Turns out, keeping up a blog while studying abroad is much harder than I expected. The original plan was to blog 2-3 times a week relaying my daily life (it’s exciting, let me tell ya). After being here for a few weeks, I think the new goal is once a week. Hopefully that’s often enough to keep everyone up-to-date on my experiences but spread out enough to keep me sane 🙂
This past weekend, my friends and I traveled to Venice, Italy. It’s still unreal to say it. You mean I can hop on a train for 6 hours and be in ITALY?! I still don’t know if I believe that. Anyway, Venice was amazing. We boarded a 1:30 am train on Thursday night and arrived at 8:30 on Friday morning. I think the first thing we all noticed was how warm it was! It was about 50 degrees and sunny the whole weekend which was a nice change from Salzburg which is usually snowy and cold (ok, turns out that Salzburg had beautiful weather while we were gone but I’m choosing to ignore that). 8 of us rented an apartment which turned out way better than I think any of us expected! It was such a beautiful apartment located right next to a church in a very peaceful, quiet neighborhood on the north side of the city.
Friday was our day to walk around and see the sights. We hit all the major ones: Realto Bridge, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal…and it was all beautiful! Every time I turned around, there was another bridge or alley or canal that was perfectly picture-esque. I think I spent most of the day with my camera glued to my face.
Friday was also the beginning of our gelato obsession. And when I say obsession, I mean OBSESSION. Like, 7 times in 3 days. Yeah. And if I could change anything about it, I would make it 8.
Saturday was another day of sight-seeing. We had all enjoyed the Realto area so much that we went back for a little shopping. I bought a few souvenirs (Maggie Dorge and Lorenzo, I’m looking at you) and an Italian leather purse and authentic Carnival masquerade mask for myself. This was also our gondola day!! People had been telling me, “Make sure you barter the price before you get on the gondola!” so when one of the gondola drivers roped us in, I steeled myself for battle. “How much?” I asked. “80 euro for the gondola – 20 each,” he replied. I feigned that I was thinking about his response even though I knew what was coming because I had been planning it for hours. “Hmm…how about 60 for the gondola?” I countered. “Sorry, fixed price,” he said. And just like that, I gave up. I suck. But even at 20 euro, it was so worth it! It was 45 minutes of peaceful side canals and a little bit of a history lesson from our gondola driver.
Saturday night was our night to try and find the Venice night life. Turns out, there isn’t much to be found. There is one small area that contains multiple bars where the younger crowd hangs out. The 8 of us headed out with high hopes.
Now let me remind you that I am from Wardsville, Missouri. Population 1,000, one intersection, and back roads that I know like the back of my hand. Being lost in a European city at night with 7 other females on windy dark alley-ways (sorry, Mom) is not my idea of a good time. So when we hit a few dead ends, I was scared witless. By the time we found the bars I was ready to have a drink and then turn around and head home. I guess you could call it my first bout of real culture shock. After about 2 hours, a few of us were ready to go back to the apartment which was about a mile and a half walk. Confident, we headed in the direction we knew was right and walked. And walked. And hit dead ends and dark tiny alleys. And walked. Again, I was scared. After a small disagreement (not my best moment) we turned back for the bar to wait for the others to leave. We caught them just in time and the 8 of us headed back together.
Sunday we chose to sleep in and vacated our apartment around noon. We took a waterbus to the train station where we paid to have our luggage stored and then set out to explore the area around the train station. By this point, we all agreed that we had seen everything we wanted to see and were dead on our feet. It had been a long weekend of walking and exploring so we spent most of Sunday in little cafes and watched the sunset from the steps of a church across from the train station. Our train left Venice at 9:00 pm and arrived in Salzburg at 4:00 am. It’s nice to be back in our own little corner of the world! I didn’t realize that I already consider this home base until I was gone!
Overall, the trip was wonderful and I would highly recommend it to anyone! It was such a beautiful city with delicious food. Don’t worry, Venice, I’ll be back!