Thursday, May 27, 2010

Not all Gondoliers sing

**This is the post from last Sunday. Yes, I know I am behind**

I was thinking today on the train to Venice just how crazy it was that only eight days ago I was at home in Georgia. Eight days. That isn’t long at all, and yet in those eight days I have probably done more than I have ever done. I’ve traveled from Istanbul, to Verona and to Venice. I’ve adjusted to different currencies and tried to at least say ‘thank you’ in the proper language when a waiter brought me my food. This whole week has just been a whirlwind. Most days – when I think back on the morning activities – they seem like they happened at least the day before. So this trip seems like it has lasted forever. While I am sitting here writing this in my apartment in Verona, I really do feel like I have been here a lot longer than just three days. I feel like our fridge has always been stocked with the bare minimum (pasta, wine, fruit and nutella) and that my feet have always been sore from walking miles a day just to get around. I like the feeling though. While it isn’t settled, it certainly feels natural – maybe I am cut out to be a world traveler after all? My five year old self would have been so proud.

Another thing is that it feels unreal that now I have actually been to some of the places that I have only talked about for as long as I can remember. I know I am there when I am there – but on the train home I start thinking, “Wow, I’ve been to Venice.” And yes, Venice was today’s trip.

A little about Venice:

This city is beautiful; I don’t care what anyone says about it. I absolutely loved it. After a late night of celebrating Inter Milan’s victory against Bayern Munich (which is quite a story in itself), Kristy, Emily, Karli and I woke up bright and early to catch a train to Venice (which is about an hour and ten minutes from Verona on a high speed train). We arrived in Venice around 11:00 in the morning and the day began.

The lovely thing about Venice is how easy it is to just walk the city. There are signs posted on the buildings everywhere pointing you to the main attractions, like Piazza San Marco, so all you have to do is pretty much get lost in the city and follow a sign here and there. This is exactly what we did. After a brief stint of trying to follow the maps in our Italy Guide Books we ended up getting advice from a fellow tourist to just “follow the yellow signs and get lost.” To our happy surprise, this worked out wonderfully. We had a full day of exploring winding roads in between buildings older than I can imagine. There would be an occasional glimpse of blue or a putter from a boat hurrying down a canal and then it was back to the brightly colored mask stores and sparkling blown glass decorating storefront windows. I have never seen a more beautiful and unique place.

The four of us took a Gondola ride within the first hour. We asked our Gondolier if he sang, and he just laughed at us. But nevertheless, periodically he let out a little “la la la” from his post on the back of the Gondola.

The side streets were incredible, but by far the most beautiful thing I think I have ever seen was Piazza San Marco. The square itself is lovely, but the basilica…words just can’t describe it. I did almost have a tourist breakdown in the middle of the square though when we realized that we weren’t allowed to wear shorts into the church. All four of us were wearing shorts. After that realization we swiftly donned our cardigans as skirts and made our way, laughing hysterically, through the immense line, eventually getting into the church. But for anyone planning a trip, I would recommend pants. There’s no way to avoid looking like a tourist when you are wearing a sweater around your legs.

Anyway, Venice is lovely. I fell in love with yet another place. I love traveling. And now I am rather sad that classes start tomorrow.

A view of a side "street," just off of the Grand Canal.

One of the seemingly hundreds of mask shops lining the paths in Venice. Most of them were hand painted and absolutely lovely.

This is a view from our Gondola ride. We went through many of the small streets awar from the busy Grand Canal. Along the way (other than the sights) we saw at least a dozen water taxis and a couple of water police.

These were some of the yellow signs that we followed throughout the day...although this one wasn't so helpful, haha.

The four of us on the Gondola ride.

Here I am in front of the Basilica. Unfortunately, some of it was being renovated, but you should Google it, haha.

And this...this was our most beautiful attire to get into the Basilica. We were just trying out a new style amongst the stylish Italians.

A view of the edge of Venice from the end of San Marco.


  1. Ah, the creativity of youth! I would have just bought a pair of slacks. I'm so glad you are having the time of your life, Emily! Enjoy!

  2. Emily! I loved Venice too! I was there exactly a year ago for choir tour with UGA, and we SANG IN ST. MARK'S BASILICA!! For Mass. It was breathtaking. And hahaha...we even had to change under the main know, St. Mark's crypt! Hello, Mark, how ya doin'?

    Anyway, I'm living vicariously through you! Have a fantastic time!

    Who's your Strat Intel prof? I just took 4440 in the Spring.

  3. This is so funny! As I was reading tonight's entry, I thought I should contact David to tell him about your blog. And, here's David already!

  4. yay finally picture of you! love the skirt idea haha :)

  5. Look, Keats. Pictures of Emily. *shows Keats* She's really there, Keats -- she's not in her Athens [Ga] dorm pretending to be there.

    My cats and I read your blog.

    I love these pictures -- and I have heard sayings about the "light in Venice" -- is it true? The colors are truly magnificent (a Wingate word).

    "tourist breakdown" -- I love that expression -- it's much better than saying " ugly American tourist temper tantrum."

    Glad you gals were resourceful enough to figure that out about using your sweaters -- good thing you are a tiny American -- if it had been I, I would have needed to be carrying a pup tent. Cardigan? Eh. Not even close.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.