Trip Start Jan 01, 2011
Trip End Jan 31, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Monday, January 17, 2011

The morning began at the Vatican, so those who signed up for the tour could do it. I didn't, but went through the museum on my own. The collection of art was great, but the Sistine Chapel was really special. After studying Michelangelo's work so extensively, it was really important to me to see this. It literally brought tears to my eyes, and was truly a highlight. From here we made our way to Venice. The trip took longer than I thought it would, and we were really surprised at how cold it was compared to the other places in the country we had been. It reminded me of home with all the fog. Since Venice is an island, we were staying in the middle of nowhere, so we had a quiet night. The next day we took a boat through the fog to the island. We had a short walking tour before we were sent off on our own to get lost among the tight alleyways and cobblestone squares. I immediately fell in love with the place, despite the cold and the fog. It was so quaint and charming, especially with the gondolas quietly gliding past on the canals. We had a lace and a glass blowing demonstration before embarking on gondolas of our own, with a glass of prosecco in hand. It was so great! From here a few of us girls went for lunch at a cafe to eat band defrost. I had already had pizza earlier, but when in Rome...(well, Venice)! I had pasta bolognese....yum! After this we wandered the alleys and the shops. I got a Murano glass ring and some tights and an extra pair of socks to put on under my pants. It was really cold, especially with the fog. We saw the Bridge of Sighs, which was pretty disappointing considering it was covered in billboard advertisements. We also saw Doges Palace and St. Mark's Square, with all the disgusting pigeons. I actually got hit in the face by one while walking through one of the alleyways. Some people put bread on themselves to encourage them to land on their shoulders. Gross. We had a huge Italian dinner that night, and in hindsight I should notnhave had two lunches. The dinner started with antipasti, then miso frito, then veggies, then risotto, gnocci, and two different pastas. Plus unlimited wine. I was too full to eat it all! Our table had lots of red wine and lots of laughs. A man playing saxophone serenaded us while we ate. We ended the night taking the boat back to the mainland and had a nighcap at the hotel bar.
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