Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day #7 Venice for the Day! Today the team traveled from Rome to Venice on another 4 hour train ride. We left our hotel and loaded the train, which was not as luxurious as the first one we took. And when I say luxurious I mean there was not as much leg room. Anyway, when we arrived at the station in the outer city of Venice, we took a short two block walk to our hotel. We settled into our rooms, got freshened up, and headed back to the station to catch a regional, which means public transportation, train to the main part of Venice. We crossed a long bridge across the water and passed a huge port where we saw some cruise ships and other big boats.      After about ten minutes we got to the main station and went our separate ways through the city. It didn't take me very long to find the nearest gondola station, because that was what I was looking forward to the entire trip! Megan, my mom Jenny, her friend LL, and I jumped on the gondola and had a beautiful tour around the canals. The canal system is pretty unique. The Grand Canal is the main street in the city. There is a lot of boat traffic and to be honest it was a little scary trying to get across it! Once we crossed the main channel we drifted into what you could call a side street, which was a much smaller canal. The water was a lot calmer and it was peaceful and quiet. The gondola boatman educated us on some history of the city. We found out that the water level is fairly inconsistent, and depending on the season differentiates where the water level is. He also mentioned that the actual city of Venice is sinking about 1 millimeter every year. We also passed a portion of the canal where a scene from the "Italian Job" was filmed, along with a building that a scene from one of the James Bond movies was filmed. I thought the best part of the gondola tour was when our boatman sang to us! The gondola ride was by far my favorite part of the entire trip!    After we got off the gondola we wandered the streets of Venice to do some shopping. We discovered that Venice was the prime place to buy jewelry. Almost every other store was a glass store. Artists everywhere were selling all the hand blown glass products they had made. These made great gifts for friends and family back home, and wasn't super expensive either. The part I enjoyed most was how beautiful the city was. When you think Italy you think Venice. The streets were long and narrow, surrounded by tall apartments that had unique features to them. The age of the city was reflected through its architecture, and the general consensus from everyone on the trip was that this was by far the best place we have been.     The group ended up meeting in the Piazza San Marco. It is a huge square surrounded by a beautiful building made of tall columns, a giant clock tower, and a jaw dropping church with wonderful detail to capture the beauty of the whole square. The team wandered off from the coaches and other adults to have a team dinner. We adventured through the streets poking our heads into different places until we settled for a small restaurant of the beaten path. You could say it wasn't our best Italian meal, but it filled our stomachs. After dinner Hannah, Megan and Lexi met up with Allison, Ashley Rhoades, Kelly  and Carlos for a Gondola ride, while Jordan, Miquella, Ashley Newman, and myself roamed the streets to do some shopping. I found a few more gifts for friends back home, while Miquella and Ashley found some great clothing deals in a little Italian boutique. After shopping we made our way back to the station and eventually to the hotel.   Next time you read the blog we will be headed to Slovenia for our last matches and some great team bonding activities! Thanks for reading. Ciao!!! Elsa Krieg #16

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