So, I will try to do a longer post about the day later, when I’m not so exhausted. But I’m going to try to sum up the night now just in case I don’t have the opportunity to later.
There was a moment tonight. Maybe it was when I was squished between Guy Fawkes, a Venetian Princess and a man with a banana costume while a DJ dressed up as Max from “Where the Wild Things Are” spun a remix of Florence and the Machine… maybe it was moshing with the black spy from Mad Magazine and Jigsaw from “Saw”… or maybe it was dancing with the giant beer bottle while Big Bird was on stage rocking out…. Whenever the moment was, it was when I really realized how lucky I was to be in Venice, experiencing my first real rave in a three hundred year old square, for Carnevale. Tomorrow is my last full day here, and we’ve kinda run out of things to do. What I’m hoping is buy some cheese, bread and wine and have a picnic on one of the islands nearby. This place has been crazy fun, and as I fall asleep with glitter and face paint, I’m truly happy with my decision to come here, to Europe, to Italy, to Rome, and to Venice for spring break. Good night, I’ll try to post something less gushy and with more details tomorrow.
So about last night….
When I last left you, we had just woken up from our nap, and were ready to go out for the night. Because of the activities of the night before, which should never be spoken of outloud again, Grace and I decided to take it easy and explore the city and carnevale sober. We were planning on just going to San marcos, but decided to ask the hostel people where we should go instead. Luckily we did, because they gave us different areas we never would have thought about. With only a quick glance at a map (one glance too many, if you ask me) we headed out. On the boat we met a nice Guatemalan woman who had lived in Venice for the last ten years. She explained to us what was actually going on in Venice on Tuesday.
After we got off we started walking. It’s a good thing we didn’t just go to San Marcos, because it was a ghost town. Ten o clock at night was the least crowded I have seen it. Sure there were still probably a hundred or more people, but nothing like the tens of thousands during the day. We started walking to the big party area, not fully understanding the directions, just knowing we had to walk straight and slightly to the left. So we took any streets going straight or slightly to the left. All of a sudden, I heard music coming from a very sketchy looking alley. We walked down the alley, which led to another, even smaller alley. This was one you had to shuffle sideways through to make sure you didn’t hit anything. At the end of that alley we came to a tiny square, where a bunch of local venetians were singing and dancing. There were two men with guitars, and everyone else was singing along. They were playing the beatles “Let it Be”, just translated in italian. It, and I’ve said this a lot in Europe, was one of the most surreal moments of my life. Finding this tiny, well off the beaten path, where everyone was just singing along (yes we joined in), everyone in costume, people leaning out from their balconies, just magical. We were going to leave after Let it Be, but then they started playing Ob La Di, and so we stayed and joined in again. I have some video from the moment, that I hope to upload when I get back to Rome. I kinda want to go back tonight, but I know we will never be able to find it again. That was probably, to me so far, the defining moment of this trip to Venice.
So after that priceless moment, we were worried that there was no way to top that moment. We decided not to think about it and kept wandering. Finally we found another square, this one much larger, with a dj and college aged students. We hung out there for a bit, but we decided to keep moving and try to find the other college party area. It was pretty early in the night, and we weren’t drinking a lot, so we were fine with moving on. It was kinda cool to see a dj and everything outside and this square, probably hundreds of years old, turned into a giant dancefloor.
We were feeling pretty cocky at this point, having not gotten lost and found where we were going so easily. So I guess it was a matter of time we got seriously lost. We knew we just had to follow the grand canal (easier said than done), but we followed it the wrong way, and walked across the island. We ended up somewhere we couldn’t find on the map, and had to ask a nice Frenchman for directions. He was kind (though wasn’t great at English…) and was a big help. After about ten more minutes of walking, we made it to an even larger square. Here was the serious party. There was a band playing, every one was moshing, lots of drinks, lots of other things, just an all out party. Problem was, I wasn’t drunk. And I had no intention to get drunk. So we watched the band. They were kinda old school, kinda punk. A cool mix, involving a cello. Very interesting. They played shout and we all danced along.
After that we decided it was time to walk back, which actually took quite a long time. We made it to San Marcos, and even saw another band, this one playing music from the Renaissance, which was a little more like what you’d expect from Venice. I got in a dancing circle, where we spun around really fast and did other dance circle things you’d see at a B’ah Mitzvah (apoligies if the spelling is wrong.). It was fun, like the rest of the night. Then we caught the boat and headed back to our hostel.
Overall, it was, like every day here, amazing. And we did it without drinking, which is an extra plus for my wallet. I can’t wait to see what happens tonight!
Second full day in Venice began on a somber note: Krys had to leave for classes at 5 in the morning, meaning our little gang of three became an even smaller gang of two. This was fine though, while we miss krys, we still had a lot of fun.
After breakfast in the hostel, we decided to do the Gallerie dell’Accademia. The trick was getting there. We got on the wrong boat, going the other way, so we decided this would be a perfect time to tour the entire grand canal. After 45 minutes and ten or fifteen stops, we got to our stop, which was supposed to only be three away from the hostel. Turns out krys was the navigational one of the group. Whoops.
We finally got to the museum and walked through it. It was pretty cool, though a lot of it was closed for renovation, so we didn’t get to see the famous da Vinci sketch, “Man with four arms and four legs”, or whatever it’s called. Everything else though was very cool. That combined with the Ufizzi in Florence means I’ve seen a pretty good chunk of Renaissance art.
After that we found a cheap cafe for lunch. In the cafe there was a map on the wall. By looking at that map, I calculated the game plan for the day: we would walk a few blocks down to the Peggy Guggenheim collection, then we would cross the boat, and walk through nearly the whole city until we got to Saint marks square (yes I’m just using it’s English name. So sue me.) amazingly, I was able to navigate the rest of the day from what I remembered on that dinky map. If you know me, you know why I’m impressed with myself. Too soon to call me The Marco Polo of our generation, but still pretty impressive.
We went to the Guggenheim. Which was just a trip, going from one of the best collections of Renaissance paintings in the world to a collection of modern art and cubism. The picassos were very cool, as were the Dali paintings they had. What I liked more about the Guggenheim is they had a little something written about each painting. It was easier to understand that way. The view of the grand canal was great from outside too.
Then came the next problem: walking to San Marco’s, completely basing our path after a tiny map I had glanced at in a cafe three hours earlier. Miraculously, i actually figured out where I was going. I was pretty proud of that.
In San Marcos we went into the basilica. Now, I have come to consider myself an expert at Italian Duomos, having been in at the very least seven main ones, and countless minor ones. I have to say, the Venetian one had more gold than any other church I had seen. The ceilings were all golden mosaics. It was very beautiful. We went up to the top, which was nice because it wasn’t too high that it was colder, but it was still above the crowd. We stayed up there for about 30 min, just staring at the carnevale crowd under us. After that, we decided to go back and take a nap. Then we were going to go out for the night.
The night will be discussed in the next tumblr post, because it deserves it’s own.
Ok, so I haven’t done this lately, but I decided it would be a good job today because I’m in Venice. So starting from the beginning:
Krys came into Rome on Friday, as anyone who follows me on twitter probably knows. On that Friday, Grace (Elizabeth B will from here on be referred to as Grace… long story) and I made sure she saw every touristy thing there is to do in Rome. Which made for a pretty exhausting day. What didn’t help was the fact that I then had to wake up at 730 AM to catch a train to Venice.
We were looking forward to the train ride. We had bought a lot of bread, cheese, wine, and potato chips. It was only upon boarding the train that we learned krys was in a separate carriage. So after twenty five minutes of silence while a couple of French hipster chicks blabbed and Grace slept, Krys and I finally decided to explore and try to find a carriage open. We did one better: we found an entire car open. The conductor even checked our ticket, and let us stay. So for the rest of the time. Grace, Krys and I drank wine, ate bread and cheese, and had a great time. When we got into Venice, our jaws dropped at the beauty. On the Bus (which was really a boat) I think each of us at one point or another was found repeating “Holy shit… we’re in Venice. Were actually in Venice. My god.” We got into the hostel, where grace and krys went to their Girls Only room, and I went to my coed room. This is the first true hostel I’ve stayed at. It certainly is an interesting experience. Grace and krys just commented that they like this place because it isn’t awkward. I like this place, but I must disagree on the awkwardness thing for my coed floor. For instance, there is no identifiable man or woman bathroom. It’s very integrated. This would be ok… But some of the showers don’t have shower curtains. So, while I found the one bathroom with shower curtains for my showers, other people don’t. That means, I open up the stall door, and boom. There’s someone in the shower. It’s…. Awk…. In …. The Hawk (inside joke). Anyways, that’s the only thing I’m going to bitch about. It’s fun, and great stories. Now, after we checked into the hostel, we went over to San Marcos Piazza or whatever it’s called. It. Was. A riot. Everyone had a drink in their hands, everyone had a mask or a costume. In fact, only having a mask would make you one of the more conservatively dressed people. We quickly each bought masks (I bought an awesome cape too!!) Then we found a (relatively) cheap pizza place, and then we tried to find a bar crawl we had heard about. We got very, very lost. Which is really what you need to do. Grace wanted to pull out a map. I refused, and krys led the way. We finally ended up at the train station, which is where the bar crawl was supposed to have begun. We were late though, so it was no longer there. We decided to find a place for a drink. I had seen a couple of Americans with the largest pints I had ever seen, and suggested going back there.
When we got there, we begun talking to the Americans. They were two US soldiers, from the Airborne division. They were stationed in Italy, and were having one last night of fun before heading out to a certain country that begins with a L and rhymes with “Fibya”. Yes, next week. They might have been fucking with me, but I seriously doubt it, the way they were talking. One of the guys was hilarious. He was cracking jokes, and making fun of people walking by. Reminded me of Brian Wilson of the SF Giants. The other guy was one of the drunkest I’ve ever seen. He literally passed out in his chair. It was basically David-hasselhoff-eating-a-hamburger-off-the-floor drunk. I would make a Charlie sheen joke here, but I haven’t really followed the story. He was drooling, and just gone. His friend started messing with him, moving his arm on top of his head and watching him try to move it, spilling beer on his pants to make it looked like he pissed himself. It was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. Like, I almost fellover laughing. I took video of him falling out of his chair, which I will post when I have good Internet. Finally the owner of the place we were at threatened to call the cops. I offered to help carry his friend, but the other guy got him, so we said goodbye and moved on. Our next goal: try to find a way to top that story. Sadly, we did not accomplish that, merely because that story was too funny to ever really top.
The rest of the night was a blur. We drank more, wandered, got lost, got found, went back to our hostel, fell asleep. I woke up in the morning and had my experience with the shower. Then I had a bowl of chocolate rice krispies, then met up with Grace and krys, who both had trouble getting up at the proper time after the night we had. We then went to piazza San Marco to start our first full day in Venice. We first saw all the people in masks and costume. I can’t stress this enough, this place is like Halloween, just 24/7. I loved the infectious atmosphere of the whole place. After that, Grace wanted to go to Doges Palace. Since no one else had a preference, we decided to start there. First impression of the place wasn’t good. You start off in a room with all these old columns, and you think that’s all you’re going to see and it’s going to be a big rip off. Then it continues. And continues. And continues. Finally, you’ve spent three hours and you aren’t anywhere near done. The paintings were magnificent, reinforcing my growing suspicion that I have become an admirer of art. We saw a beautiful (and probably famous) fresco rendition of the Paradiso. It was very large and very complicated. You couldn’t help but stare in amazement. We also went over the Bridge of Sighs, which was a little bit of a letdown, but still, when added with everything else it was worth it. One of my favorite places I have seen in Europe so far.
After that, we went to Murano. We were pretty tired at the time, and after looking at some of the beautiful glass (and, depressingly, the prices of which we can never afford), we found a quaint caffe and ate lunch and had a couple of glasses of wine while along the Canal. Right now, there’s only one phrase that I can think of to describe that perfect moment: “REALLY AWESOME.” After a full night of sleep, I feel like I can think of a better phrase then.
After that we found a soccer game to watch. I think it was a high school game, Krys theorized a local club team was playing. I don’t know, it was cool either way. Then we found an official bocci ball game to watch, which was also riveting. At that point I realized we were going downhill in sports to watch, and before we would have inevitably downgraded to lawn croquet I decided we should go back. After a nice nap on the way back, I finally got the Internet and started to type this on my iPhone. So if it seems weird, it’s because I typed this whole thing on an iPhone.
Anyways, looking toasted the future: were going to go to piazza San Marco tonight, and I heard there’s a great happy hour relatively
i realize that i havent updated the tumblr in a while, i am writing something on tuscany now. as a preview, here was one of the top ten views we had. not the best, but pretty good.
Walked home. This was my view. OF SAINT PETERS. Suck it, Robert Langdon.
Prob. my all time favorite show!
On a note not concerning Italy, I am sad that my eight year old self didn’t have a chance to grow up watch and enjoy show, yet delighted that my twenty one year old self can today.
I don’t know if that’s worded right… I’m tired. Good night.
(PS, I also think Carthage should be destroyed)
Got my goals done in Florence, and then some. Started the morning with a hot shower. Then we went over to Uffizi. This I wasn’t originally excited about… I hadn’t heard of it and I’m pretty sure it didn’t have David in it. But it turned out to be awesome. It’s a large Medici Palace with the Medici family’s art collection inside it. More busts I will ever see again. Augustus, Julius, Tiberius. Others. From there we met up with some people and had a lunch consisting of a mozzarella and tomato panini, fanta, and gelato. Florence gelato is better than most gelato in a country already known for it’s gelato. Which is saying a lot. It’s like Michael Jordan on the dream team. The other players are all very good, but MJ is soooo much better. This will hopefully be the last early 90’s basketball metaphor I make in this post.
After that we went to The Duomo. The duomo is very cool, because it’s actually a dome inside a dome. Yes, I’m trying to reference Inception. Because that’s all I could think of. I was so excited I kinda went ahead of everyone else. Which made for some great photos of me on the other side of the inner dome, which is a plus. Except then I went the wrong way and started going down. I realized my mistake about fifty steps down, and had to turn around and walk back up. So that was a minus. But I did finally make it to the Top of the dome. The view from up there is one of the most extraordinary views I’ve ever seen. I took some video and pics of it, which I’ll try to upload later today.
Then I was struck with one of my patented Brilliant Plan: taking a picture of someone on the ground from the top. I quickly explained my idea to Elizabeth Simpson and ran down the dome. Which, thinking back, probably wasn’t the smartest idea, but luckily no one was in the way and I didn’t fall at all.
Once I got on the ground, I had one of the most improbable meet ups ever. Like, this one takes the cake of randomness (I really would eat a cake of randomness… It’d probably taste like a mix of strawberry, chocolate, and rattlesnake… Very random.) I was on the ground staring at the top of the done yelling in my phone when a guy came up and said “excuse me, do you remember me?”
My first thought was he was this guy who lives near me in Rome who keeps hitting on me and asked me to facebook him (I ignored that guy but I keep randomly seeing him on the bus.)
But then he said “from catholic university?” I was still stuck. Maybe a college dem that I knew?
"Jimmy Hendry’s friend from the Rally to Restore Sanity." That was when it clicked. He had stayed on our couch. We watched one of the Bourne movies or something. Now, four months later, thousands of miles and an ocean away, on a little square in Florence, we met again. We shook hands and talked. He’s studying abroad in a small italian town. There are creepy pictures of us meeting from top of the duomo. We decided we were going to try to meet up for carnivale.
Anyways, that was the random, improbable coincidence of the semester.
Right, back to the old stuff: to make these paintings and sculptures even more fun, we started attempting to take pictures of all of the famous art. If you haven’t attempted to sneak pictures of famous art while security guards yell at you, I would definitely recommend it. I was yelled at three or four times, but I got great pictures of very famous art, including the bust of Augustus, and the self portrait of Raphael. My greatest challenge, of course, was The David.
It was probably just as mesmerizing as everyone says it is. It’s huge, and nearly prefect. Elizabeth claims that the head is out of proportion, but it’s still very detailed. As we were watching it, someone else was trying to take a picture, and the guards got up and walked up to him yelling. We used this as the perfect distraction and got a couple of perfect pictures of him. It was pretty cool.
Now I’m going to a guys night out dinner thing. Then maybe going to a pub crawl? Not really sure if that’s going to work out, but it’s going to be awesome.
Until next time,
(PS, I also think Carthage should be destroyed.)