It’s my fifth week in Italy and, now that Terry is here, time is flying by. He arrived on Friday and met us in Venice, Bride of the Sea, Queen of the Adriatic. It was Carneval so there were tens of thousands of people walking the streets. In fact, when I was attempting to lead a group of students to a mask making seminar, we were caught in a narrow street in a huge crowd of people and no one was going anywhere; we were stopped dead for what seemed to me like a lifetime but I’m sure it was only a few minutes. Crossing the Rialto Bridge was another adventure as so many people want to stop there and take pictures or have their pictures taken. Otherwise, it was a great experience to see the fantastic costumes, the masks and simply to absorb the atmosphere of that famous city. We saw the Doge’s palace which is one of the most fascinating buildings I have ever been in; the history of intrigue and unbelievable wealth is revealed in the building itself with secret doors and paintings by so many of the great masters.
Terry and Barbara and I walked around
after the tours with the students were over and sat by one of the canals with a glass of wine as the sun set. We hope to find some time in June to go back and see some of the places we didn’t have time for on this trip. Barbara actually braved the crowds which had swelled to massive numbers (apparently 55,000 people descended on the city that weekend for Carneval in an area about the size of New York’s Central Park) and went back to St. Mark’s Square in the early evening.
On Sunday we boarded the bus and headed back to CCI. On the way we stopped in Verona to see the coliseum and take a look at Juliet’s Balcony. It isn’t really her balcony; there wasn’t really ever a Juliet after all. Someone built it in the 1920’s and it’s become a tourist destination. I couldn’t find anywhere to put letters to Juliet as they do in the recent movie. It was pouring rain (il cascada in Italian) and difficult to get through the crowds to see much of anything. All in all, not my favourite spot. The coliseum on the other hand is the best
preserved coliseum in Rome but we didn’t go inside (that would have been a better use of time in my mind). It is still used for operas in the summertime.
We got home safely and had a late start on Monday morning that allowed Terry and I to get unpacked and have a little breakfast at the local market. He has gotten right in to the swing of things at CCI, helping to teach the phys ed classes, teaching juggling to my drama students for their commedia del arte unit and taking beginner Italian class with the CCI students. This leaves him little time to learn to smoke and drink wine with the Italian men in the main square. I guess he’ll have to do that when he comes back in May.
Friday night was the school’s Venetian Ball and we wore our masks and had a great time socializing with the students. Last night was a wine and cheese party with the other teachers (can’t seem to find a bad bottle of wine around here), an early night some school work today and prep for the dinner the house at school I am affiliated with is hosting.
I helped bake a cake for dessert and Terry is cooking the burgers.
We are planning our March Break trip to Sicily with George and Debbie and will also go to Rome and Florence on our own. I don’t think I’ll be posting anything until after the two week break but I will have lots to share then. Ciao!
Sorry about the lack of photos of the actual Carneval; I stopped taking pictures when Terry arrived because he had the good camera. I didn't realize he had forgotten to bring the cord so I could download them:) That reminds me, we visited the church of Santa Lucia, the saint who helps you find lost things. There's even a prayer that you can say to ask her to help you find things you have lost. I told Terry to learn it.
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