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Carnevale:1 Me:0

Our overly ambitious trip to Venice

sunny 50 °F

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I can’t believe I am already on week 4 of my program, the time is flying!

This week we had to face the harsh reality that we are studying abroad… not just abroad. Because my program gives 25 days of travel, we really only have 9ish weeks of class in the semester. The structure is more like a summer school. Each class lasts about an hour and forty minutes and there are tons of quizzes and tests. My first day of class was last Monday and I’ve already had 1 quiz, 1 exam, 1 long paper, 3 oral presentations…. 2 exams this Friday…They don’t joke around here. I am really enjoying my Italian class and my visual communications class!

Carnevale started last weekend in Venice. This is a 10-day celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday and is the original Mardi Gras celebration. While it isn’t known for its beads, it has the tradition of wearing beautiful, handmade masks. They are for sale up and down the streets, thousands and thousands of them.

We tried to book a hotel for the night in Venice, but they were all booked. We were just dying to go see the celebration and were feeling pretty ambitious when we decided to go up Saturday afternoon, see the opening ceremony and enjoy the celebration all night, and go back Sunday morning at 5am… no hotel. I don’t know what we were thinking.

Venice was so beautiful at night. The streets were lined with mask vendors, people were walking around in traditional costumes and capes… it was a classy version of Mardi Gras if you can picture that. We had a wonderful time searching for the perfect masks and headed to San Marco for the opening ceremony. It was packed! There were people from all over the world around us; we could hear at least 10 different languages.

After the opening ceremony we met some people from Israel and London and decided to go exploring. This is around 10:30pm. We walked over the Rialto bridge and found this square filled with people! There were drummers dressed up like the village people, everyone was decked out in some very interesting costumes, and people were just mingling and getting to know each other. Between our group of 6 we met people from Dublin, Barcelona, Sweden, Holland, Israel, London, and Italy. We met actors, skiers, people dressed up like cavemen, and people dressed up like lady gaga…. It was such a fun experience! The square was lined with bars and live music; I really got to use my Italian too. We ended up staying in the square until about 3am, when we were so exhausted we couldn’t function.

We made our way back to the train station, only to find about 50 people sleeping in there waiting for the morning trains… I guess we weren’t the only people who thought we could stay up all night. We ended up sleeping on the cement train station floor for 2 hours before our train came. Needless to say, we learned a few lessons on this trip. But we were safe and had a wonderful time. We arrived back at Paderno around 8am and crashed for the day. No more all nighters in Venice for me.

This week is really exciting! We have a formal Italian dinner on Wednesday, which is supposed to be 5 courses and molto bene! Before we can go to the dinner, we have a European Dining Etiquette class tomorrow. Then Thursday night my friends are throwing me a 21st birthday party. They have been scheming all week, so I cannot wait! Then on Saturday… we are off to Dublin.

I miss everyone at home so much and have loved all of the updates and emails I have gotten, they mean a lot!
Thank you thank you thank you! Xoxoxoxoxo

Posted by stephgrebe 15:42 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites

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Comments

Oh what a wonderful experience!! Mardi Gras is such fun. Grandpa and I were at Mardi Gras in Rio De Janiero Brazil and had a great time. We were at Mardi Gras at Universal Studios in Orlando with Aunt Jill and the kids this past weekend, but it sure doesn't compare to what you saw and did in Venice. Stay safe, and send more updates. Love you, Grandma
P.S. HAPPY 21ST BIRTHDAY

by Lynn E Klowden

Ciao adventerous nipote. Mi piace leggere il tuo blog e piace viaggiare con voi sul web. L'amore, il nonno Ron

by Grandpa Ron

OMG I wish I were there!!!! Altho as Gram said, we had a wonderful time in Orlando. Charli played in a field hockey tournament. It was great fun. Even Auntie Cathy came! WOW your 21st birthday, that is crazy!!!!! I love you tons and tons. xxxxxxxx

by Aunt Jill

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