Today, the group traveled to Venice for a day excursion. We caught a train that was 2000x better than the classic Amtrak – with a ton of leg room and a speedy arrival. The second we got off the train we were led to the main water way and got into water taxis. Fun fact: Venice doesn’t use cars – either people walk or actually use BOATS as CARS. As every person who rode in a boat with me today heard a zillion times – that is literally my dream.
After getting dropped off by our boat taxis on the other side of the large canal, we immediately got into a second boat to go on a classic Venetian gondola ride. As you can tell, there was a lot of boat-excitement for me today, and I loved every minute of it. Unfortunately our gondolier did not sing, but in fact pulled out his phone multiple times during the ride – modernization at its finest I’d say. The views though were just the overall highlight of the day, whether we were actually on the water or walking around the city, there was always a picture taking moment to take advantage of.
I of course need to give a shoutout today to Shelby Smith – who actually got to celebrate her birthday in Venice! In order to celebrate (besides the gondola ride) we went to a nice restaurant for lunch called Da Roberto. Here I had an appetizer the group of us shared of crostini, a risotto with fresh seafood (pictured above), and tiramisu for dessert. It was a good time to just sit and talk with friends and as an added bonus, was some of the best food I have had on the trip thus far.
As a whole group we also went on a walking tour of Venice that lasted nearly two hours. Our tour guide was clearly very knowledgeable about the city, and I give her some real props for being able to try and excite 25+ college students after what was already a long day. During the tour, my favorite parts weren’t the history facts, but rather the woman’s personal experiences while exploring/living in Venice – shoutout to all of my Pathfinder readers who know the importance of story telling. On the tour I also took a lot of photos so my mom’s photobooks may be a little off-balanced with having to fit all of the beautiful ones I got today.
After the tour the group was free to split off on their own once again for a few more hours of free time before we had to catch our train back to Verona, so a group of us decided to go look into some shops and just explore. My group particularly was trying to explore to just simply find a place to sit because we were exhausted. Eventually we ended up sitting in a small café where the waiter told us we could sit as long as we bought somethinggg – Shelby and I ended up spending 2.5 euro each on these plain fruit biscuits because we originally wanted croissants, and when they were out we asked if there were any other pastry options, and basically got stuck with the cookies. Maybe a half an hour later when we got up to go to our group meeting spot we noticed a full bridge with large rails that people could sit on (for free) and a whole bakery a few feet away from it stocked with whole desserts for around the same price we paid of our measly small cookies. Ya win some, ya lose some.
We then around 8pm loaded into the train to come back to Verona where a large group of us went to go get a late dinner and continue the Shelby celebrations. The night ended with a nice stroll through Verona at night where we all climbed a hill on the other side of the Roman bridge that led to an overlook of the city. The view was beautiful, but unfortunately no camera I had – phone or real could capture the real visual since it was dark.
All-in-all today was one of my favorite days on the trip yet, because I love birthdays and boats – so what else could I really ask for? It is crazy to think I’ll be home fairly soon and living just a normal life again, but I also think I am starting to feel ready to get back to the U.S. and daily life. Traveling, although is adventurous and thrilling, can also be very tiring and draining too. Considering that I have been up since 5am writing this blog post I can’t say I’m likely to get a good nights sleep, but thats always something to strive for tomorrow. Love you all! Ciao!