Monday, February 11, 2013

Carnevale di Venezia

With school in full swing I rewarded myself with a student trip to Carnevale, in Venice. Carnevale is the Italian (European) Mardi Gras. The trip was a great deal (only 35 euro), it included all of the transportation (buses and water taxi) to St. Mark's Square for the day trip. 

Hope you are in the mood for pictures, that is mainly what this post will be! Be prepared.  

I woke up at 5:30 am to pack a lunch and bundle up before meeting up at the train station at 6:30 where the buses were supposed to be waiting to whisk us away to Venice. In actuality we waited for a little over an hour for the buses to arrive and everyone to figure out the correct bus that they were on. We started the 3 hour journey (which ended up being longer with an hour bathroom break at a rest stop). 
Melanie and I on the bus to Venice!
On the way there I read my Rick Steves book on Venice (I would recommend this book to anyone traveling in Italy) and geared up to see the city that I had been wanting to see since grade school. I felt like the drive into Venice was very un-monumentous. I guess I had just envisioned that it was a city that was more difficult to get to than simply driving over a bridge. Once we got off the bus we hurried to the water taxi along with the hoards of people from the other buses. The water taxi dropped us off right in front of a shop selling masks and other Carnevale paraphernalia. Then it was off into the mobs of people to San Marco's Square. 
Hoards of people headed to the square

Famous Bride of Sighs
Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace)
Finally made it to St. Mark's Square
 Once in St. Mark's Square we got in line to enter into the basilica. Many of the works of art in this cathedral are all in gold leaf and renaissance style, i'm glad I was able to research (via guide book) and appreciate the style and technique of the artwork inside. 

Interesting fact: these horses atop of the cathedral are so old that historians
are unsure how old they are, they may have dates as old as BC.
Unfortunately, like most of the buildings here, the basilica was under
restoration while we were there :( 
 I quickly got tired of the huge masses of people crowded in the square and wanted to explore the small picturesque side streets of Venice. I took a quick break in an alley that smelled like poop near a really beautiful opening to one of the small rivers and ate my lunch that I had packed (Nutella sandwich). Some of my roommates stopped into a pasta-to-go shop and waited 30 minutes so I was content with my sandwich from home.
Eating lunch in the smelly alleyway with a view
After lunch we headed toward the Rialto bridge, one of the 5 bridges that spans the Grand Canal. Rick Steves mentioned that there is usually a fish market that is near Rialto but they either don't do a very large one during Carnevale or we didn't find the right one. I was a little disappointed but there was still plenty for me to see in my short time there! 

Climbing the steps of Rialto Bridge 
Rialto Bridge!
The only fish at that we could find

We made our way back to the the Piazza to meet up with the rest of the group and start the journey back home. We ran into a sea colorful people in a piazza which i'll post pictures of below (in bright orange and yellow) who were extremely entertaining. Everyone in costume was in character and happy to pose for pictures. It was completely different from the American stigma of Mardi Gras which, in my opinion, was more fun. The atmosphere was all about having a good time and really getting into the character of their costumes. I enjoyed people watching and just enjoying the show that was being put on around every corner! 

Lost in a sea of colors

Again, we were about an hour late to depart. I wasn't too sad about the extra hour as it allowed me watch the sunset and purchase a Murano glass ring and a pair of earrings. However, by the end of the hour the water taxi couldn't come soon enough!  

Chilean Soccer team also enoying Carnevale
I gave some sleeping people a scare on the
bus ride home with this mask.
Me, Elyssa and Melanie on the water taxi 

On the bus Elyssa and I had an enthralling conversation with Lorenzo (helps with ESEG the student group) about Amercian food and all of the wonders of KFC and Mac & cheese, neither of which he has been able to try. Needless to say, I miss french fries and cheeseburgers already! 

We got off the bus, onto the metro and headed straight home. Once home we splurged on some take out and crawled into bed. Overall, it was a great day in Venice and as always i'm grateful to be able to experience the beauty of Italy!  

I'll leave you with this little snippet, I saw Johnny Depp! 
Gotcha! Only someone dressed up for Carnevale, he was very believable and had the mannerisms of the true Captain Jack Sparro. 


  1. Hey... were you able to download the Rick Steve's mp3 for the Basilica? :) Looks like you had FUN in Venice!!

  2. I didn't even think about downloading the Mp3 before I left :( luckily I read the book about Venice before leaving. I will definitely do it for the places in Rome though!