Venice: the Queen of the Adriatic

IMG_9230 Throughout the semester, some of my fellow exchange students were missing class so they could travel. Whether that be to Dublin for St. Paddy’s Day, Barcelona for the sunshine, or Prague “just ’cause” – I, myself, was guilty of the last one. But hey, when the opportunity presents itself, you take it.

Being an Erasmus (AND from outside of Europe) of course I was going to see as much of the continent at any chance I get. It was mostly towards the end of the semester, when attending class was probably the most crucial. Though, to be fair, the weather was getting warmer, school was about to end, and all those French business lectures were getting the best of me. I think I was bitten by the travel bug, and the itch for adventure and freedom was unbearable.

The whole semester, for me, was leading up to the summer after. I was fortunate enough to travel throughout the semester to new places, but I really wanted to save the best for the months to follow. When I would be free from the responsibility of school or work. In fact, with my family, I’d be re-visiting three of my favourite cities that I went to on my first backpacking trip to Europe: Venice, Paris, and London.

I had my summer travel sketched out since the end of February, slowly filling in the details into the spreadsheet I created to keep it all organized. I am very proud of said spreadsheet – I’d even get it framed, honestly.

The whole week between Barcelona and leading up to my departure from Toulouse was bittersweet, emphasis on the sweet. While the majority of Erasmus were getting ready to return to their home countries, feeling sad that their European adventure was over, I was particularly excited because mine was just starting. Plus, I was looking forward to flying to Venice because that was where I’d be reunited with my family after 5 whole months.

Before I even boarded my plane, my family was already in Italy. It was just that my flight from Toulouse wouldn’t arrive to Venice until the late afternoon on that Sunday. But our reunion came quickly enough, in all its hot and humid glory. It just so happened that southern Europe had its heat wave with at least 99% humidity that whole time we were in Venice because before I even stepped onto that plane, I was sweating. IMG_9145

I love the atmosphere that Italy creates with its culture of delicious food and open personalities. Though, I could gladly go without the heat and humidity that the summer season brings. The whole time in Venice I had to pinch myself because there was no way that I was there again, and with my family, eating gelato every day. I am so happy that they made it out to Europe while I was still there! Here I am, having the time of my life exploring this continent – and I finally got to share that with them. My dad, mom, and sister had not yet been to this side of the world, and I applaud them for trying something new. Our family vacations are usually to Hawaii – which I am looking forward to for next year’s summer vacay ;) – so its safe to say that they stepped out of their comfort zone. IMG_9180 IMG_9184IMG_9200

Although I wish I could say that gelati is the answer to everything, that wasn’t true because not even that could beat the humid Venice heat. It was shame because I almost dreaded leaving our apartment each morning/afternoon.

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IMG_9147I preferred walking around in the evening. Summer brings longer days – it’d be 9/10 at night, and the sky would still be very blue.

My favourite part of our stay in Venice was actually the gondola ride that we took on our second night around sunset.

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The story behind this photo: our gondola was entering the Grand Canal when out of the corner of my eye I see something pink fall into the water. This lady slipped and ended up next to the Rialto Bridge. She was a great sport about it though, as you can see. She even got a standing ovation from her audience at the top of the Rialto. It was her boyfriend and a kind Samaritan who fished her out.

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We started and ended at the Bridge of Sighs. Our gondolier kept trying to get my parents to kiss both times we went under it. He was very Italian.

Floating through the canals, I couldn’t help but imagine one day coming back here with my future husband. Whether that actually happens or not, what I can say is that a girl can dream. Venice is truly meant for lovers, absolutely gorgeous and oh so romantic. Even with the annoying peddlers who literally put a rose in your hand then ask you to pay for it.

To add to the surreality of being on a gondola in Venice – and not at the Venetian, which Alessandro (our gondolier) made a point to mention when he found out we were from Las Vegas – he sang “Quando, Quando, Quando” and a myriad of other songs with a bunch of Italian in them. Didn’t know half the things he was singing, but it was beautiful regardless.

Another highlight of our Venetian (not the Vegas hotel) holiday was going to the island of Burano – which is in the same lagoon as Venice.

Courtesy of the same Buzzfeed article that mentioned Colmar, I found out about Burano through that!

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According to that Buzzfeed article, the fishermen that lived there painted their houses with bright colors so they would be distinguishable through the fog. Each color represents one family, and they can’t just be any shade! It was so much fun walking around there, I could definitely spend hours exploring and taking pictures there.

I actually am inspired to decorate my future home Italian-esque. The burnt oranges, deep greens and reds – there’s something about it that makes me excited to try my shot at emulating that Venetian charm.

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It was depressing to leave Italy. It felt like a proper European holiday; no vacation to Europe is complete without a visit to this country in my opinion. With all the pizza, pasta, seafood, and gelato you can eat. Thankfully I will be making it out to Italy again this summer, to la Bella Roma! The first stop is going to be at a gelato stand, just saying.

Grazie mille, Venice! First third of our family vacation down. Next stop, Paris.

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