I have officially been abroad for over a month, and can say that other than contracting a form of the Italian flu/common cold combination, I am having the time of my life. Pro Tip: load up on vitamins and sleep while being abroad. Just because you're in a different country doesn't mean that your body stops needed the essentials. While studying abroad is clearly a time to pursue academic interests and remain healthy (still working on this), it is also a time to see the world. So, this past weekend, Emily, Anna and I decided to jet off and have a girl's weekend in Venice. We left for Florence on Friday afternoon, and spent the night in Hostel Veronique. Although it was challenging to find-- we asked four different people for directions who told us four different locations-- it was roomy and clean and got the job done! We spent the evening eating our weight in pizza, as usual, and then walked around Ponte Veccio window shopping and enjoying the gorgeous view. There was live guitar music, so we all sat on the bridge and just enjoyed a pleasant evening in Florence.
The next morning we met our Florence For Fun group at the train station at 7:30am, and took a 2.5-3 hour long bus ride to Venice. Venice is made up of 118 islands connected by a series of bridges, so the only way to manuver around is either by foot or by boat. Since we took a ferry to Piazza San Marco, we decided not to take a gondola ride, but if I were to go back I definitely would work a ride into my schedule. We spent the day wandering around the little islands and discovering countless neighborhoods filled with shops, cafes, and of course, picturesque bridges. Venice is much larger than I expected, and is like no other city that I have ever been to. The colorful buildings and narrow water ways provide a constant sense of romance and overal serenity. I would consider Venice to be the jewel of Italy.
I highly recommend using Florence For Fun if you want a practically stress free way to travel to Venice. The employees are very organized and showed us all of the Venetian highlights, including a glass blowing studio where we saw a "master" at work. Who knew that Venice was famous for glass sculptures? However, it was a very packed, full day. In total we took seven methods of transportation just on Saturday: a bus from Florence to Venice, a train, a ferry, a train back to the bus, the bus back to Florence, a train to Empoli, and then a bus back to Siena. Even though it was an exhausting day, it was a great way to see the highlights of Venice, while still being able to have Sunday back in Siena to recover and prepare for the upcoming week. Next weekend is Florence, and then IES Abroad's culture trip to Bologna!
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<p>I am a current junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Italian at Sewanee: The University of the South. I am a proud member of Kappa Delta sorority, and am a coxswain for Sewanee's crew team. In my free time, I enjoy kayaking, reading, going for runs, and playing with my dogs.</p>