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Spring break 1/3: Gelato en Italia

The really awesome part about studying abroad is the opportunity to travel and see the world.  During the week my class schedule has rarely allowed me to be the traveler I wanted.  I did, however, make up for it by my spring break.  Which also is the result of my delayed posts.  Sometimes Internet is either non-existent or merely hard to find.  The following three posts will capture my time in three places first my four-day excursion of Italy, second my experience in Sevilla during Semana Santa (holy week leading to Easter) and finally in Barcelona.  My spring break was a total of 12 days long.  I can proudly say that a beach in Florida, while fun and relaxing, will never compare with the adventure that was my spring break.

My adventures began in Italy.

The city count: three.

Arriving by plane and traveling by train everywhere else.

The hostels were all accounted for and the tickets tucked safely away.

Word: Gelato

The first city on the list was Verona.

Verona is considered a city of love being the location of the houses of Romeo and Juliet.  The small city held pizza, tourists and the famous letters to Juliet.  For all you romantics and people who’ve watched the movie “Letters to Juliet” the experience was sobering.  Juliet’s house can be spotted from a block away from the number of tourists and the graffiti/names scribbled on the walls.  The famous balcony is very much kept clean and the main wall is free from lover’s whims.  Crying lovers are far from the majority but their numbers are filled with venders selling useless love totems and frivolities.  Overall, Verona was a very nice Italian town, just not Aphrodite’s secret hideaway.

From Verona we went to Venice.  The train was very comfortable and easy.  I note this because later my experience wasn’t anywhere near this.  Venice was a beautiful city with literal streets of water.  It’s one thing to hear and city photos, but being there is truly different.

It’s very easy for me to say we “went” to Venice, but what people usually forget is the adventure of finding your hostel.  No matter how well we planned, not one of our hostels was easy to find.  Our hostel for Venice happened to be on the island of Lido, a short boat ride from Venice.  We jumped on the taxi-boat and headed out around 11:00 p.m. to find our beds for the night.

Little did I know that our hostel happened to be at the complete opposite side of the island.  We walked, we took a bus, we got off too early, we walked some more and then finally called a taxi to take us two minutes to our hostel where we woke the owner up at 1:30 in the morning, but we got our beds!  I will confess, this was my first almost break down point since coming here.  It was after getting off on the wrong bus stop and realizing that not only were we lost, but also lost on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean, off the coast of Italy, in the middle of Europe.  I am still here though and what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger right?

Back to the city, we took the whole day and wondered the streets.  We floated down the canals and enjoyed the wonder of the city on the sea.  It was (pardon the 5-year-old saying) really freakin’, awesomely cool!

Lastly the city of Rome.  We took a night-train starting at 11:00 p.m. and arriving at 7:00 a.m. in Rome.  Naturally, I was expecting something similar to our earlier experience with a little more comfortable seating.  Boy was I wrong!

Our 7-hour trip turned into a prolonged sleeping torment of wrong seats, illegal travelers, loud snoring and cramped space.  It was a low point in our Italy journey.  Instead of arriving in Rome refreshed and ready to go we emerged from the train cabins more like dying wasps shot by Raid, but still struggling to live.  What more, we had trouble finding our hostel AGAIN.

After a quick nap and a splash of water on the face we ventured into Rome.  We walked the city and discovered as many hidden and famous treasures over the next two days as possible.  We tasted the oldest gelato of Rome, wandered the Vatican, climbed the Coliseum steps and wished upon fountains.  Rome was historically rich, antiquely wonderful and culturally informative.  Rome was a blast!

The Italy trip ended with a mad dash for airplane seats and a long metro ride home.  While the trip only lasted for 4 days, my body told me it was a 12-day rollercoaster ride of fun highs and worrisome lows.  It was a lot of fun to zoom through the sites of a country.  We toured, took photos, ate lots of pizza and pasta and really enjoyed ourselves.  The best part, I still have 8 more days to tell you about.  More to come.

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