Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Venice: Canals of Gelato and Pizza.

Getting to Venice was an adventure in itself. The bus ride from Linz took us through the Alps. Mind you, not over the mountains, but through them. I didn’t expect it at all, but there are countless tunnels carved into the difficult landscape. Most tunnels were short; we would cross those within a few seconds. Some were much longer and covered many kilometers. (I still have no idea how long a kilometer is, but it’s the only thing I got over here.)

I have always been a fan of riding on trains, and scoffed a little when I realized that we would be taking a bus everywhere, but it has its own charm. On a bus you get to see the landscape at a slower pace and get rest stops every once in a while to take it all in.

We got to the other side of the mountains and drove through the flat lands of Italy. The landscape was very different and actually reminded me a little of Florida. We had our lecture on the Italian style of arbitration and then got dropped off at the train station to take a short ride to the Venetian Islands.

I figured Venice would be the opposite of everything I had heard about or seen in pictures. Pessimistically, I thought that there were maybe one or two canals that people used to get around. And it would be choked with tourists on gondolas. Luckily, I was wrong.

Venice is truly a city in the ocean. There are scores of canals everywhere. There are no cars allowed in the city, so everything is done by boat. I mean everything: transportation (duh), deliveries, and even construction. It’s really a sight. Believe the hype, visit Venice.

Our hotel was actually a tiny bed and breakfast... that was too small for us. They put us up in some apartments a few minutes away in a quiet part of the city. Apparently people have agreements with certain hotels so that guests stay in their open apartments when the regular hotel is full. It makes sense because Venice is not exactly experiencing a lot of development this century.

On the first night a couple of us went out to find some excitement. I found it 30 feet from our apartment: a pizza/ gelato counter. It was heaven in your choice of the best pizza in the world or the best ice cream in the world. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, “pizza and ice cream can’t be THAT different in Italy.” And I encourage you to stay in your bubble. Please continue talking about how the pizza that I’m eating is not that great. No go ahead.

More for me J

We soon realized that it’s extremely easy to get lost in Venice. There is no rhyme or reason to the layout of the streets. Plus most of the streets are only wide enough for two people to walk by each other and brush shoulders. For the rest of my time in Venice I took good mental notes of every corner I turned so I could find my way back.

We found a square not to far away that was lined with bars and caf├ęs. The first place we went into was sporting some alt-looking kids and Bob Marley on the music box. We immediately ordered drinks. After talking to some folks in the bar, we learned about some other bar or club or something on the other side of town that had some live music. We got some sketchy directions and set off. After some supplementary tips along the way we came upon exactly what we were looking for... sort of.

The name of the bar was right, but it wasn’t a bar at all. It was a street party with hundreds of people and a decent stage with great music! We partied a lot harder than we thought we were going to and it was OK. We were in Venice, we were at a street party, and we were getting class credit to be there.

We found our way back to the apartment and I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Part II comes tomorrow. 

How do you get through this?


With this.


Freaking castles. I looong for a bungalow. 


Taxi!


Ever parallel park a boat?


Gelato and pizza...


Get in mah belly!




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