Monday, April 25, 2011

boats, baguettes, and bland alliterations... Venice!

Warning: A person who has been forced to eat Spanish food for the past four months wrote this blog. It will contain large amounts of reference to food that most people have the opportunity to eat everyday. You have been warned.

Eve and I spent these last few days in Venice, Italy, which I have to say has probably been my favorite trip, although it is hard to say with Morocco in the running… not.

The Thursday before leaving I didn’t have time to go home for lunch due to group projects. This was kind of a big deal because lunch in Spain is similar to dinner in the US—it’s the time of day the family comes together at home for some downtime. In Spain it’s so expected all of the stores close (yes, those siesta rumors are kind of true). As soon as I walked in the door for dinner around 9:30 Mañola had me in her arms. She wouldn’t let go of me as she started screaming (don’t forget she’s hard of hearing), “You leave tomorrow! I’m going to miss you!” She then started beso-ing (those European kisses, yes also a true rumor) my cheek as I flailed around with my giant backpack. My cheeks turned pink with the warm feeling that rose from my stomach.

Friday morning our plane left Seville at 6:30 am, so we were pretty tired when we got to Venice. We found our way to the hostel we rented for the first night and were pretty thankful right away to only be staying there for one day: Clara, the hostel-owner, had mistaken bubble=wrap thrown on top of some old plywood planks for a mattress—a confusion my neck was less than pleased about. Nevertheless, we napped a good part of the day before walking around of the city, which is simply beautiful. Tourists do clog the streets as a few people had advised us before leaving, which was a little odd to get used to, but it’s very understandable why anyone would want to travel here—IT’S GORGEOUS! We tried to use Spanish and wore our scarves to feel extra cool and European. It worked great—all of the hostess men outside of restaurants invited us in (yes, that is their job), and more than one called us “espagnolis” which means Spaniards (no, I’m not at all positive that’s how it translates). We were called Spaniards more than once here which we took to be a compliment, until we considered how quiet, clean, well-kept, and composed Italians are in comparison-- Spaniards have started to look a little insane….

The next morning we took the metro=boat-taxi to the apartment we rented for the remainder of our stay. The taxi and the apartment were awesome! We got to see so much from the boat and having our own quiet place with a kitchen was indescribable! After taking long, hot showers and getting ourselves together we went to the grocery store and stocked up on tons of vegetables, coffee, PASTURIZED MILK!, cheese, TORTILLAS!, pasta, and eggs. I had forgotten how much I love being able to cook my own meals and control how much butter, oil, and meat (yes, I did have to say that) goes into them. We were so happy with our cooking we photographed every meal: salad, scrambles, pasta.
The view from the boat taxi-- an outdoor market

You have to pay for bags in grocery stores in Europe, so we used Eve's suitcase to hail our food back to the apartment... it was heavy.


Eggs, strawberries, T-swift (of course), and TORTILLAS!

Pasta with asparagus and other goodies!


Before the trip we had looked up what to do in Venice and the number one piece of advice was to put your map away and get lost. Well, we followed this advice, almost a little too much. The first night we had found so many little pizza shops that served 2-euro slices, we thought it would be a great thing to do for dinner the second night. We figured we’d head towards what we figured was the residential area, find a local pizza shop, and call it a night. Well, that didn’t happen. We probably walked around getting lost and dead-ending at waterways until we finally walked back towards the places we had seen in the touristy areas. It was worth it though—we got a 13inch pizza for 5 euro. Pleased with ourselves, we started walking back toward our apartment when we passed a bar playing Elton John and Janis Joplin. We kept walking but then decided to turn around and get a beer. It ended up being one of the best choices we could make. It was a TINY bar, but everyone (a crowd ranging from ages 18 to probably 75) was dancing, singing, and enjoying themselves. We stood outside, speaking Spanish (still trying to play off the European card), and sipping on our beers (which were much better than the Cruzcampo and Keystone Lights I’ve become so accustomed to) when some Italian boy came up to us and asked us where we were from. We started talking to him and his friends who were all very nice (boys AND girls, don’t start making those faces, folks, I see your brain wheels turning!). We met a couple girls from England, as well, who were teaching English in Venice and we’re also very friendly. We had so much fun and could not stop talking about how great of a night it had been—we’d made more Italian friends in one night than we had Spanish friends in three months!
Our little bar!
The next morning, we woke up, made eggs (a God-send), and headed out to see the Piazza San Marco church and square. The line was INSANE and tourists everywhere made me feel like I was in a bad Where is Waldo? picture. We, therefore, gave up on the church and decided to re-do our search for the residential area—this time it went much better. We walked for a really long time and finally arrived at a beautiful park. It was so GREEN!, by far the most grass either of us had seen in Europe. We rested at the park for awhile and then made the long trek back. We, of course, stopped for gelato and when we got back to the apartment we passed out napping and needed coffee to wake us up to make dinner.  We, of course, cooked and ate again—this time eggplant, pasta, and salad. We could hardly eat even half of it, but thoroughly loved every bite! After dinner we had planned on going out in hopes of meeting some more friends (this time preferably some of the good-looking Italian boys we’d seen on the streets), but instead, after laying down on the bed to digest a bit, we both realized we wouldn’t be moving the rest of the night—the only boy we met was Stieg Larsson as we read our Dragon Tattoo Girl books like some true old ladies. Clearly this host mom thing is rubbing off on me too much.
leaving our apartment (this was our street!)
Piazza San Marco

Like I said, tons of tourists. Can you spot Eve?

Me with a giant cat outside the military base

Our last day we had a lot of homework things to do and studied at a hotel that had Wi-Fi. We walked around the city some more and shopped, ate a slice of pizza and packed up our things for Barcelona.

To put it simply, if it weren’t for Spanish, I would have studied in Italy. Ever since around 8th grade I have wanted to learn Italian and move to Italy one day, and before this trip I had started to think that was a dumb idea, but now I am determined to retire in Venice… I could sink with it.

an outdoor vintage market-- very cool!

Like I said, we went shopping... if you know me well enough, you know I have trouble taking that very seriously... this thing had poofy-ness under it & made me feel like a fairy in Midsummer Night's Dream

Mechanic shop in Venice... get it?

Really cool store-- Venice is known for glass blowing. These are Coke bottles converted into high heels!



  1. We love Italy too!!!!! So glad you had such a great time! And, the biggest question: Did you buy the dress??!! It looks *gorgeous* on you! I am guessing you didn't from your comment, but you still looked great in it. :) And, so cool that you found and rented an apartment in Venice! Sounds perfect. Love the Venician (sp?) mechanic's shop.

  2. Piper! I will definitely retire with you in Italy! I will be there is a month! YIKES! I can't wait to spend a whole month in Italy and a good 6 weeks in Europe. I am glad you made it to Venice and LOVED it as much as I do. Working on my Italian, but it is not going too well with finals and school :/
    Much ❤

  3. Just got done in Venice with the rents...we LOVED it too!! Love your blog, pictures, and you!! :)