Cold windy nightHi all. Here I am, back in Riva. I’ll be blogging about the weekend over the next few days in increments, probably. I’d like to do it all now, but I’m too tired and I have a paper due tomorrow. So first, Friday. In fact, I see now that I don’t have time to blog for tonight either, so all you faithful fans will just have to hang on and read day by day, looks like. :) By the way, to the dear people who sent me mail for my birthday (that'd be Mema and Dr. and Mrs. Oliver), THANK YOU!!! :) :) :)
Friday, January 21, 2005
I woke up at 4:45 to get ready. I had to get me ready, finish getting my stuff ready, get down the hill to Casa Maderni, and grab something to eat in time to be on the bus at 6:10. So… I was tired, but managed it. We headed out in the bus in the dark toward Italy, to stop first at Verona, then Venice. I slept part of the way and missed a beautiful sunrise, Justin told me. The land changed as we drove from Alps to Appennines, and the mountains receded so there were hilly vineyards then level fields as we got toward Verona. I dozed off again, but Justin woke me up to see a beautiful little town toward Verona. I don’t know what it was called, but it was really cool. I think I could live there. The houses were clean and well kept, and all seemed really loved, with laundry hanging out the windows. Then we got into Verona.
In Verona, the bus let us off in the town square, where you could see remnants of the original city wall. There was a Roman amphitheatre there that looked kind of like a miniature Coliseum. Justin and I, the Taylors, Ed Falco and Eva Vadilonga (our political science, English, and Italian teachers respectively) went inside and walked all around and up to the top. The top afforded a fantastic view of the whole area. I got lots of pictures, which you will someday see on my site or the Europe blog. The amphitheatre is still used in the summer for operas. Justin and the Taylors and I then went to find Giulietta’s (that’d be Juliet) balcony. :) We got off track, though, and ended up in Piazza Erbe, I believe, which had a big tower, nice cafés, lots of vendors, and lots of people. The Taylors went inside a café and got a snack while Justin and I sat under a massive winged lion statue and ate our bag lunch early. We got some great pictures of the windows in the piazza, which were very beautiful with windowboxes and flowers. Then we all went and found the courtyard with Giulietta’s balcony. It is not what you would expect. The little walkway leading in, and then much of the courtyard, is absolutely covered in written messages, gum, and love notes stuck to gum. I got pictures of that too. Justin and I left a note. :) Then we went to the Duomo, which is a church; the word kind of means the main church of a city. It was very magnificent. Of course, now I’ve seen so many churches since that I don’t remember without looking at the pictures what it looked like. We went inside too, and walked around for a while. It was really magnificent. It was good to be with Dr. Taylor, too, since he could tell us all about the significance of the different parts of the church. Then we were kind of running close on our three-hour time limit to be back to the bus, so we speed-walked back to the main piazza, passing a cool castle, Castelvecchio, and a river, on the way. We did make it to the bus in time, and headed off toward Venice.
When we first drove up to Venice, it reminded me of the area around Charleston, South Carolina, since you have to cross a long bridge to get to the city. We eventually had to park our bus and walk to a dock where we waited for a boat-bus (I believe also called a vaporetto) to take us to a point closer in to the city so we could walk to our hotel. The canal water is a beautiful murky teal color. I thought it would be grayish, but it’s very beautiful. Not to say it isn’t polluted, but… So. As we rode up, we could see various magnificent buildings from the Grand Canal. It turned out they were the Doge’s palace, and the tower in Saint Mark’s Square (and another church, of which I never found out the name). When we got all unloaded, we just had a short walk to get to our hotel, which you would have missed (and I did pass it accidentally a few times later), if you didn’t know what you were looking for. It was as wide as a double doorway on the street, then opened up after you went up stairs. It was about four o’clock and we had to meet for dinner at 7:15, so we headed out to explore. Justin and I started out with a group, but they stopped because the guys were starving, so we kept going on our own. We walked around and took scads of pictures, then headed down to the waterfront to see the sunset. It turned out to be probably one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in my life. The sun was a huge orange ball against a pink and purple sky. It was amazing. I got great pictures. Then we just sat there and talked until it got so cold it was ridiculous. Then we walked around until time to meet everyone at the hotel for dinner. We all walked as a group to our restaurant, where they already had a meal planned and ready for us. It was good—alfredo on noodles, and some meat (veal, I’m told) in an unusual tomato sauce. Afterward we all headed out to find a bar/club that everyone was dying to check out. It was okay, but not that great. Finally, four of us walked back in time for me to collapse in bed.