Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Venice and Verona

Ciao ciao!

Once again I'm a little behind on how often I'd like to be posting, but I'll chock it up to next week's impending midterms and move on. Meanwhile, what have I been up to, you ask?

Last weekend we took another API sponsered weekend trip to Venice and Verona. It was a long, dark, dreary ride to Verona and, of course, as soon as we arrived in the city the rain started to pour. Cinque Terre all over again, but at least we didn't have to sit outside on a boat for extended periods of time. We took a 2 hour walking tour of the city, obviously making time to visit Juliet's balcony, from Romeo and Juliet, my FAVORITE work of Shakespeare (I know, how cliche). Fun Fact: Shakespeare never actually visited Italy in his life, though so many of his plays are set there. After that we stopped for a tasty lunch and moved on from the city to a wine tasting nearby.

The villa we went to for the wine tasting was huge, and super old. It had 4 giant fireplaces that progressed from an evil monster to a good beast (a unicorn, apparently). According to our tour guide, the point of visiting the villa was to go through the process of "cleansing" yourself from sins and being reborn again. The backyard had a dark cave that was supposed to symbolize hell, with little caves inside (7, for the 7 deadly sins). After spending time in the "hell" cave, we moved on through the progression of the 4 fireplaces, like a typical visitor would, then finished in the villa's own personal church. In addition to the tour we had a real, professional wine tasting where they taught us exactly what to do and why we did it that way. I hate to say I wasn't really crazy about any of the wines, but it was still a great experience.

After a night in the hotel (complete with delicious dinner and breakfast) we set out the next morning for Venice. We arrived in Venice by boat, because that's the only way to get there from the mainland. The ride was gorgeous and the city was absolutely astonishing. It's like nothing else in the world and it's definitely my favorite place we've been so far. We got a tour of "the real Venice" by a guide who took us through all the backstreets, and then we were left away from where we started to fend for ourselves for 5 hours of free time. I LOVED having this much time to wander and get lost (this is the only real way to discover venice). We grabbed lunch and shopped around/explored for the rest of the day. I got some awesome glass treats (what Venice is known for) and we met up with API to return home later that night.

Since then it's been pretty much all work and no play (though I did a good job working on the bus so this week is much lighter than last). As is said before, midterms are coming up, so we're preparing for these and finalizing our itinerary for fall break (Ireland, Spain, and France, in case you forgot!) The weather has finally cooled down (some people are even saying it's too cold) but I'm loving it. I miss fall at SMC and the colors and such, so it's nice to have that start happening here. The leaves in the parks I run through are even changing colors and falling!

As for now, I'm feeling a little under the weather and am going to get back in bed for a bit. Check back soon for photos and video from this weekend (are people liking how i separate them from the posts to save space or no?) Talk to you soon!


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