Human Gridlock

On Saturday, February 18, Anna, Maria and I were greeted a beautifully sunny day in Venice. We took our time meandering through the narrow streets as we made our way to Piazza San Marco.  


Having been to Venice twice before, I was prepared for the Piazza to be filled with pigeons as usual but instead found it to be filled with just as many people! In the center of the piazza, a huge stage was set up, donning bands, performances and costume contests throughout the day. There were also food and mask stands set up all around. But the most entertaining aspect was all the people! Everyone was wearing a festive mask and many wore lavish costumes. I kept thinking, “So this is where Lady Gaga get her inspiration.” For every person dressed up there were at least ten more surrounding them, taking pictures. It was crazy!

We all decided to join the fun and get our faces painted! Later we sat outside at a café along the main strip for lunch and enjoyed seeing all of the costumes, watching all the people pass by, and feeling the sun on our faces.

We eventually made our way to the Rialto Bridge. What was suppose to be a simple ten minute walk to the bridge turned into a thirty minute walk due to the vast amounts of people in Venice for Carnival. At one point, we couldn’t move because there were so many people. Between the narrow streets, and all the people, it was “human gridlock!”

By late afternoon it was time for a coffee search! We headed to McDonalds hoping for a nice American coffee – about the only time I will enter a McDonalds. On our way there we picked up some pastries we had been seeing everywhere for carnival. They were fried dough with raisins filled with cream and rolled in sugar. Although my arteries cringed, my mouth was happy. Unfortunately my tongue was not as pleased with the coffee – was actually pretty gross... Where’s my Starbucks?!?

For dinner that evening, we decided to enjoy one of things Venice does best – fish. After looking at a number of options we found a place we liked. I ordered fish soup and was pleasantly surprised with just how much fish it entailed! There were clams, mussels, shrimp, salmon, and octopus (which I tried for the first time!). All of it was soaked in a tomato broth base and served with bread. It was quite possibly my favorite dish yet! – And with all the amazing food I’ve been eating, that’s saying something.

We enjoyed some of carnival festivities at night before heading to the train station to catch a 12:30am train to the mainland (Maestra), and a 3:11am train to Florence, finally arriving home at 6:30am on Sunday. Oh the joys of traveling as a cheap college student…

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, what an incredible adventure your Venice trip looks like! Was Carnival the same as Mardi Gras in New Orleans? Is it the street party the weekend before Lent begins? Interesting. I'll have to add that to my Bucket List.

    The fish soup looks and sounds incredible! I'd love a serving of that right now! I've got to look for a recipe of that? Does it have an Italian name?