Venice for Carnival and Assis

23 Feb

Apologies for the late blog, I have been extremely busy! I feel like a lot has happened since I last wrote. I went to Carnival last weekend in Venice. I went with my 3 other roommates, Alex and Renee’s friend Nalina. We left on Friday around 5 for the train station. My friend Nena (the one who studied abroad in Zionsville) got us at the train station around 10 at night. We accidentally got off at the wrong station but we were able to get back on and we’re there in good time.

Poor Alex had quite the struggle getting there. She has a rail pass and therefore takes the faster trains and not the ones that we usually take. The lady had told her that it would be fine to get on the train and that she would have no problem. She got there it was sold out. She had to wait a couple of hours and pay extra for a train she already paid for. Once she got there her train was delayed 70 minutes. Once she got there finally she had quite an interesting experience with one of the water taxi drivers. He took her out into the middle of the water, turned off the boat, and told her how “bella” she was. Eventually we were able to find her at 12am.

Nena was a great hostess she showed us all of the great spots to go. Because she is a student there, she knows all the places that the young people hang out. The first night we went to this “rave” like thing. People were dressed up in crazy costumes. We met all of her roommates, which was really cool because they were very Italian, and didn’t really speak any English. When we were in her apartment on Saturday it was interesting to see them all in their own culture.  During the day we did some sight-seeing. It was absolutely beautiful. I had zero expectations about the city because I wasn’t sure what it was like. The amazing thing was that there were zero cars and the streets were all so tiny. It was interesting to see how beautiful all the buildings were when knowing how they were.

On Saturday we decided to do some sight-seeing even thought it was the busiest weekend of the year (we still had to). We climbed the bell tower that looked out over the entire city. We could see all the islands, which was beautiful. It was also so cool because we could see all the partying and festivities going on in the Piazza below us. Once we got back down and into the festival we wanted to see all the cool costumes. People from all over come and wear their infamous Carnival costumes. They can be up to 7,000 euro! They look like old fashion outfits that the wealthy people would wear. There were also really comical outfits. Some of them reminded me of Purdue’s Breakfast club outfits. I bought a really cool carnival mask that was pink and gray that I decided to wear during the day. We went back to Nena’s apartment to get dressed and ready to meet up with her friends. Her and her friends dressed up as Desperate Housewives (so funny). Once we got ready to go we went into a famous Piazza that had a live DJ. We danced and got to see all the interesting costumes! After awhile we decided to go onto one of the bridges where it wasn’t as crowded. We met a bunch of different guys from around the Venice area that were very nice and fun. This one that I became friends with is from Verona (the town where Romeo and Juliet were from). We decided to head back because it was getting cold.

The next day we did some more shopping and walking around the city. We went into the famous Roman Church there. We walked up and down the river, which was absolutely beautiful. I told myself that when I come back I want to have a dinner in one of the gorgeous restaurants on the canal. We unfortunately didn’t get to do a Gondola. Our train was leaving around 8 so we had to leave for the train station at 7:30. When we got to the train station we were SHOCKED at how unbelievably crowded our train was. We tried to get on, but we literally couldn’t. It looked like the titanic! Kids were falling out and screaming because they were so crammed. People were shoving their friends in the doors. It was the busiest weekend of the year and of course they overbooked the train. We were yelling at people to move down when we could see they had room, but of course no one could because people were piled onto of people. IT WAS OUTRAGEOUS! So we found out that we could get a train from Bologna at 3am, which we decided to do. We hung outside the train station where they were having parties because so many people couldn’t get on their trains (haha). Then we went towards bologna and decided to “set up camp” in the best Western Lobby. We got a couple of dirty looks but consistently kept buying stuff so we had a reason to stay there for a couple of hours. Once we got to the train station we were so slap happy and just wanted a warm place to sit. The funniest part of the trip was when Gina yelled “WAITING ROOM-I SEE A WAITING ROOM”. So we started running towards it and saw a sign/stick figure with a lady crossing her legs, staring at a clock with her luggage, and Renee pointed to it and said “Scusi sir, where is that, where can I be her”. We sat there crying laughing for about 10 minutes.  We then waited in the waiting room with some people that looked rather sketchy. One of them kept trying to ask for Nalina’s pillow.  We finally got home in time to catch the early morning train in Firenze where I got an hour of sleep and went to class at 8:30, which was totally worth it because it was a great weekend.

This week I have been trying to plan spring break, which is next weekend. It’s been a little stressful because a lot of people are doing their own things but I finally decided that I am going to go to Amsterdam for the first few days of break and then to head to Spain for majority of the break. There’s a large group of girls going so that will be a lot of fun! I’m so excited! 

Because it’s been a pretty stressful week because of trying to plan everything for spring break, trips, midterms this coming week and just growing as person in a new place, I decided to take a relaxing day trip by myself to Assisi Saturday. My church at home is called St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church and the town of Assisi’s full name is San Francesco di Assisi. I thought it would be a great day trip by myself because I would be able to see what I wanted to do and also reflect on my experience here and reflect on my personal grown here. I got there at about 2:30, got off the train, and it started hailing. I thought I would be able to just walk to where I needed to go, and yes I probably would have had a glorious time had it been warm out but I was SOAKED. I was walking up the hill to the Basillica di Assisi with no umbrella, a tweed coat, and boots with a hole in them. I eventually got to the top and was freezing and soaking wet, I knew I was going to have to buy all new clothes. I walked up and down the hill to find a coat and jeans. I eventually found a new raincoat, umbrella, jeans, and socks. I changed and went into the church. The church was so gorgeous. The church had his tomb in it, which had been moved from the place he had died into the tomb 2 days after his death. I sat in the pews just to look at all the artwork and his tomb, which was beautiful too. They also had relics of St. Francis to prove he was a true saint. He wore certain tunics to show what part of society he was from, documents, and an ivory gift from Africa to show he was a hero to them.  St. Francis was part of a very wealthy family growing up and when he was 23 he decided to give up all his possessions and live a life of “pace (peace)”. He decided to give up all of his possessions and live in the wild with the animals and teach people around the world about Christ’s peaceful ways.

It was interesting to see the stores in this town, because they were (as we would call it) hippie. The whole town was extremely free spirited. The music in each of the stores was a little trippy, and the clothes they were trying to sell me when I was soaked, were out of this world.  I got something to eat inside the Ristorante San Francesco right outside of the Basilica. So after that I decided to catch a cab to the station to catch my train at 7:44. I got there and realized it was in fact not at 7:44 and it had already left. This man asked if I needed help as I looked a little confused, and had told me there weren’t any left until the morning. He was very nice and helped me look up the different train times and pointed out that I could take one train to Terontola and then catch a train to Firenze. I was nervous because I had never done this before. I got on the train and was lucky because the guy on the train was very nice and told me that there would be a train there towards Firenze at the next station. I got off and there was the train heading towards Firenze. I was very lucky because that train was supposed to have left 15 minutes prior. I got home just fine and had a great day trip by myself as well as gained myself a new outfit!

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One Response to “Venice for Carnival and Assis”

  1. Jane Goergen February 24, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    Do you have pictures of your new outfit?? 🙂

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