Monday, February 15
venezia: is this really happening?
what a weekend.
departed on friday after ballet for venice. all the undergrads went for one night to celebrate carnevale, the italian mardi gras celebration. the train ride was four hours long, so we arrived in the mainland of venice close to 9pm. myself and six other friends managed to find our hotel not too far from the station, and also managed to sneak all 7 of us up to our rooms, which were booked only for 4 people. after changing and settling in, we took a short bus ride to venice to explore for the night.
to get from the mainland over to the area of venice that is surrounded by water, we crossed over this gigantic bridge. on the other side, was heaven. everyone was dressed in costume, street vendors everywhere selling masks and amazing food. we stopped at a burger joint (go figure, us americans can't go a month without a burger) for one of the most amazing burgers i've ever had. afterward, we roamed the streets some more, and ended up meeting up with the rest of the accademia students at this grunge rock and roll party. it was in this tiny hole in the wall, the rooms were filled with smoke and strange people. the music went back and forth between techno and heavy metal, and claire tried to start a mosh pit. i'm not sure whether it was worth the 5 euro... but it was an experience none the less.
saturday was the most incredible day in italy so far. my friend morgan and i split up from the group and spent the day shopping and roaming around aimlessly. we eventually reached the Piazza San Marco, the biggest square in venice. elaborate decorations everywhere, men and women dressed in costume who people could get their photographs with, and a huge stage in the center where a costume contest was being held. it was absolutely breath taking. i stood in the square for a solid five minutes just turning in circles and looking around at everything trying to soak it all in.
my bank account took a minor hit while in venice, but i think it was worth it. i ended up finding a real italian leather jacket, dark brown, along with a pair of western style country boots for, get this... 70 EURO. that is unheard of. a real leather jacket and boots for a little over $100. i also was able to buy myself a new scarf and an italian soccer jersey. knowing nothing about soccer, i asked the vendor if the soccer player was attractive and popular, and he said yes to both, so it was good enough for me. morgan and i also spent a good hour in this one italian store trying on clothing, and got several nice shirts for only 10 euro a piece.
while eating lunch on the streets of venice, morgan and i became somewhat of a spectacle without even meaning to. we were sitting on a bench, eating our tomato and mozzarella and drinking our heinekens, when a guy stops in front of us and takes our picture. we smile and laugh. seconds later, the guy behind him gives the thumbs up and says "good idea for a photo!", and crouches down to take our picture as well. so we humor him and clink our glasses together. within the next few minutes, we had seven or eight people stop to photograph us together on the bench. who knew being two masked american girls drinking beers on the streets of venice would be such a public attraction.
there were so many languages spoken in venice. i spoke in spanish to a few guys on the train while traveling home, and we met several english speakers out on the streets. come night time, all of venice turned into a huge party. confetti was being thrown, everyone walked around with a drink in hand, and it wasn't uncommon to stop or be stopped by others just to chat and celebrate. after spending the entire day in venice, we finally caught a train back to arezzo around midnight, getting us home at 5 in the morning. phew.
i have to say, the italians were much more forward in venice than in arezzo. after morgan and i finished dinner, we walked outside carrying our huge backpacks and shopping bags. we were immediately stopped by two italian men who asked if we needed help carrying our bags. obviously, we told them thank you but no thank you, and one guy responded with, "i am just trying to be respectable man!" we talked to them for a bit, and they were asking us to meet them later to go dancing, and the guy talking to morgan told her if she didn't see him later he would cry. italians know bullshit better than anyone else.
anywho, that was venice in a very very very small nutshell. florence next weekend to visit chelsea and deepan, very excited!