Venice, Italy - Carnival
After getting in trouble from just about everyone, I figured I should probably come and update my blog with what I have been doing recently. A few weeks ago.....Feb. 5th-Feb. 7th.... a group of us WSU students decided to go to Venice for the kick off of Carnival. Carnival starts around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday (aka Fat>Tuesday/Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday; and from my understanding it's a two week period where people are able to do whatever they wish, celebrate excessively, and indulge on food,etc. before Lent comes and they need to give up something. Also, for Carnival everyone typically wears masks, costumes, and crazy outfits in celebration. Hope that the small amount of background information I provided was good enough to know some of the reasoning for partaking in this event.
Friday Feb. 5th
One of our professors kindly allowed us (three WSU students) to leave early so that we would be able to catch our train that would have otherwise left 6 min. before class finished and we would have then had to wait another hour for a train and get into Venice 2.5 hours later than the earlier train that left at 2:44. We all packed up our gear, and headed back to the dorms to change out of our suits and put on some comfortable clothes for the train ride. Our entire group (besides 2 that didn't have classes and left at 9:44am) and started the journey. We first arrived into Milan and had an hour to spare there, the time passed fairly quickly and we tried to stay out of the way of pick-pocketers. We then got on our second train that was heading from Milan to Venice. We then arrived in Venice around 8:15 (ten min. late - typical for Italian trains). The two girls that had arrived in the early afternoon were supposed to meet us at the train station, but through a miscommunication on both sides they never showed. We pulled out our rain jackets and entered out into Venice - with all the rain they had been getting locals figured that should the rain keep up that the canals would flood for the entire weekend, luckily this didn't happen! The streets were flooding (minimally) and the rain poured the entire night. We finally happened to make it to our hostel - the Venice Fish expecting to find the other two members in our group, but instead of finding them we discover that the hostel has been overbooked and we are to be moved to their other hostel - The Museum - which was a 20 min. walk from where we were. None of us had eaten by that point as we figured we would make it to the hostel right as dinner was starting, they said they would throw on some extra pasta for us before they take us to the other hostel. We ate some pasta and then entered back out into the rain to make our trek to our new hostel. The city, even though it was pouring down rain, was absolutely gorgeous and to be able to experience a city like that lit up at night is indescribable. We finally make it to our new hostel after winding through streets and then a random alley way before making it to the front door and being buzzed in. We enter to see that the other two girls are not here (physically), but all of their stuff still is, that was at least a relief. After hanging around for a while we came to figure that they got tired of waiting and went out to experience Venice and the night-life. We opted to do the same thing. We wandered around with some of the other people in our hostel (from Florence, Italy) and went out to the bars. It was a lot of fun, and we then ran into the two other members in our group that we thought we had lost! Such a relief. We then headed back to the hostel after hitting up a few of the outside bars.
Saturday Feb. 6, 2010
Today was the kick-off of Carnivale here in Venice! When we woke up the sky was overcast, but for the most part the weather was much better than the night before! Anything would be better than the night before and we didn't have to worry about the canals flooding anymore which was also a relief to all of us. We started out with breakfast at the hostel - which consisted of jam, nutella and toast. Sounds like a real winner huh?
We talked to one of the girls who was supposed to be holding on to the train ticket that help everyone's for the ride home. Ends up she didn't have the ticket anymore and we made our way to the train station where we bought all new tickets to be able to make it back to Brig the next day. Nothing any of us wanted to pay for and have an extra expense placed on our account, but it could have been worse right?
After that we headed out to the shops and bought masks for the evening and random souvenirs here and there. We mostly spent the entire day wandering the streets and canals of Venice taking in everything. It is easily one of the prettiest places I have ever seen and it was an experience to be there during one of their largest celebrations. We stopped at a local kebab/pizza parlor and got kebabs and pizza for lunch - YUMMM and then headed back out into the city before heading back to the hostel to get ready for the night.
At night we all got dressed up and put on our masks before heading out into San Marco Square to celebrate the kick-off of Carnivale! We danced, drank, and partied the entire night... Couldn't have imagined anything better. Then next morning we all got up showered, ate our lovely toast jam and nutella breakfast before we headed back out into the madness.
Sunday Feb. 7, 2010
We entered back out into San Marco Square and the streets of Venice to discover everything was more packed now than yesterday when we thought it was already overwhelming with the amounts of people that were there. You were unable to move through the square as people were shoulder to shoulder (didn't help that we had our backpacks as well). We wandered around, did shopping here and there and grabbed some more kebabs for lunch. These are my new favorite thing! I'm in LOVE!
It was relaxed for the most part the rest of the day trying to weave in and out of crowds. We grabbed some gellato ice cream on the way back to the train station before we headed back to Brig.