A lot has happened since Christmas updates and admittedly I’ve been sleeping a lot recently, thereby neglecting my blogging duties. I’ll do my best to recall what we did (because we did a lot) before Danielle left for Spain again, and I’ve been scolded by my mother for not being very detailed in my recent postings. Seeing as most of my followers also follow my cousin, I felt like I was being redundant in my content, since we’re talking about the same events. Anyway, I’ll be as thorough as possible, but be prepared to read, okay?
For the New Years we stayed in a hostel called the Venice Fish. I’d heard mixed reviews about it from kids in my program last semester, citing the atmosphere in both positive and negative contexts, but the price ultimately won Danielle and I over. The same could not be said for the train tickets from Florence to Venice. Stupid us, thinking that we could purchase the reduced price tickets at the actual station. We ended up paying double what we thought for a one-way ticket to the city, which neither of us was particularly pleased with, but the ride was pleasant (in that I slept the entire way there). Roughly two hours later, we were in Venice.
I just have to say, I’m so glad that Danielle was there to get me to that damn hostel. I’m horrible with directions, and despite having been to Venice before in the past, I get lost so easily. The entire city structure is so convoluted, not to mention sinking. Anyway, we made it to the hostel without losing anything and promptly began mingling with our fellow hostelers. The Venice Fish was clearly English friendly, the staff manager Chris being from England, and we ran into two more girls from the States spending their last few days abroad in Italy before going home. There plenty of Australians about as well since this time is the middle of their summer holiday season.
Seeing as we arrived on New Years Eve, the drinking started almost immediately. Danielle and I visited the local grocery store with new friends Brenna (of San Fran Marin County) and Ed (of Newcastle, New South Wales) to fetch the booze and picked up two bottles of prosecco to celebrate with later in the evening. Everyone in the city had apparently decided to convene on that grocery store though, and even though Danielle and I had maybe four items between the two of us, it took us about half-an-hour to maneuver the store and pay for safe passage onto the street with our goods. Upon returning to the fish, we got drawn into a game of King’s Cup (my first time playing) with Rue and Drew (also of Australia), Cori and Ray of Harvey Mudd/UCLA respectively, and a whole slew of Brazilians, Mexicans, and Koreans. We all paid in for the communal 10 liters of sangria, and that puppy was drained by the time we all left for Piazza San Marco to watch the countdown.
We headed out to the Piazza with Ed, Brenna, Chandler, Cori, and Nick, joining the stream of people also on the way to the center of the action. There was general excitement in the air, people randomly bursting out into songs both foreign and unintelligible. The piazza was packed full to bursting, ever nook and cranny filled with kissing couples and empty wine bottles. We needed to form a sort of conga line to stick together. There was no way to get close to the front or center of the mob but once Ed and Nick put us up on their shoulders a few times we could get a good view of the concert deck and plasma screen showing the count down to midnight.
The countdown ended in an explosion of cheering and popping champagne/prosecco bottles. We’d brought one to share around the eight of us and it was so bubbly and sweet that I couldn’t handle much of it. The crowds definitely put me off any desire to go to Time’s Square for a New Years celebration. Once people started heading for the docks to watch the fireworks, the center of the Piazza turned into a dumping ground for broken bottles, exploding crackers, and fireworks. Of course, this didn’t stop some of the girls in our group from rushing out to dance! By the end of the night we all ended up beating off drunk old men in the middle of the impromptu dance party in front of the stage and finding our way back to the Fish for some well-earned rest.
New Years Day saw Danielle, Ed, and I making our way to the island of Murano, famous for its glass products.
The artists there are clearly very good at what they do. We spent most of the day looking through the various glass houses for a demonstration of glass blowing and we finally came upon it at the end of our trip when we were tired, cold, and hungry. The entirety of the showroom had been on sale and Danielle bought herself a beautiful yellow-orange spotted clock. Afterwards we watched the master glass artist blow a vase and sculpt the Ferrari horse in under a minute, and Danielle got the chance to blow a massive glass bubble. I caught it on video and I promise it’ll be up eventually! I think it’s already on my Facebook, so go take a look if we’re friends.
Taking a water taxi was almost as debilitating as the initial train ride. It didn’t cost as much but our first taxi broke down after two stops, leaving us stranded on a remote side of Venice for over an hour. The ride back was much easier, though, and the sunset was lovely, illuminating the cityscape of Venice in a bright orange haze.
Next: The Conquering of Rome!