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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mt. Vesuvius, Venice, and the end of my time in Italy

Well, my time here in Rome is officially over. Sorry for the sparse blog posts the last half of the year! These past 11 months certainly have been quite the adventure! I suppose pretty soon I'll have to come up with a new subtitle for my blog as well...any ideas?

My last month or so in Italy has certainly been fun as well! Immediately after finishing my thesis, I spent a week gallivanting around Rome with my two cousins, Beth and Carey. We went to all the museums, saw all the normal touristy things, hopped the train for a day trip to Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius and even squeezed in the Infiorata in Genzano, a "flower carpet" that was made on the main street of a little town just outside of Rome.

Here are a few pics from Mt. Vesuvius:

Last week I decided to head to Venice for the day, since I've never been there before and really wanted to go before I left for the States. I took the night train and got into Venice at about 5:30 in the morning. Walking around the deserted streets and around the mainly empty canals at sunrise was a special treat! It was a nice time of reflection for me, wandering through the thousands of small alleyways, over and around the canals. I took TONS of pictures. Here are a few from sunrise:

Most of the time I was there the whole city was flooded with tourists (even more than Rome!) and I relished finding the small, out of the way parts of the city that weren't quite as crowded. My two favorite parts of Venice were two of the smaller islands, Murano and Burano. Murano is the island where the famous Murano Italian glass is made. It was still pretty touristy, but because there are so many glassworks there, there are a lot of Italians you see just going about their daily lives (on the main island of Venice this is rare). The glass they make there is so beautiful!

Burano was enchanting. It seemed almost like I had stepped into another universe for an hour or so - where Italy is clean, its parks are safe for old people and children to enjoy, and everything is picture perfect. Rather than the huge metal security gates and guard dogs that are so common near Rome, there is merely a piece of cloth hanging over their open front doors to keep out the sun and give a little privacy. It was so peaceful and beautiful. If I ever go back to Venice, I would like to find a place to stay in Burano.

Note the pimped out speaker system in that little boat! Teenagers are the same everywhere.... :)

If you look carefully you can see the colored glass from nearby Murano decorating the flower pots.

Mainstreet in Burano

After visiting Murano and Burano, I headed back to the main island to explore the city by night. Here are a few of my pictures.

Gondolas covered up for the night

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