What a weekend!
We arrived in Venice via charter bus on Friday around 1 p.m., then proceeded to literally traverse over staircases for 2 km….with our luggage. See below:
Haha, there are so many times we exemplify the “estupido americanos”/tourists, and this was by far the #1 time. Hilarious however. AND, since Claire and I are such worldly travelers, we bought the duffles that convert to backpacks, and despite the foot injury, I made it as well. …..hahahaha.
Regardless, we toured Venice for the remainder of Friday and all of Saturday. Saturday, we took a boat-bus to the islands of Burano and Murano, and watched a glass making demonstration. The islands were so quaint with brightly colored houses and glass shops everywhere. Saturday night, we went to a local bar where the USA/England game was playing and spent some time as true Italians do — drinking and watching soccer. And today, we left Venice for Arezzo!
We arrived at the Venice train station at 8:20 a.m. for what was supposed to be a 4-hour trip to Arezzo. We arrived at our monastery in Arezzo at 5:15 p.m. I’ll let you do the math, but let’s just say it was long and ….. you guessed it, hot. The Italians are hardly concerned with anything, much less speedy movements or quick fixes. As much as we were looking forward to getting to our “home” for the next 3 weeks, it was a struggle of a day. 2 bright spots to today (or, my “happy bubble” as my mom would say): McDonald’s in the Venice train station….yes, I ate 6 chicken McNuggets at 9 a.m., and I do not regret it one bit. Second, Derek had portable Ipod speakers (Tweakers) as we stood on the platform in Venice for 2.5 hours, so we FULLY FULLY epitomized obnoxious Americans by blasting Cha Cha Slide and Cupid Shuffle and performing both inclusive dances. As a group. We were videoed by Chinese tourists and laughed at by gypsies…..but it put smiles on our faces, something that helped carry us through the non-existent lunchtime. But we made it eventually!
This monastery is an interesting living situation…dormitory style living with communal bathrooms and…guessed it again, no air conditioning. You know, as innovative as Italians have been (art, writing, Ferraris, Gucci), you’d think they’d figure out that air conditioning FEELS GOOD. It’s a concept we need to teach. Regardless, Arezzo has been a surprise. It’s beautiful, located in Eastern Tuscany (so the landscape you’d see in a movie about Italy) and the weather has been surprisingly cool and calm. There’s also a plethora of good shops located around (Sephora!) and apparently, a not too bad Mexican restaurant.
Because today was so rough, some of the group decided to visit the backyard of the monastery. It’s a beautiful space, rolling grass and tall trees and benches…so we sat in the grass and listened to Dylan play songs on his guitar. After the pace of the past 9 days, it was wonderful to sit still and enjoy the night sky. As the sun set, clouds swirled and fireflies came out…all to the tune of Dylan’s Dashboard Confessional throwbacks. Cliche? Maybe. But it was exactly what each of us needed.
The real part of schoolwork begins tomorrow, but our days will slow down from here. And soon, we’re going to Cinque Terra on our 4-day weekend. If nothing else, Italy and Italians will force me to step out of myself. What a treat, as usual.