Monday, December 19, 2011

Final portion of fall break: Venice

The next morning, Saturday, we departed for Venice, but of course, never without some struggles.  Our original plan was to leave on the 9:30 a.m. train but that was sold out…so was the 10:30 train.  We managed to get tickets for the 11:20 train, which would get us to Venice two hours later than we wanted to.  The amount of time we would get to spend in Venice was getting shorter and shorter.  Finally after much confusion and frustration we were at the dock taking a water taxi on the Grand Canal.  While on the taxi ride, which was a beautiful ride itself, we saw a man propose to his girlfriend on a gondola below us.  I saw them snapping pictures of themselves and I saw the woman staring in awe of her new ring crying.  I obviously started crying!  It was such a beautiful sight!  We even saw a wedding take place the next day.  Lovely!

(Note: I need to learn how to pay closer attention to what says about where their hostels are because although it may say that they are located in the heart of the city, or just 10 minutes away from the center, they actually don’t mean what they say.  Our hostel was actually 10 minutes walking distance from the train station and 15 minutes by bus to the dock where all the water taxis depart and take you to stops along the Grand Canal. Ugh!)

The first order of business was to get on a gondola…and preferably for cheap.  The trick is to go down the side streets and ask the gondoliers how much they are offering for a ride.  Some of very expensive but if you bargain you should be able to get them to lower the price-especially for female students ;) My roomie Alyssa had paid 25 Euro per person when she went, however, Meredith and I didn’t try that hard and paid 50 Euro each.  There are three different types of tours you can take (basic, middle, and then the longest tour), so we chose the basic one.  The gondolier said he would let us pay for the basic and he would give us a middle level tour, which is basically 1km more. 

The gondola ride couldn’t have been more perfect (I mean, it could have been longer)!  Riding along the Grand Canal and cutting through all the small side “streets” at sunset was beautiful.  It is such a unique way to see a city and I wish I could have seen more of Venice this way.  SO worth it!!

After the gondola ride, we meandered through all the side allies.  It was like a maze-I’m not sure we ever went down the same road twice.  Everything connects in between the buildings and before you know it you come out at a different end of the city.  Venice is very mysterious in it’s own way.  We had dinner at this quaint little restaurant and then continued exploring the city at night.  We eventually reached the piazza of the Basilica di San Marco, got some gelato and sat outside at the café and took the scenery in while listening to a two-person orchestra.  It was a lovely night!

The next morning, we were on an early morning water taxi to Murano, one of three islands off the coast of Venice.  Murano is known for their glassmaking and beautiful glass products.  I was in shopper’s paradise all day long as we went from store to store looking at the exquisite jewelry and sculptures among many other glass objects.  When we first got off our water taxi, we literally stepped right into a glass shop where we got to see a glassmaker practice his craft.  That morning he happened to be making glass giraffes.  He whipped each one out in under a minute.  Absolutely incredible!  All the shops we went to were filled with bright colors and an inordinate amount of glass products.

Later on that day, Meredith and I were back on a train headed home to Perugia.  I was so excited to show her my study abroad environment.  I loved being able to see Meredith in Paris doing her thing and now it was my time to show her around my quaint, beautiful home of Perugia!  I showed her all “my” places and even got to take her out for a night on the town, considering it was Halloween, she picked a good night to stay.  It was so cool being able to have my new study abroad friends meet my college roommate.  Talk about worlds colliding!

We both had a marvelous time in Venice.  It is definitely one of my favorites cities in Italy and a place I need to go back to some day!

(Yes! Finally done blogging about fall break-seems like years ago that I actually went to these places). Enjoy the pictures!

Along the Grand Canal

Sunset on the Grand Canal

Venetian masks

Start of our gondola ride!

One of my favorites pix captured from the gondola!

Me & Mere

Aw, how romantic ;)


Basilica di San Marco at the right...

Providing some nightly entertainment for us while eating gelato...

The crowd these two guys drew that night

On the way home on the water taxi

Murano glass shop

Murano glass factory


Mere ready to go: OJ, a child of a water bottle, and chocolate

Ciao, Venezia!

Fall break provided me with the opportunities to go places I never thought possible!  I saw three countries with some of my favorite lucky am I?!?!


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