Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spring Break Travel Diary: Venice

I know, I know. I haven't written anything on here in an absurdly long time but I've decided to try to recap all of my trips before I fly back to the states next weekend so here we go! It's May now and so much has happened but I'm gonna back track all the way back to the last week of March (moment of silence for me realizing that if I'm still recapping March and it's currently May, I've also still got to recap all of my trips from April) (it's okay, my finals are next week so this is absolutely what I should be doing). My spring break this semester was an absolute whirlwind of traveling- as I've written in my last three blog posts (the brunch places really deserve their own posts, ok), my first stop was Berlin, Germany. Ah Berlin...a city so soft grunge yet classically beautiful in its own right with cute dogs running everywhere. I really do want to go back someday... Anyway, after Berlin, I flew to *drumroll please* Venice, Italy! 

I've always imagined Venice to be a dreamy city and it ended up being exactly that. Venice is old and I wouldn't say it's decaying because that conveys the wrong vibe, but it's pretty much crumbling (in the best way possible). The colorful houses lining the canals are slightly faded and have their fair share of rusty streaks lining their plastered walls while all the windows are either boarded shut or have shutters hanging crookedly open. 

Venice is old and magical and feels like a dream. The cobblestone streets are filled with market stalls displaying both touristy trinkets and fresh knobs of mozzarella. Everything we ate in Venice was scrumptious, although definitely overpriced- that was the one downside to Venice. It's a very tourist-infested city and in spite of its authentic looking exterior, Venice is definitely not a real Italian place in that it almost exclusively caters to tourists and so everything its a bit pricy and just a little bit gimmicky. Still, I loved being in Venice and riding a gondola (it was my dream for the longest time) while watching the dark turquoise water ripple against the many stone bridges suspended over the canals. We were also staying in this tiny hotel with furniture that looked like it came straight out of an episode of The Tudors that had the most amazing view of a canal and even brought us breakfast in the morning. As much as I'm all about the eggs benedict + three various sides life, eating a croissant with Italian coffee while looking down at the water was one of my favorite breakfasts ever.

I really want to say I ate more gelato than any of the other many, many NYU kids on spring break (we all basically traveled to the same places) (it was actually funny/scary how often we ran into people from school all around Europe) but if I'm being honest, Niyousha wins that title. We also tried candied strawberries from a street vendor- they mostly just got stuck in our teeth (but were fun to photograph!!) and of course, lots and lots of pasta. We also went to Cafe Florian, the oldest cafe in Venice and had a lovely cup of very thick, perfect hot chocolate.

I was curious to see if I would feel sad in Venice because I'd read that going there can have a depressing effect, I mean the entire city is sinking after all, but found that it mostly felt like a very nostalgic place. Which makes sense since nostalgia can easily transition into sadness but for me, Venice was a daydream breathed into life. It was almost overwhelming how beautiful every single inch of the city was, both during the day and at night. In the evening, Venice becomes surreal. The moon hangs high in the black sky and you can see all of the city lights reflecting in the canals. I kept trying to photograph / film it, I was attempting to make it so I could relive being in Venice at night but I've learned that somethings really are too beautiful to capture on camera. Okay, that was a little cheesy but it's completely true. 

My time in Venice is a funny story to tell because my friend and I actually missed our train to Florence and had to stay an extra night in Venice. It's the kind of thing that would've had be freaking out and feeling increasingly anxious about just a few months ago but when it happened, I found myself just laughing. We ended up finding a cheap hotel to sleep a few hours in before taking a (scarily) early morning train to Florence and even enjoyed a slice of delicious pizza and some gelato while sitting on a bridge overlooking the canal. It was one of my favorite nights of spring break and I'm feeling a nostalgic pang in my chest as I write all of this. And the crazy thing is, as unbelievably beautiful and amazing Venice was, everything only got better from there.