaghetti ala vongole. The people working there were so nice and accommodating and even let us pay separately at the end which was a huge help.

After we left the restaurant, we walked to a grocery store on the Grand Canal right next to the Rialto Bridge.  We had shopped here before because they accept our vouchers and we can buy lots of fruits and veggies for a reasonable price. We stocked up on these items as well as some cases of bottled water (which can be expensive to continually buy on the street) and some other necessities. We always make a commotion when we’re paying because we have to figure out how we’re going to add everything up and what we can use the vouchers on. It’s like a scene out of a comedy act where everything is going wrong, but in a comical way. Finally we paid and then trekked back to the San Zaccaria vaporetto stop while lugging our shopping bags through the streets.

We returned to San Servolo around 21:30 and parted ways at our respective buildings. I put away my purchases when I got back to the room, did some work, and then relaxed until midnight when, with my eyes drooping with every word I read, I finally decided to go to sleep.

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This area was one of the only ones not overrun by zealous tourists
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We happened upon this area as we were wandering around the city

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The restaurant we went to is under one of the awning on the right
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Street sand art

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Ciao for now!

Venice Diary- Day 8 (Verona)

Venice Diary- Day 8 (Verona)

June 11, 2017 Sunday

Sunday was the day that we all decided to take a trip to Verona. In order to make the most out of our time there, since we decided on only a day trip, we booked one of the earliest trains there. So, I woke up at 6:30 am, got dressed and ready, and packed my bag with everything I would need for the trip (money, wallet, passport in case I needed ID, camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, chapstick, and some other random bits and bobs). The first vaporetto of the day left at 7:10, and at 7:05 one of my roommates and I were sprinting towards the stop to make it on time. Once on the vaporetto to the San Marco stop, we met up with the other six girls going with us. We were the only people on the boat other than a woman with her suitcase (most likely going to the airport) since it was so early.

When we arrived at the San Marco vaporetto stop, we had to go to another stop in order to take a different vaporetto to the train station (the vaporetto in Venice are like buses in major cities, with certain ones going to specific places in the city). We arrived at the train station around 7:50 and since none of us had eaten any breakfast yet, we stopped into a cafe in the station (after we had located our train of course). I ate a blueberry muffin with a small cappuccino (I know, I know you’re all shocked that I didn’t order an espresso. Sometimes a girl has to change it up a bit). We got on the train in groups as we got our food, and managed to find 8 seats together. About three minutes before the train was supposed to leave, two girls from our group were still not on board. We started to get concerned when, like out of a movie, they walked down the aisle towards us just as the train was leaving the station. Apparently one of them had spilled her coffee and the cafe had kindly replaced it for her, but it was a close call.

During the hour and a half train ride from Venice to Verona, we talked in our respective groups of four and admired the view of the countryside outside the window. When we arrived in Verona, we were met at the station by Francesca’s friend, Joan, who was there taking a class. She showed us which bus to take from the station to get to our first destination: The Colosseum. When we stepped off the bus, we were greeted by this beautiful fountain surrounded by lush green grass and sweltering heat. Maggie had Rick Steve’s guidebook from which she gave us interesting facts throughout the day about the various places we visited. At the Colosseum, only a few of us went inside of it while the others waited outside (you had to pay to go in). The “inside” was really a bunch of amphitheater seats in the open air, but it was amazing to see. On the stage there were men setting up a set for an upcoming performance that I think was going to take place there. Even though it was only 10:30 am, it was brutally hot, so I sat down and put on some sunscreen. Then I took pictures along with some of my friends.

After the Colosseum, we met up with the others and made our way to Centro Storico. Along the way we stopped into some of the stores lining the street. Six of us decided to buy some macaroons at a little French pastry shop, then we looked into a perfume store, and finally we made it to Centro Storico. Here, we followed the signs to the house of Juliet (from Romeo and Juliet) and went into the famous courtyard. It was packed with people. There was a mob of people trying to take a picture holding the breast of the Juliet statue because apparently this is good luck in love (I mean Juliet didn’t seem to have too much luck in love considering both she and her lover died, but I guess it’s the myth of Juliet). Naturally we had to partake in this tradition as well. Then, a couple of the girls decided to go up to Juliet’s balcony and take some pictures there, so while they did that I went into the gift shop and bought some postcards as souvenirs.

When we finally left the mass of people in Juliet’s courtyard, we made our way down to Joan’s apartment building where we met up with a couple of her friends. Then we split into two groups of about five people each to get lunch since we all wanted to eat at different places. The place my group went to, Osteria del Bugiardo, was lovely,  had amazing food, and was very reasonably priced. We decided to share a meat platter, a cheese platter, and a vegetable platter which was filling and delicious, and was less than 7 euro each when we split the bill. By the time we met up with the others after lunch it was 2 pm.

We went to a beautiful church called La Basilica di Santa Anastasia. Inside there were beautiful paintings and an incredibly elaborate ceiling that was difficult to look up at but breathtaking to behold. We were also given the electronic tour information electronic device that gave a history of the painting or sculpture I was standing in front of. There was a little chapel in the back where people could go, so I went in and said a little prayer. We left a little while later and walked to the square where the statue of Dante is placed. In it there was a gelato place where I and a couple other girls decided to treat ourselves. I chose a wonderful mix of limone (lemon) and fragola (strawberry) which tasted divine. As we continued down the road and after I had finished my ice cream, we found a beautiful picture location where we paused to take some snapshots. Just off of this were various cafes so we split into two groups depending on what refreshment we wanted. I went to get an espresso to wake me up while some of the others went to get gelato.

After we had some food and drink in us, we brightened up and continued on our way. We found the Duomo di Verona and I went inside along with 3 others, Caroline, Rachel, and Maggie. Inside to the immediate right when you walk in is the small chapel room with a giant basin as the main focal point. To the left when you walk in is a hallway that could go to two different rooms. The room more straight was the area where you can look down and see the exposed foundation, but it also had an altar and some pews set up like a small church. The room more towards the back and to the left was the main Cathedral area which was ornately decorated with the most exquisite artwork, organ, and marble. The dome, which was the main focus, was off to the side in the center. It was  intricately decorated and painted with such pleasing images of angels. After about half an hour of looking around, we left to meet up with the others who were having some drinks across the street.

We decided to end our tour of Venice with the Castel Vecchio before getting dinner which is precisely what we did. We entered under the arched structure after crossing a small wooden bridge. Once across the bridge, there was a magnificent courtyard, so green and lush. After I had bought my ticket, I was told I would have to leave my backpack in a cubby, so I paid one euro (which I got back at the end) to store it in a locked cubby. The lower rooms were all sculptures, while on the second and third floors there were a lot of different paintings from the late 15th, 16, and 17th centuries. Many, if not all, of the paintings were religious in some way, either depicting the saints or depicting the Virgin Mary with Jesus (Madonna and Child). They were all really interesting to look at because of how long they have lasted over the centuries. but after a while it is difficult (for me at least) to look at the same concept displayed over and over in each painting. At last, one of the last things we did at the castle was go up to the top where we could see pretty much the entire city and where we could look out into the river below. There was also a brick build walkway that was the bridge between the multiple buildings of this castle where I looked down into the courtyard of the front entrance and was mesmerized by the completely different views.

At this point, it was around 7 pm and we were tired, hungry, and mainly just wanted to take a load off our feet. We went into one shopping store (OVS) for about 15 minutes then headed back to the Colosseum which is where we were first dropped off by the bus in the morning. There, we found a great restaurant right in front with a perfect view of the Colosseum and some reasonable prices. I believe it was called Ristorante Pizzeria Olivo, and the food there was delicious. I ordered some kind of pasta with tomato sauce and eggplant topped with a giant prawn, and it was so good. Iulia, Fidelia, and I also split a tiny bottle of wine that was about 0.375 liters, which was about 1 1/4 glasses each. When we finished our food, we walked to the bus stop and took the bus back to the train station where we then waited for about an hour. While waiting, we looked at the pictures from the day, we talked about what we had seen and done, and I read a bit of Plato’s Phaedrus for class.

The train arrived around 21:50 and by 22:00 we had departed Verona. Unfortunately, this train was a fast train and we had assigned seats in different cars so we had to split up. But, luckily for me, Iulia and Maggie were also in my car and it was pretty empty, so I abandoned my assigned seat to sit with them. It was a pretty tame ride where we joked and chatted the hour away. But, there was some commotion when someone came to check tickets because this group of people sitting a few seats away from us did not have any tickets and were escorted out of the car. After they left, I heard some raised voiced and then never saw them again. Other than that, not much else transpired. By the time we arrived back in Venice, it was about 23:15 and we knew we were not going to make the 23:30 vaporetto back to San Servolo. That meant that we would have to wait another hour for the 12:30 vaporetto, and by this this point in the night we were all exhausted. So we took the vaporetto from the train station to the San Marco stop, then transferred over to the San Zaccaria stop. The half hour ride there wasn’t too difficult because I sat outside and looked at Venice by night under the beautiful, almost orange, full moon.

We waited at the San Zaccaria stop for about 45 minutes, during which time I continued to read. Everyone was so tired that we passed the time pretty much in silence. When the vaporetto finally arrived around 12:45 am, we shuffled on and looked out into the night as we rode towards San Servolo, our home. After such a long day, I was glad to be back. But, because there are three of us sharing a room, I did not get to shower until 1:30 am and didn’t go to sleep until around 2:15 am. But even though I had class the next morning, it was all worth it to see the beautiful city of Verona.

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Ciao for now!

Venice Diary- Day 7

Venice Diary- Day 7

June 10, 2017 Saturday

This was a day for sleeping in late and relaxing. I stayed in bed until probably 11:15 am when the cleaning woman knocked on my door and wanted to check that the room was empty. I opened the door while still in my pajamas and half asleep, and there was an exchange between us that I think meant that she would come back later, but what I heard in my head was that she would be back in 5 minutes. So, I hurriedly threw on my new cropped white off the shoulder shirt under my blue and pink striped romper, put some white sneakers on, and hurriedly did my makeup. Then I grabbed my backpack with my homework and took the rest of my box of blueberries out of the fridge and headed to the tables outside. I sat in the shade reading Plato’s Phaedrus while sipping on my water and occasionally popping some blueberries into my mouth. Every now and then when I would look up from reading my book I got to see the green of the trees and out the window in the wall I saw the blue of the water. It was such a tranquil and beautiful way to start my day.

Around 12:45 some of my friends started to come around to the tables for lunch, so I decided to join them. We all enjoyed a lunch filled with conversation and good Italian food from the San Servolo restaurant. After lunch, I quickly ran back up to my room to grab some necessities for my purse. When I opened the door, I realized that the room had not been cleaned yet, that I must have misunderstood the woman, and that I had not needed to rush after all. But it didn’t matter since it actually got me up and going with my day. After I had grabbed my purse and some money, I met the rest of my friends at the vaporetto stop and we headed into the city. As we were walking along, we came across a crowd of people gathered around some students (I assume they were students since they were young and there was a lot of them), most likely a song and dance group, performing in the middle of the calle. They were singing a capella and harmonizing beautifully, but they were also dancing perfectly in sync to the beat. We stopped to watch them for a few minutes because it was so neat, then we continued on our way.

We had decided the day before that we wanted to go to Ca’ d’Oro, so that’s what we did first when we arrived in the city. Because we’re students, we paid a reduced price to get in which was great. We started off by going into the courtyard where there were a couple  of statues and mosaics to look at. I went over to the sign that had the history of the building and right next to it there was a little square hole in one of the walls that looked out into the street out front. I went over to look into it, with my sunglasses on, and I was startled to find a man looking back at me with a big smile who said “Ciao!” Since I had my sunglasses on, I hadn’t realized there was someone from the street looking in. The whole thing was really funny, and my friends laughed at me for some time afterwards.

Next, we went inside up the stairs to the first floor which had a few rooms of statues and paintings. All the art was very beautiful and mostly religious since it was from around the 16th century. Upstairs on the second floor there were more paintings and sculptures and bronze, but there was also a room filled with carpets and rugs. Along the walls and next to the carpets were the descriptions of each type of carpet and its origin.

After about an hour or so we left Ca’ d’Oro and walked around a bit. We found a gelato place to stop at and I got fragola (strawberry) and mango which was delicious. At this point in the day, it was around 4:45 and a couple of the girls wanted to see if there was a mass at the church in Piazza San Marco, so we walked there. It turned out that the mass was at 6:45 instead of 5:30 as we had thought. We decided that since some of us wanted to go back early and get work done while the others wanted to go to mass, we would go and grab some food then split up.

We ate at Rosso Pomodoro near Piazza San Marco, and since it was early (about 5:15ish) we got some light food. I ordered a caprese salad and a glass of prosecco while some of the others ordered salad, ravioli, and some pizza, along with some prosecco. It was really good, but at the end of the meal those of us who were going back to San Servolo had to go to catch the 6:50 vaporetto. We left our meal vouchers with the others (since this restaurant was one of only a few places that takes the meal vouchers we were given through our university course), and headed on our way.

Back at San Servolo, I decided to take a nap since I hadn’t been getting a lot of sleep the past week and I decided to use this day as my catch up day. I took a nap until about 8pm and then I did some homework before finally getting ready for bed and going to sleep around 12 am.

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Ciao for now!

Venice Diary- Day 6

Venice Diary- Day 6

June 9, 2017 Friday

This was the first day that I did not have class, yet I still chose to wake up early, earlier than for class I might add. The reason behind this madness was that a group of us had decided the day before to catch and early vaporetto to the city so that we could go to the fish and fruits & vegetables market and then from there go to Lido (the beach island). We probably arrived at the market around 9 am and just walked through it, looking and taking everything in. One sight that surprised and intrigued me was a man handling octopus or squid and the ink that covered the surface of the table and his gloved hands. It was a pretty unusual, and neat, sight to see. While there, I also bought a bag of some beautifully red cherries that only cost me two euro. I put them in my bag to eat later, and then we all walked away eating some strawberries that another of my friends had bought. Those too were bright red and incredibly flavorful.

After the market, we walked to Cafe Farini where we each got something to drink. I bought an espresso (my morning drink of choice in Italy) and we sat there for a while, talking and listening to some American music probably from the late 1980s. We planned to meet up with another of our friends before we headed to Lido. So, we walked to the place with all the vaporetto stops and waited probably 45 minutes for our friend, but she never showed up, so we just took the 11:40 vaporetto to Lido.

Once at Lido, we walked down the main street trying to figure out where the public beach was located. We stopped at one of the many little beach shops located along the sidewalk so that I could buy a beach towel. I found an inexpensive funny purple towel that was designed to look like a 500 euro bill. We then continued on our search for the beach, which ended up being a five or ten minute walk from there all the way at the end.

We found the bathrooms, changed into our swimsuits and flip flops, then headed out onto the sand to claim our spot on the beach. It was midday at this point and the sun was beating down pretty hard with barely a cloud in the sky so it was pretty hot out. When we found an area that was to our liking we put our bags down, set up our towels, and lathered on sunscreen. I went for a quick dip in the water to cool down, and it was glorious. About half an hour after we arrived, the friend who was supposed to meet us in the city found us and said she hadn’t found us in the city, so she came to the beach and wandered around looking for us. (I’d like to add that this is the same friend who we thought went missing just a couple days before haha.) We welcomed her and she set up he towel and belongings and joined us in experiencing the sunny day.

At one point, probably around 2 pm, we realized we hadn’t had lunch so I took out my cherries and Caroline took out her strawberries and we satisfied our appetites with fresh fruit. Every now and then some of us would take a dip in the water to cool down from the massive heat that was beating down on us, and also continue to slather on sunscreen.  I spent a lot of my time laying in the sun, listening to music, and resting. It was fantastic. Around 4:30 pm we decided it was time to leave the beach, so we took some pictures, put on our clothes, and left.

We then proceeded to wander around Lido doing a bit of shopping and looking out for a good place to sit down and have dinner. We found a nice place outside around 6pm, and started off by ordering a caprese salad to share amongst the fiver of us, which worked out so that we each got a tomato and a piece of mozzarella. For the meal, almost all five of us ordered the gnocchi, and it was yummy. We shared a chocolate mousse for dessert which was good but strangely very hard, as in we had to push the spoon very hard in order to get any of it.

After dinner we headed back to San Servolo and met up with the others who had not gone to Lido. We all met in my room around 9:30 and planned our trip to Verona on Sunday. We bought tickets and discussed where to go and what to see since it would only be a day trip. Then we all sat around until about midnight just talking and having fun. When everyone left, I went to bed because it had been a long day and I was very tired.

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Ciao for now!

Venice Diary- Day 5

Venice Diary- Day 5

June 8, 2017 Thursday

I began the day with my usual scrambled eggs, bread and meat, and espresso, then I scrambled to class for 9 am. Because it was Thursday, we were watching a movie, Before the movie began, my friend Iulia gave a short presentation on some key features of the film that we should pay attention to and how the movie related to our time in Venice. We watched the film, “Summertime” (1955) which had Katharine Hepburn as the main role. It was a great film that elicited both laughter and sadness and that had an ending I couldn’t quite decide if I was satisfied with. When it was over, we discussed some of the symbolic and important parts of it and then dispersed for the day. (This was also the last class of the week.)

Most of us just relaxed on San Servolo for the afternoon by grabbing some lunch, chatting, and reading until around 6. That was when we caught the vaporetto and pretty much everyone from our class, along with some others from another class, went together to have dinner. We found a fantastic little wine bar that served all 13 of us by combining three or four tables together in the back. The atmosphere was great, it was a place right by the water on the other side of the island, and I was with a fantastic group of people. The meal was delicious as well. Six of us split I think two pizzas, and I had an amazing gin and tonic that had a sort of herbal taste to it.

After dinner, we went to the casino because we had heard from someone that there was a kind of dance event going on, so we thought we’d check it out. But, when we got there, granted around 9 pm, it was more like a garden party with people more dressed up than we were. So instead of staying, we just took some photos then left. I think if we had stayed later it probably would have picked up a bit more but at the time we were just a little uncomfortable being such a large group in that kind of atmosphere.

We then decided to go to a jazz bar. But when we got there, it seemed as though the waitstaff did not want us there because of how large our group was. It was a strange place too, the jazz was coming from TV screens and there were tons of bras hanging from the ceiling. So we decided to leave. By this point in the night it was around 10:15 pm I think.

We made our way through the city and ended up by the Rialto Bridge where we saw a grocery store. Some people went in and bought a couple bottles of wine and some limoncello; I waited outside with some others. After that, we walked towards Piazza San Marco and sat down on the stairs by the stores just taking in the beauty of the Piazza at night and having various conversations amongst ourselves. Before it got too late though, we wanted to catch the 11:30 vaporetto back to San Servolo.

When we arrived back at our island, some people went to bed while the rest of us sat down at a long table outside. We drank some wine and talked for an hour or so about many different things. It was a wonderful time because we were out under the stars laughing and chatting and sort of getting to know each other. Probably around 12:30 or so, we all headed off to our respective buildings and went to bed.

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Ciao for now!

 

Venice Diary- Day 4

Venice Diary- Day 4

June 7, 2017 Wednesday

I started the day with class, per usual, and we discussed Henry James’s “The Grand Canal.” After the academic part of the day ended at 12 pm, my whole class, including the professor, took the 12:50 vaporetto to the San Zaccaria stop to begin a sort of field trip. Now, the weather report predicted that it would rain, but so far the sky was sunny with only some clouds in the sky.

So, we traversed the calle of Venice until we found the restaurant we had reserved for lunch. There were about 15 or 16 of us and the restaurant was pretty small, so we took up a significant portion. We were separated into two tables, and I was sitting at the table the did not include my professor. The food we ate was delicious! Each table got 2 plates of meats and cheeses and bread along with some pickles and olives. To drink we had different kinds of water: fizzy water or mineral water. Overall, the meal was one of my favorites.

After we ate, we all took a traghetto to cross the canal. Unfortunately, the boat was only allowed to sit 14, so our professor had to wait for the next one before he could join us. As we landed on the other side, it began to rain and we still had to walk to La Salute, a famous old Church that houses the painting Le Nozze di Cana by Tintoretto. We all went to see it because this painting was referenced by Henry James in “Grand Canal.” It was beautifully painted and the information about it was very interesting to read.

When we had spent some time seeing the painting, our class split up to have our own adventures. A group of us stayed at La Salute to attend the 4 pm mass. That was a cool experience because obviously it was in Italian, but it was also in a church that visitors were passing through and some would stop to watch the mass. It was almost like being in a zoo. Anyways, mass was only a half an hour, so after, we continued on our way traveling around Venice. The rain had stopped and it was a beautiful sunny sky, the kind that only happens after a rainstorm.

We were pretty tired at this point, so we grabbed the 7:10 vaporetto and headed back to San Servolo to have dinner. After dinner, we congregated because one of our friends hadn’t been in touch with us since we left her in the church around 4 with a guy she befriended talking about art. It was 9 pm and we were worried so we emailed our professor, but then about 20 minutes later our friend finally texted us back that she had been out of wifi range so she could not send or receive text messages. We were relieved to hear from her so we split off to go to our respective rooms. I got ready for bed and then went to sleep.

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La Salute

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I just thought this was beautiful. It’s some kind of stain for art that was in the window of a nice little shop.

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Ciao for now!

Venice Diary- Day 3

Venice Diary- Day 3

June 6, 2017 – Tuesday

As usual, I started the day by waking up around eight and heading to breakfast for 8:30. I had my usual (or as usual as the past 2 days has been) breakfast of scrambled eggs, Italian bread with ham, and a double espresso. Our group made it to class for 9, and we discussed Joseph Brodsky’s Watermark in depth. In the most simplistic way possible (since we spent 3 hours talking about it, which was too little time), one of the main points was that the book is a love letter to Venice written through beautiful language and imagery.

After class, I got lunch with a few of the girls from class and we had an in depth discussion on what love is and whether or not all love is selfish. It was collegiate in the most cliche way, but it was philosophical and a fun way to pass a couple hours. When we finished lunch, a group of maybe 10 of us took the vaporetto to the San Marco stop and got off to explore the city more, but it was so crowded at the San Marco stop that 3 of the girls were left behind. So, when we arrived at our destination we waited for the others to catch up, and in that time we made reservations for dinner at a great restaurant I found in my guidebook (Frommer’s Venice Day by Day).  We started off going to the Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (a beautiful church) where we just went and quietly observed the elegance and history. I did not know that we would be visiting a church, so I was wearing jean shorts (they’re from h&m with adorable cacti on them) and was made to cover them with a piece of stiff red cloth that I transformed into a skirt.

Later on, around 6 pm, we walked down to the restaurant to see if we could be seated early, but we weren’t able to. Instead, we walked around by the Grand Canal and took photos of the surrounding area. There was one building across the canal from us that had giant white hands coming out of the water and grasping at a building. I think it was part of an art display, but it was a cool sight to see. Finally at 7 pm, we made it to dinner at La Cantina do Spade, one of the oldest restaurants in Venice that is over 500 years old. We shared a platter of chicetti between 6 of us, and I ordered a side salad because I felt the need for vegetables. For the table, we ordered 1 liter of the house white wine and 1 liter of the house red wine, which was perfect for the 10 of us to share. At the end of the meal, four of us decided to get 2 orders of tirmasu and share. I have to say that normally I’m not a tiramisu type of person, but this was so light and delicious that I couldn’t put my fork down.

By the time we left the restaurant it was around 9pm and we were pretty tired. So we hopped on the first vaporetto (which gave us an amazing view of the Rialto Bridge lit up in the dark) that would take us back to the San Marco vaporetto stop where we then had to switch vaporettos in order to arrive back at San Servolo. By the time we got back it was around 11pm and I was ready for bed. I took a quick shower when I got back to the room and then went to sleep ready for whatever the next day would bring.

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This is me on the Rialto Bridge on Monday

Venice Diary- Day 2

Venice Diary- Day 2

June 5, 2017 Monday

Today was my first day of class, so  I had to be up early. I woke up around 7:45 am, got ready for the day, then headed down to breakfast with my roommates. The restaurant place where we ate is pretty much right below us in our building, so it wasn’t a far trek to find food. I had the continental breakfast which consisted of eggs, bread, meat, and fruit along with a cappuccino. All in all not a bad way to start the day. We then all headed over to the classroom which has a stunning view of the water and the breeze gave it the perfect temperature. The class is from 9:00- 12:00 with a 15 minute break around 10:45. Because today was the first day, we had some introductions and an overview of the class for the first part. We then discussed our readings (selections from Judith Martin’s No Vulgar Hotel, selections from John Berendt’s City of Falling Angels, and Joseph Brodsky’s Watermark).

After class, a group of us girls took the 12:40 vaporetto from San Servolo to the stop at San Marco’s and decided to get lost in Venice. Some people needed to buy SIM cards for their phones, so we followed a map to the recommended place. After that, we found a crowded restaurant to eat lunch at. The eight of us took us most of the counter, and each ordered a slice of a different kind of pizza. I chose the pizza with meat on it, which turned out to be a great choice. We then just traversed along the calles looking at the various stores and just taking in everything Venice has to offer. It was hot out and we were all thirsty, so we continually stopped so people could buy some water.

Around 5 o’clock, we split into two groups of four since some of us wanted to drink spritzes and talk while the others wanted to go back to rest. The four of us who remained enjoyed our spritzes then continued to wander, eventually ending up in some kind of courtyard art exhibit. Later on, around 6:00, we decided to head back, but when we tried to get off the boat we realized too late that we had missed our stop. We figured since we had to wait another hour anyways, we might as well walk around some more. So, we found this quiet residential area/ park to walk through which was beautiful and quiet and serene. By the time we returned to the busy areas, it was time to catch our boat. But when we got to the boat stop, we realized too late we were at the wrong one and had already missed the boat. So, again we traveled around the streets to distract ourselves while we waited yet another 45 for the boat. This time, by 7:50, we made it to the boat and finally got back to San Servolo. We had dinner outside and sat and talked until 9:30, then I went back to my room to shower and do some homework before turning in for the night.

Ciao for now!

Venice Diary- Day 1

Venice Diary- Day 1

For the next month, I will be in Italy learning about the culture and taking a class on literature about Venice at the International University in Venice. As a way to preserve my memories and experiences, I decided to write them down in a travel diary along with the many pictures I will invariably take.

June 4, 2017

I arrived at Marco Polo airport around 11 am Venice time feeling exhausted, gross, and sleep deprived yet nevertheless excited. I met the representative for my college outside baggage claim where I and 12 other students waited to be shuffled off into a bus that would take us to the water. Because there was a regatta on the airport canal, we had to take a bus to the water where we then got in a water taxi that drove us to the island of San Servolo. The ride over was amazing because the view of Venice from the water is incomparable. By the time I arrived at this island, it was 1:30 and now I was not only exhausted and gross, but I was also very hot. I waited in line at reception to get my room key and then headed over to the farthest building to the room at the farthest end of the building. When I got inside, I saw three beds, each with a nightstand, a long desk with a TV, and three wardrobes, along with a bathroom. I immediately tried out the shower and emerged feeling refreshed. I said hello to my new roommates, put away my clothes in the wardrobe, then subsequently fell asleep for two hours.

When I woke up, met up with one of my friends and together we walked around a bit, saw that there was a wedding reception going on, then continued on towards the room where we and the other students would be meeting with our professors. Once there at 6 o’clock, everyone filled out some necessary paperwork, handed in important documents, and got to know the people around them. Around 7 pm, we all headed down to an airy room that opened into a courtyard and had an amazing view of the water through the windows. Here we spread out over four tables and ate our dinner. This meal was set up along a long table where you could choose from cod, octopus, stuffed pepper, risotto, eggplant with sauce in a cup, fruits, breads, and an ice bucket filled with different kinds of wine and drinks. There was green apple juice laid on the table in a clear bucket that looked really pretty. Everything not only looked great, it also tasted delicious. When  the meal was over, I took a walk around the grounds then headed back to my room where I eventually fell soundly asleep after a long but rewarding day.
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Ciao for now!