After finally settling into Florence, starting first day of courses and being with my 4 other roommates, a sense of relief washed over me. I visited Florence last summer with my family but being here without them is a much different experience for me. I’ve been reminded that I LOVE Italy, especially Florence, more than I can remember which makes me so excited for our next month here.
This weekend was an optional weekend trip to Venice with other students in the program. Two of my roommates went on that trip and then my other two roommates and myself, decided to visit Venice for the day on Friday and have the rest of the weekend in Florence. I had never been to Venice but I’ve always heard amazing things about it. So, we booked our train rides there and back and decided that we would make a plan as we went along through our day.
We woke up Friday morning, got some coffee and breakfast and then found the train station (which was much easier to find than I anticipated). We coincidentally were on the same train ride there as the rest of the program who decided to go on the weekend trip! I found some comfort in that in case anything went wrong. The train ride was about 2 hours and I listened to music and luckily had a window seat where I could view the countryside the entire way there. It was very relaxing. We got to Venice, walked outside, and I was immediately in love with the city.
Our view as we stepped out of the train station
The weather was PERFECT: about 70 degrees (F), no humidity, a slight breeze, no clouds in the sky and sunny. This immediately set the tone for the day and put me in a good mood. We wandered around for a little and discovered the many bridges, restaurants and side streets of Venice. I actually love to just wander around and take a look at what’s around me so this was a treat in itself.
We then got hungry and wanted to meet our two roommates on the weekend trip for lunch so the three of us (my two other roommates and myself) walked back closer to the train station and found the cutest restaurant to eat at. The restaurant was called Ristorante Roma and our table was right next to the water (yay)!
Our original plan was to order drinks and wait to order food while we waited for our two other roommates but we got so hungry we ordered drinks and food without them (oops). I heard that Venice, and Italy in general, is famous for Aperol Spritz which I had never had before. We ordered a glass for each of us and I enjoyed it a lot better than I expected! It was kind of strong at first but drinking it as I ate my meal made it much better. We each ordered what sounded like amazing food, and I was proven right. I got the Tagliatelle Alfredo and wow, my expectations were exceeded. THE PASTA WAS SO FRESH AND THE ALFREDO SAUCE WAS SO AMAZING I COULD SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS! It was the perfect portion size too-not too big, not too small, just right. I was so satisfied with my day so far and we still had so many hours left to explore. As our other two roommates came and ordered food, we ordered a bottle of champagne to celebrate the amazing day we had thus far. (Side note: across the water from us was what seemed to be a private party and there were a bunch of men and a DJ who were obviously drunk. There was one man who kept jumping on the railing and yelling at boats and pulling his pants down to reveal his butt. He also shouted “I LOVE YOU” across the water to us which made us laugh. It was a memory I’ll remember for awhile).
After we paid the check, we realized we couldn’t leave Venice without a gondola ride! We immediately ran over to where the gondolas were where we were greeted by Mario, our soon to be gondolier. The gondola ride was going to be about 35 minutes long and was 80 euros total (which isn’t bad at all for the five of us to split!). We got on board and asked Mario about being a gondolier and of course took some pictures. The ride was so peaceful; the water was beautiful, the architecture was beautiful and the bridges were beautiful. It was all so surreal to just look at everything around me as we were on this gondola and it reminded me how lucky of a life I have. The 35 minutes went by pretty quickly but I’m glad I experienced something that Venice is so well-known for.
We then walked on the other side of Venice that we hadn’t explored yet. We visited many of the famous Murano glass stores where I bought my mother her birthday gift (it’s a glitter glass wine stopper), but looking at all of the glass blew my mind. I couldn’t grasp the concept of someone actually making all of it through blowing the glass. We also looked at the architecture, visited the local market, viewed some clothing boutiques and even a grocery store! We learned that our time was soon coming to an end and we had to walk back to the train station to ensure we didn’t miss the train.
As we walked back to the train station, I reflected on my day. I didn’t want to leave this place-it was truly amazing. Everyone we met was so nice and the city was crowded with people yet it was so quiet. We walked A LOT but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I was sad our day was ending in Venice but I think we got to experience a lot of it in under 12 hours. We boarded our train, had some technical difficulties along the way, and finally got back to Florence around 9:15 PM, but being in Venice for the day made up for all of that.
Venice, you will be seeing me again. It’s not a ‘goodbye’, it’s a ‘see you later.’
Until my next adventure.