Winter Break Part 2: Venice and Turin

Iggy Takahashi-Brummer
February 23, 2016

After arriving in Venice, we had to take a bus to actually get into Venice, since the airport is on the outskirts of the city. From there, it was a long walk to our Airbnb (we could've spent money on the bus boats, but we're poor college students Since we arrived fairly early in the morning, we had plenty of time to explore the city that day. That first day, we got pizza as our first meal (and it was delicious), then we kind of walked around our area to see what was near us. We saw a lot of beautiful views, in the canals, the old buildings, the terra cotta walls, and the weird boat taxis and boat buses.

The second day, we saw some amazing bridges near the Grand Canal, the Basilica Di San Marco (which was the most beautiful church I've ever seen, and it's a shame I couldn't take pictures of the inside-it's truly breathtaking), St. Mark's square, which included a huge tower with a view of the whole city, a museum of string instruments, and then we went to Murano, the island of glass. Murano is the home of many glass-blowers and crafters where you can find one of a kind items, including jewelry, chandeliers, cups/glasses, trinkets, and more. Each item is hand made on that island and each shop has its own signature pieces. There's even glass sculptures on the streets and on the handrails. Of course, we stopped to take gelato breaks and had fancy pasta for lunch! Venice was truly beautiful with many breathtaking sights. For me, it was a little too touristy with a few too many street vendors/scammers, like those selling fake Murano glass items or other items claimed to be made in Venice. It truly is a spectacular city, but I'm not sure how much more I would be able to explore.

We left the next morning in train for Turin, Italy. After arriving about 5 hours later in the early evening, we just decided to turn in early after making dinner at our Airbnb. The next morning, we started off a little late, but it worked out since we had two full days to spend here. The first day, we went to a church (Santuario della Consolata) whose interior was incredible, a tower (which was also a film museum) where you could see the whole city, and a large town center with many museums.

The second day, we went to a small castle (Villa Della Regina) with a great view of the Alps, and then a huge park with very interesting equipment, like gym equipment for children and a mini roller coaster for babies. All of this walking tired us out very quickly, so we turned in fairly early to play some card games and watch some Italian tv shows very similar to those on TLC. On Sunday, the last day of vacation, we hoped on a train from Turin to Paris (5 hours) and then another train from Paris to Nantes (2.5 hours), and finally arrived at home around midnight. It's really amazing how tiring sitting in a train is, but we were wiped by the time we got home.

Overall, this vacation was a blast. Each city was very different: Brussels had a rich history with war, architecture, and culture; Venice has beautiful views, fantastic buildings, and very agreeable weather; Turin was very typical, with a few spectacular points of interest, and a very real feel (read: not touristy). In terms of food, we ate breakfast and dinner at the Airbnb (usually my friend Hieu and I made the meals) and snacked and ate lunch in the city. I had no problems finding things to eat, even out at restaurants. The vegetarian selections in Italy was quite surprising. I even found vegetarian hot dogs, deli meat, chicken nuggets, and veggie patties!! There was never a shortage of food, and it still amazes me how easy it is for me to eat very well in foreign countries where being a vegetarian or having other dietary restrictions isn't popular at all. Still, my favorite city was Brussels, with Venice coming in second, and Turin last. I am so lucky I was able to experience these cities with some great company, great food, resulting in great memories and stories! Now to plan my next vacation!! Maybe the European national parks? The U.K.? Eastern Europe? European beaches? I guess we'll find out! Until next time!

P.S. There will be a post about food, I promise, I pinky promise. It's hard to find the time to go explore restaurants in the area with midterms coming up! But it's on it's way, I swear!!

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Iggy Takahashi-Brummer

<p>I&#39;m Iggy Takahashi, a junior studying biochemistry and French studies at the University of Portland and studying abroad in Nantes, France. I love baking, cooking, travelling, exploring, and of course spending time with my family and cats. I have traveled to Spain, China, and throughout the United States, and I hope to continue to do so after graduating!</p>

2016 Spring
Home University:
University of Portland
Biological Chemistry
French Language
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