Arriving in the Floating City
After a seven hour train ride through beautiful mountain country, the group boarded its first vaporetto (water taxi) and settled into the hotel. We didn't sit for long, though; we were soon off again, winding through Venice's maze-like streets in search of dinner. In San Polo Square, we glimpsed a little bit of home in the form of an ice-skating rink, but quickly forgot about it after our first taste of real Italian food.
On Saturday, the group toured some of Venice's greatest landmarks: the Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, and St. Mark's Basilica in Piazza San Marco. Then we visited two museums of Venetian history, one of which specialized in the 18th century--Lord Byron's time. The group felt a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of culture we absorbed, but overall feel we better understand Venice.
A Day on the Beach
We took a day of rest on Sunday and enjoyed the beach on the island of Lido. The sun was out and the sand was soft, perfect for a day of seashell hunting and wading in the icy Adriatic Sea. We also spotted San Lazzaro through the heavy Venetian fog. This was the island where Lord Byron studied Armenian with monks that served the island's leper colony. In discussion that evening, we talked about how Venice, Lord Byron's favorite city, influenced the identity of his emerging adulthood, keeping in mind that he died trying to help oppressed people gain independence.
Glassmaking on Murano
The island of Murano offered a rare glimpse of the artistry of Venetian glassmakers. We were invited up to a glass workshop, where we watched two craftsmen mold ordinary glass rods into delicate birds in flight. After spending some time in the shop, we were free to explore Venice one last time.
The Journey Continues
Tomorrow, we'll be on our way to Florence. Stay tuned for updates of our adventures!