We are now over halfway done with our trip! The group travelled from Verona to Venice by a train that reached speeds up to 170 kilometers per hour! Although I knew this would be our longest day, it was the one I was looking forward to most. Venice is visually aesthetic because of its 120 islands, 200 natural canals, and 456 bridges located within the city. It is such a unique area because it is surrounded by water, making trade, movement, and lifestyle completely different compared to other cities around the world.
Before 1849, the only possible transportation in and out of the city was by boat. All of the resources that were not located in the city had to be imported. Because the only way to travel to the city was by boat, wealthy men and women, such as ambassadors and nobles, began to move there. This restriction of expensive travel, resulted in a small population. Essentially, based on the necessity of a boat, only people that could afford one were able to live there. Movement was also slow and minimal due to the limited number of ways to traveling in and out of the city. Lifestyle was much different compared to today, because there was little to no tourists roaming the city. Only people that had the money to visit the beautiful city would be able to vacation there. But, in 1849, the addition of a bridge revolutionized the whole culture and environment of Venice. This allowed trucks, cars, and other vehicles to enter Venice. The addition of several other ways of transportation immediately allowed trade to became much easier. A larger amount of resources were now able to be traded as well. Also, more people/cities were able to trade now because it was no longer restricted to ones that only owned a boat. Similar to trade, movement and lifestyle were also transformed. Residents could now go to and from their homes more often because they would be able to use their cars. Furthermore, the bridge was extended in 1930, which increased the amount of amenities that could be traded. Lastly, a railway station was added, allowing everything to flow in the same manner, only at a much faster pace.
Presently, Venice is a touristic city as it attracts millions of people every year. This makes the lifestyle of the residents much different than any other area because they must “share” their community with them. They also must be able to effectively communicate with the tourists as they will often need help with either directions or simply suggestions of different attractions throughout the city. In a way, residents may like the attention they receive. However, if they are people that like to keep to themselves, the attention might be quite overwhelming. Lastly, the city is built on the foundation of brick which was chosen because it was light, elastic, and flexible which could withstand the water. This, however, failed because Venice has been sinking ever since it was built. Either something must be done to prevent the water from coming in and flooding, or the city will be under water sometime in future. Lastly, there are restrictions on upgrading the outside of buildings because they want the city to have an antique look, which is very different from owning your own home in other areas.
Something that related to my study abroad experience today was facing the language barrier in Venice. First of all, the city of Venice seemed as if it was a maze. At least to Rahul and myself it seemed so. This was because when we were given free time at the end of our trip to Venice, myself and Rahul found ourselves lost deep in the city. We began asking several business owners how to get back to the train station in Italian through google translate. Apparently there are two train stations, and we were directed to the wrong one. We began to walk there only to realize that we were headed in the opposite direction. Luckily with the little Italian that we know and the little english that residents of Venice speak, we were finally able to navigate our way back to the correct train station three minutes before departure. Although this was a stressful walk back, it really tested our ability to overcome the language barrier in this country.