CARNEVALE! What a weekend.
Friday it was snowing like mad here in Arezzo; biggest snowflakes I've seen in quite a while. After class, we walked into town and bought our train tickets - 28 Euro for the trip to Venezia (each way). Afterwards we got HUGE pieces of Pizza so that we wouldn't be hungry on the train, followed by Gelato. SERIOUSLY. Crowds in gelato shops even in the snow? That's what I'm talkin' about. Perfect.
The train ride to Venice wasn't too bad. The train is broken up into several different cartes(like Harry Potter). Kadie, Sam and I were in one along with Steve - some dude from Australia, Franceso - an Italian who goes to school in Perugia, and some other guy who didn't really talk to us. The ride there was about 4 hours. We left right before five and got there right before nine at night.
When we first arrived, we walked to our hotel (perfect location...only a five minute walk from the train). There were seven of us - Kadie, Alex, Emily, and I stayed in one room and then Sam, Morgan, and Elaina stayed in another. Kadie and I were cuddle buddies :) We decided to just get a cheap hotel rather than a hostel because they were basically the same price.
We had to take a 10 minute shuttle to Venice.
Venice is by far the most magical, romantic, beautiful city in the world. I'm convinced that it will remain my favorite part of Italy. It's a little dissapointing only in that it is SO overrun by tourists...but if you ignore that fact and just take it for it's true beauty, then all is well in the world. It's insane. We got there late, so by that point the party had been dying down. We were all starving(craving cheesburgers, oddly enough; my first American craving in Italy) so we found this little cafe and all ordered cheeseburgers. They were DELICIOUS. Afterwards, we scoured the city for an open mask shop and found one. I bought a cheap one (14 Euro) but they had some that were over a hundred. After seeing how insane people dressed up, I wish I would have had a better costume but having a mask was exciting enough. Some of the girls wanted to go to a bar, but Sam, Morgan, and I wanted to keep exploring Venice so we walked around for a while. Seeing the city at night was beautiful, but because people had been partying all day there were a lot of drunkies stumbling around and we wanted to be able to wake up early and explore the next day, so we met up with everyone else, called it a night, and went back to the hotel to sleep.
We awoke the next morning to the most beautiful weather! For all the snow that was in Arezzo, there was not a flake of it in Venice. It was sunny and probably in the late 40's weather wise. Gorgeous.
The city was absolutely PACKED with people. We were like sardines - sometimes not even moving in the streets because of how many people were around us. I don't even know if I can explain Carnevale in words - - - it's like Disney World/Halloween times One Hundred. People go all out.
yes. She has a bodyguard.
Confetti (Coriandoli) covers the streets. All of a sudden you feel something on your head, and you look up and it's raining coriandoli! At one point I started a giant chant in the street. I went: OoooOOOoo and then a whole crowd of people copied me going OoooOOOoo! That's the type of stuff that happens. It's pure madness. There was a giant Balloon caterpillar type thing going down the streets, and underneath all the balloons was a drumline (you couldn't even see the drummers, just the balloons). There are a million mask shops, a million blown glass shops, stands in the street filled with chocolate and candy, street musicians all over the place, costume contests, etc. etc. etc. Surprise around every corner is really the way to sum it up. There is no telling WHAT will happen - - and everything you can think of is there. The age range is huge. There are little kids dressed up, grandparents dressed up, and as you can see from my pictures even animals dressed up too. It's a BLAST.
Alex, Me, Emily, Kadie
Alex and I
Pink Bottles = Bellini. Peach Champagne that orginated in Venice and remains the signature drink of the city.
In Venice, especially during Carnivale, the things to see are Venice itself and the people. We walked all around the city, making sure to see Piazza San Marco at Sunset.
By far my favorite day here. We stayed in Venice, dancing and singing throughout the streets, until midnight and hopped on the train back to Arezzo. Because we only had one day there, we wanted to spend as much time in the city as possible. However, we didn't think about how riding the train at night is definitely not the best time to ride the train...particularily during Carnivale. We took one 15 minute train from Carnivale to the main Venice station and then we took a second 4 1/2 hour train home to Arezzo. At first there was some strange dude sleeping in the car that we had seats for, but we managed to kick him out with the help of this really nice Italian dude (who also helped us transfer trains). Kadie, Alex, Emily and I were in a car together, along with an Italian woman and her nine year old son. We managed to sleep for a little bit, and then we got into Arezzo at 5 in the morning. It was FREEZING. A little bit of snow left on the ground, but not as much as the other day. We grabbed a taxi and got back to the Villa at around 5:20 safe and sound. Thank God.
Kadie and I in the train station
Kadie and I wanted to take showers right when we got back (especially after Carnevale and two trains) but there was no heat and no hot water in the villa.
We went to bed and woke up around noon today - still no heat and no hot water!
Happy Valentines Day :)
Grocery Store. Homework. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate.
It is now 8:35 pm and we just got hot water. HOORAY!
So that was my weekend. The rest of tonight I'll just be showering and then doing homework for tomorrow. Another busy week ahead...
I love and miss you all! Hope you have a very Happy Valentine's Day!
Alex, Kadie, Emily, Me, Sam