WHEN IN ROME
Documenting my travels across the globe
My friend Allie is here visiting me in Rome! We decided to take a trip to Venice for the weekend since it is the beginning of Carnival. Carnival is a traditional celebration that starts 40 days before Lent and I believe ends with Madri Gras. Apparently, 500 years ago Venezians wore masks all day everyday. From what I've heard from the locals and read online, Carnival only occurs now as a way to stimulate tourism. Since this was the opening weekend, it was definitely less crowded and not as exciting as it will be during the following weekends. Regardless, Venice was still beautiful and we got a good feel for what Carnival is actually like. Not too mention, I already felt claustrophobic and can't imagine being there with more than double the crowds!
The first night we were in Venice it was Valentine's day. We walked around for a bit and then chose a place to sit down and treat ourselves to dinner. Except I accidentally over treated myself. I did not realize the price of the fish I ordered was per 100 grams and ended up spending an embarrassing amount of money on sea bass. Definitely learned my lesson! After dinner we got lost trying to find the bus station back to our hostel (Did I mention I accidentally booked a hostel off the island?). It's so difficult to navigate the streets in Venice because everywhere you turn there's a building or a dead end that walks up to a canal.
Traveling alone is already teaching me a lot about myself. I found out I am pretty impulsive — hence the highly rated hostel that is inconveniently a 15 minute bus ride and another 15 minute walk away from Venice haha. Luckily, I am also adventurous and optimistic or I would be one unhappy camper. Being in this position now, I honestly think that study abroad students deserve a lot more credit for doing it all by their selves. Granted, this is basically one long vacation, but I am so grateful to have this opportunity to see Europe and experience different cultures.
The next day we walked through the main streets of Venice and shopped around for masks. The masks were insane! They ranged from cheap plastic ones, to beautifully painted paper mâché, to lace, feather, leather, metal, ceramic, and even jeweled. The streets were filled with them and several stores are dedicated to selling them. We both chose hand painted, paper mâché ones that had an antique-ceramic feel.
Later, we walked around St. Mark's Square and traveled to the top of the bell tower, San Marco Campanile. The 360 panoramic view of Venice was stunning. The perspective was above the roofs, which are all shades of red. Down in the square, I fed the pigeons while Allie cringed -- she hates them more than anything. Personally, it brought back memories of when I was younger in Venice and it was quite nostalgic.
Later we were waiting in the square for the Carnival's opening ceremonies, only to wait hours and see nothing. Either we were not in the right area or did not have the right time, but the extent of my Carnival experience was seeing a few people in costume and gawking at the artistic variations of masks. We decided to get some pizza and ventured off to St. Margherita's Square to explore the night scene.
The next morning we walked around Venice for a bit and soaked it all in. Venice is so unique because there are no roads or cars, and all the little islands are connected by bridges. It feels like a modern day Atlantis -- which Allie and I think within the next hundred years it will completely sink and actually become the Mediterranean's Atlantis. As we waited on a bridge a few minutes before we needed to catch our train, we noticed some gondole and bright colors in the distance. We ran to the bridge they were passing under and caught the tail end of the daily costume parade. Looks like we weren't going to leave Venice as complete Carnival failures! We watched the themed gondole pass by and then ran back to the station to return back to Rome. Arrivederci, Venice! It's been real. It's been fun. But I probably wouldn't say it's been real fun.
When In Rome
Two of my most cherished hobbies go hand-in-hand. Writing is my favorite way to reflect after traveling to a new country. I have kept this blog ever since I studied in Rome to share my travels with families and friends. I hope you enjoy learning about my experiences and getting a sense for my writing skills. If you have any questions, please reach out!