I have gotten a bit behind on blogging! Stay tuned for many updates and catch-up posts in the next few days!
There is truly nothing like being on the water. Every summer, my favorite place to go is Litchfield Beach; the smell of the salty ocean breeze and the deep blues of the ocean create a sense of peace (the best description is ‘tranquillo’ in Italiano) that keeps me wishing to go back throughout the year.
Traveling to Venice two weekends ago reminded me of this feeling. After a five-hour bus ride, the only way to describe the dynamic of the group (when we FINALLY stepped into the open air) was giddy. The expanse of water leading to the city was a brilliant greenish-blue, with the sun sparkling and reflecting off of the surface, making it nearly impossible to repress the urge to fling down bags and sprint towards it. The weather in Siena has been dreary; raincoats, umbrellas, and soggy feet are the norm. Clear skies and warm sunshine were a welcome change-of-pace that just added to the sheer joy of traveling to such an exciting new city. Although beautiful, Venice had quite a confusing layout, composed of what seemed to be a labyrinth of alleys, bridges, and canals. Eventually, we found our way to the Rialto Bridge, a picturesque white structure stretching across the emerald water of the Grande Canal. Along the water, a steady traffic of gondolas flowed by, operated by singing men in stripes and bright red neck kerchiefs. We had a moment to just sit beneath the bridge, our toes nearly touching the water lapping up against the sides of the canal, to take it all in.
After settling into our apartment, the search for masks began! We happened to arrive on the first day of Carnevale di Venezia, a celebration that warrants the wearing of masks, costumes, face paint, etc., beginning in mid-February and ending on Ash Wednesday. Throughout the weekend, sightings of costumes for Carnevale varied from zombies sporting very realistic cuts and gashes, to elaborate 15th century hoop skirts and powdered wigs. Stores and peddlers on every corner displayed a magnificent collection of masks of every color, shape, and size, simply begging us to join in on the fun. After perusing the overwhelming supply of warm magentas, vibrant yellows, and glittering golds (all of which left a trail of glitter on our cheeks), I finally decided on an intricate black lace one and we headed off to explore the mysterious nightlife of Venice (a slightly eerie combination of darkness and masked strangers). Our night ended wonderfully with a meal of pasta and gelato, along with a musical show in the middle of the canal, complete with a neon-purple dragon boat, which was the band’s mode of transportation. Yes, I said neon-purple dragon boat. Carnevale was proving to be full of surprises.
The next morning began as every morning should- with a shot of espresso and a Nutella crepe. After a sugar-rush and burst of happiness, we set off on a boat tour of the nearby islands of Burano, Murano, and Torcello. After an exciting tutorial on hand-blown glass in Murano, and a lace-making demonstration on Burano, our arms were heavy-laden with packages and souvenirs as we headed back to the main island of Venice. After doing a bit of exploring amidst the twists and turns of canals, our wandering brought us to an unexpected view of the horizon. The sun had drifted beneath the skyline, the light yellows and pale pinks of the sunset had just faded into the light gray of dusk. A moment later, a glowing orange moon illuminated the sky; you could feel the sharp intake of breath as we stood there in awe.
My time in Venice was magnificently colored in pastels, metallics, and neons. Bright colors bring me a certain thrill; happiness and color seem to go hand in hand. As we were preparing to leave, waiting for the last few minutes in Piazza San Marco, I found myself suddenly beneath a shower of confetti. During Carnevale, the throwing of confetti on the streets (and on unsuspecting people) is tradition. Although a bit surprised at first, I cannot think of a more appropriate ending for the trip. Satisfied, and covered in confetti, I boarded the bus back home to Siena.