Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

It was time to go to Venice. It is very often one of the major important parts of the Italy Semester for the Aegean Center, so we were all very excited. I had always heard very bad things about Venice about how dirty it was and how the canals were all smelly. Having my expectations very low had me very surprised when I got there because it was very amazing.

We got up early and then took the coach bus from the front door of the villa to the Florence train station. I had been trying to stop taking medication for my morning sickness, so I hadn’t taken it the night before. The trip on the bus was very hard. I was sitting up front, but despite my best efforts, I was feeling very ill and unhappy. As the bus wound through the back streets of Florence, I felt very sick, and was dizzy.

We finally arrived at the train station in Florence, but I was feeling very ill. We had quite a bit of time before the train was to leave, so all of the students were allowed to leave their bags with Jane, who was at the station as a guard, and they were given free reign to go and do something exciting. I was not feeling good, so I just sat in the train station with the bags and felt awful. Eventually, I did manage to get up and take a walk, but on my walk out of the train station, some man ended up spitting on me, so I had to walk to the park across the street and get that figured out. Needless to say, it was not really exciting having someone spit on me in the middle of the train station when I was not feeling well.

Eventually, all of the students returned, and we ended up on the three-hour train to Venice. I was sitting with a very lively crowd, and I was playing games with them in between heading to the bathroom to throw up any attempts to eat food that day. We played a game that was a lot of fun and had a hilarious result. I will keep it in mind for future reference, but we had quite a lot of fun.

I was so surprised when I stepped out of the train station in Venice and saw that canals. People were really being carted around in gondolas and there was so much that was going on that was exciting.

Of course, we had little time to get to our hotels and check in before we had to head off to meet Jeffrey and the group for a tour of the church.

Our hotel was in a very lovely location right off the Rialto Bridge. Venice is so amazing. I hope now looking back that I have taken enough photos for myself to be able to remember exactly how lovely the city is. It is full of canals and amazing buildings. The city had been built in such a lovely style because the Venetians at one point in history were amazingly smart and unconquerable. They had conquered quite a bit of Europe, and in every area that they conquered they brought back treasures for themselves. The city is built on a sand bar and is almost impossible to attack, so it has a very lovely appearance because it could afford it and because there was no danger of it’s treasures being stolen.

The hotel was very lovely. It was a three star hotel, so it was decorated in a very nice way. I made a comment to some of the other students that John did a very good job booking the hotel because I definitely wouldn’t have chosen such a nice place for myself if I were traveling to Venice alone. It was nice to stay somewhere nice when we were on the road.

The students all headed to meet Jeffery for the afternoon lecture. We were going to go to St. Marks Square. The square was beautiful. It is definitely one of the most famous areas in the world, and it was loaded with pigeons, tourists and pigeons on tourists. The buildings around the big church of St. Mark were all very nicely built. Of course, a city with so much money would hire an architect that could do such a rich city justice.

We looked at the façade and the campanile of the church. The façade is amazing and is covered in expensive mosaic with a lot of gold. It is very impressive.

The church is so popular that it was very strict about its entrance and the route you were supposed to take when in the church. There was a mass going on, so we were filtered quickly through the church quietly with a large crowd. Even though we were battling the crowd, it was amazing. The church had a feel very different than the feelings I had gotten in other churches. It was much more like the Hundred Doors Church on Paros.

After walking around the church, we went to the top of the church to a museum that was filled with all kinds of original works from the church. Also, it gave access to the balcony that ran around the top of the church, so we were able to go out on the balcony and get a better view of Venice. I took quite a few photos from up there even though I was feeling quite tired.

When we came down from the church, we spent time looking around the square. Jeffrey spent time explaining the architecture of the Duke’s Palace that was right next to St. Mark’s Church. Jeffrey also pointed out the architecture of the building right across from the Duke’s Palace because it was built as a fantastic library. We ended the tour next to the water where there were a lot of picturesque gondolas.

I was just simply impressed by the afternoon tour. It gave me more information about Venice, and got me in the mood to spend three days there.

After the tour, Jessica, Christy, Matt, Danielle and I headed off to get some food. I shared a pizza with Christy, and it was pretty good. We had an enjoyable evening.

After dinner, everyone wanted to go out to the bars, so I followed along with them to see if someone would want to walk me home a little later. We found a bar that was able to charm them all into staying, so a while into the night, I left and went back to the hotel alone.

Christy stayed behind, and I ended up letting her into the room later that night. Apparently, she had more to drink than she wanted, and we spent part of the night handling her being sick in between her telling me about some of the drama that had occurred with the other students while she was out with them.

The drama of that night was enough to last for quite a while.

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