Falling for Italy Part 3: Venturing in Venice

Alright. Here we are. The final part.

IMG_1525You know, honestly, I don’t have a lot to say we did. That’s not to say that we didn’t do anything, just that Venice doesn’t have as much STUFF to do as, say, Rome. That’s okay, though, because it was so beautiful it was enough of an adventure just walking around.

Of course, we did do the requisite tourist things, IMG_1537like San Marco’s. This is basically a big square by the water with the biggest “tourist attractions,” which are a church, a tower and an astrological clock. You basically stand in the middle and turn on your heel and BAM you’ve seen it all. Well, I mean, you can go in–and the church is beautiful oh my god–but it’s not enough for days and days, like Rome.

IMG_1548Another thing you can’t escape without is, of course, a gondola ride, which we also did. No, our gondolier did not sing, but that’s fine. It was meditative to ride through the canals. I got to sit in the front of the boat and just watch us move forward. It was weird to wave up at the people on the bridges, taking touristy pictures of us like we’d be taken earlier in the day.

There are, of course, the important Venice bridges, but IMG_1554honestly I didn’t take much note of them. Like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, they’ve just been taken over by sellers and tourists and aren’t much fun. I’m not even sure I have any real pictures of them. I’ll just hand you another picture of gorgeous Venice.

IMG_1593One of the things we did go and see was the Peggy Guggenheim Museum right on the Grand Canal. It houses one of the best modern art collections I’ve ever seen. Picasso, Ernst, Pollock and more are just right there, hanging out, in a space that continues to remind you it also used to be Peggy Guggenheim’s house. (She’s actually buried outside in the sculpture garden.) Along with the wine tour, it might have been one of my favorite things that we did!

Honestly, I don’t know what else I could day about the

The scarf is mine from Florence. Not the canal.

The scarf is mine from Florence. Not the canal.

individual places. Those are the highlights of the things we did, the material things. I got a lot of presents for people and even grabbed a couple of things for myself.

10730847_10152785446978631_3772624663905662044_nI titled these blog posts “Falling for Italy” because, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure how I was going to take this trip. I wasn’t opposed to Italy, of course, but I wasn’t as drawn to it as some of the other people I traveled with. I can say with confidence that Italy won me over, heart and soul. I do wish I had been able to actually communicate, but besides the language barrier it was a gorgeous, lovely place to take a vacation in and I enjoyed every single second of it. I’ve seen things that I never imagined I would, stood next to things I’ve only seen in textbooks and learned a bit about myself along the way. What more could you ask for, really?


Falling for Italy Part 1: Running in Rome

IMG_1316Better late than never, I’m writing about fall break in Italy! I’m doing this in a three part series, because there was SO MUCH THAT HAPPENED, starting at the beginning, strangely enough. The beginning would be Rome, where we literally hit the ground running!

I don’t think a person can be prepared for how MUCH there is in Rome. IMG_1333There are people, there are ruins, there are just things everywhere. Our plan for Rome was literally taking one of those tourist maps and jumping from place to place as far as we could go.

10689857_10152770759278631_2372305428764677970_nOne thing about not being prepared was making a faux paus on our very first day. We happened upon a church that we wanted to go in, but we were not dressed up to the dress code. (You could see my shoulders, and my dress did not cover my knees. [It was over 80. How anyone in there was wearing clothes I don’t know.]) A very angry church attendant told us that “this was a church, not a garden” but apparently this happens so much that these white mesh scarves are supplied so you can properly cover up.

Eventually, our wanders led us to a destination we had actually planned: The Coliseum. IMG_1350Honestly, I hadn’t expected to be wowed by it as much as I was. I certainly wasn’t expected for the sheer size, for one–I don’t think anyone ever can be. But there is also a certain majesty when you stare at it and realize how much work went into crafting just one small section. Looking down in the pit was also chilling, but it’s mediated a bit by the fact that the entire underbelly is now run by the cats of Rome.

IMG_1377Admission to the Coliseum also gets you into the Roman forum beside it, which is basically just a bunch of ruins in the same place. Like, I can’t explain to you how many. We were all so tired by the time we exited the Coliseum that we didn’t have time to do it properly, but boy did we stare. ROME HAS SO MUCH STUFF. Anyways…

On the second day, we went out to Vatican City.IMG_1388 We were lucky enough to stand there while the Pope came to his window and blessed the crowd. I didn’t understand a word of it because it was in Italian, but it was one of those times where understanding at the sentence level wasn’t important. I’m not religious, but I respect this Pope immensely and I was honored to be in his presence.

IMG_1404We couldn’t do any of the museums or anything because it was Sunday, so we wandered back around to places like the Piazza Navona and then, of course, the Pantheon. Again, just walking was amazing. Rome seems to take it’s amazing amount of history for granted, in a way. We ended up lost a little bit towards the end, and wandered past the house of the Italian President and the sadly closed Trevi Fountain.

On our last day, we went back to Vatican City in order to do the museums. Read: We IMG_1414wanted to see the Sistine Chapel. However, this experience was nothing like what we had had the day before. In the museums, they pack people in like sardines and there is a souvenir stand at every corner. In the Chapel itself, there is a speaker specifically to say “SHH” to all the disrespectful tourists packed in closer than the Central line at rush hour. Don’t get me wrong, it was all beautiful and I’m glad I went, but I couldn’t help but be disappointed.

We did so much stuff in Rome that I could barely contain it in one blog post, but there are the highlights! Stay tuned for next time when I talk about Florence!