Saturday, November 21, 2009

Playing catch up; Rounds 2 & 4: Visits to some of Italy’s most beautiful cities, Venice & Florence.

In the past weeks, I’ve done a far amount of traveling around Italy as well. Halloween weekend I headed to Venice with my friend, Emily, and last weekend, I ventured to Florence with another friend, Carly.
To go to Venice, Emily and I got up bright and early on Friday morning, following the J-Force Halloween party the night before. (I was Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s for Halloween, if you’re curious.) Since we had been up late the night before, we were both pretty tired, but we had a 6 hour train ride to get to Venice, so we had plenty of time to rest on the way there!
After arriving in Venice (at sunset!—so beautiful), we checked into our hostel, found a place to eat dinner, and then wandered over to St. Mark’s Square, where we spent the rest of the evening eating gelato and wandering around. I’ve decided that St. Mark’s is magical at night; it’s one of my new favorite places in all of Italy. Various cafes on the square each have orchestras that take turns playing music, and lots of people hang out there, and we even saw some couples dancing. So cute.
Since we were essentially only there one full day, we spent most of Saturday just wandering around trying to see as much of the Venice as we could. We started off at St. Mark’s again, where we went inside the Cathedral. It was so beautiful (like everything else in Venice)! From there, we basically just worked our way up the Grand Canal, just wandering wherever we pleased.
It was a really relaxed day overall. Besides St. Mark’s, there’s really not a lot of big sights to see in Venice; the main sight is really the town itself. Venice has to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Rome is beautiful too, but in a completely different way from Venice. Venice feels perfectly preserved; I spent half the weekend expecting to turn a corner and run into people in 16th century clothes. It’s almost eerie at times. I took so many pictures that day because every corner that I did turn seemed to be more beautiful than the last. That kind of beauty never gets old no matter how many times you see it. Emily and I literally felt like we were walking around in a painting all weekend.
We also ate a lot of excellent food that weekend and cheaply too, which is always nice. Oh, and I had the BEST gelato of my life in Venice, as per Rick Steve’s recommendation. It was chocolate mousse gelato, and it was fantastic. Emily and I finished Saturday evening at St. Mark’s again, before heading back to our hostel in preparation to get up early and head back to Rome.
Then, last weekend, Carly and I took a whirlwind trip to Florence! We made it short and quick because we both wanted to make sure we spent part of the weekend in Rome, but we still were able to fit plenty in. Even though we were barely in Florence for 24 hours, we managed to visit the Duomo, climb the Duomo, go to the Academia and see Michelangelo’s David, go through the Uffizi, eat a great dinner, get gelato, and even get some shopping in! Whew. Like I said, it was definitely a whirlwind trip, but a great one all the same.
I visited Florence when I was in Italy for 3 years ago, but it was so nice to be back there again. It reminded me of the all the reasons why I loved it so much to begin with. Florence just has such a good vibe to it; it reminds me of all the reasons why I love Renaissance history.
We also stayed in the nicest hostel EVER in Florence. It was called Plus Florence, and it was amazing. There was a pool, steam room, restaurant, bar, etc. They even gave us towels and little containers of shampoo for free (unheard of behavior for a hostel). It basically felt like a hotel, and it was approximately 16 euros a night. So fantastic.
So there’s a summary of some of my past weekend trips! I still have Egypt to write about, but hopefully that will be coming soon. That will be an epic entry, I assure you.
But for now, I have to finish up some schoolwork, and then go to bed to get up bright and early to meet my friend, Kate, at the airport tomorrow morning! She's going to be here for the rest of the week, and I’m so excited! I can’t wait to see her! :)
To the remaing adventures ahead!

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