Trip Start Jan 08, 2013
Trip End May 05, 2013

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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Sunday, February 10, 2013

We decided to go to Venice Carnivale with a group called AEGEE. Not sure what it is but they provided very easy transportation so it worked out! We had to be at the bus at 8:30. We were running a little bit late, so we were basically running. Turns out, the boys were 25 minutes late so there was no need for us to rush. Anyways, somehow we all made it on the bus and we were off to Venice. I slept the whole way (obviously). When we arrived on the mainland, it didn't look any different from any other part of Italy, but we had to take a train across the water to get to the island. Sarah and I got cappuccinos and they were all foam and delicious.

We got on the train, and everyone was in costume. It basically looked like State College on halloweekend. Some were in elaborate Carnivale costumes with the masks and everything. Others were in normal Halloween costumes. We saw a deck of cards, the flinstones, Brett Farve, a military costume, the teletubbbies, and many many more. Then there was our group of nine, not dressed up at all. Right when we got off the train the entire piazza was filled with people in costumes, confetti everywhere, and some crazy sights. We immediately were getting our faces painted by these native Venetian women. All of the girls plus walker got painted. I asked them where they learned and they said just from practice. The lady who did mine was a law student and just did this during Carnivale to make some extra money.

Once we fit in a little more with the face painting, we began walking around, crossing bridges, and weaving through the small canals of Venice. They had the most beautiful and intricate masks all over the city in every store. Some of them were really so beautiful, we just didn't know how we would pack them to bring them back home so we didn't buy anything. The Realto bridge is one of the three that crosses the Grand Canal, and it was PACKED. People in costume all over the place. We would weave through people to try to get across and it was pretty spooky to see what type of character would be in front of us next.

After a few hours of walking around, we finally make it to San Marco. This is where the big party was. The entire area was packed with people. They had a huge stage that had constant entertainment. It was mostly live music all day long, we sat in the Piazza for a while just watching people and trying to breathe in the culture as much as possible. I have never heard so much Italian in my life. Even in Florence people speak English, but the sounds in Venice were nothing recognizable, and we were one of the very few groups of Americans at Carnivale, We decided to take a gondola ride, but the boat could only fit 6 people. Only one lucky guy could come, and that guy was Ben. They had a really soft and warm blanket that I sat under with Megan and Sarah. The sun was just starting to go down when we took off from the dock, so we got to see half of it in the sunlight and half in the dark. Diego (our gondola guide) told us that ever since the flood, people don't live in the first floor, only on the second. One side of the house goes to the little "roads" which are really just small alleys, and the other side goes to the canals where they could have a boat. Diego said that not as many people as you would think owned boats. I would not be surprised if the city was underwater soon. We drove past the opera house and could see in the back door briefly and it was beautiful! Then we drove under the Realto bridge and Diego showed us where all of the good places to go were. He let me drive the boat for a while but it was pretty scary and I almost fell in multiple times. Gondola rides are definitely meant to be a romantic couple thing, but we all made the most of it and it ws really fun. Afterwards, we met the rest of the boys at the dock to go to dinner. They said they watched some of the concert while we were gone and it was pretty crazy,
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