Without a doubt, the best part about studying abroad is traveling abroad, especially on a budget. This weekend, I was lucky enough to go back to the city that is arguably the best place I have ever called my home: Venice, Italy.
After a good friend visited me in Salamanca from Casa Artom, the Wake house in Venice, I knew I would do anything to return. I quickly began to planning, and was lucky enough to have several friends on my program who were game to come along for the ride.
We only had about 53 hours to truly take in the city. Although we traveled over a 4-day weekend, the trip there took about 12 hours, while the trip home lasted a whopping 15 hours! It was worth it to have a little over two full days to walk around the fish-shaped city and revisit all my favorite places.
While in Venice, we were blessed with beautiful, warm, sunny weather. We had the opportunity to walk along the Grand Canal, take pictures on the Accademia and Rialto bridges, visit the famous “Boy with Frog” statue, climb the bell tower for a panoramic view of the city, and explore all of Piazza San Marco. The best part, however, was probably having the opportunity to not only see the city, but to share it with my new friends. I had been nervous about getting lost in the labyrinth-like streets, or my friends disliking what I chose for us to do. It was clear, though, that they were as enamored with the city as I had initially been. So exciting!
The other wonderful aspect about being back in Italy was, of course, the food. At this point in the semester, given that all of us live with Spanish families, we have enjoyed our fair share of Spanish cuisine. To take a 4-day break from paella and jamón ibérico was marvelous. All of us immensely enjoyed the staples of the Venetian diet: pizza, pasta, panini, prosecco, and gelato. I made sure we hit my favorite pizzeria, dinner restaurant, panini shop, wine bar, and gelateria.
Possibly the best part of the trip was seeing new faces. I love that Wake has houses in many cities filled with hospitable Wake students ready to accept visitors on a moment’s notice. It was so fun to be back in that house and surround ourselves with our peers, swap stories from our semesters abroad, and play a little pong in the dining room like true Americans.
Now our finals are drawing nearer and everyone is in full-on study mode. A brief getaway to such a fun and magical city was the perfect break we needed to clear our minds and have a good time before buckling down once again to take on exams before returning to the 336.