Last weekend my roommates and I ventured off to Venice, Italy for the famous Carnival. Carnivals happen in a lot of European countries, but Venice is most known for their burlesque style masks and costumes each year. We took a three hour bus ride to Venice, arriving in Tronchetto, where we could shop for a mask, and where Ashley had to purchase a satchel after hers broke on the way off the bus! From Tronchetto, we took about three or four water buses to Burano, an island of Venice. Usually we wouldn’t have needed to make that many transfers, but since Venice was so crowded due to the Carnival, the water bus destinations were different, and it took us longer to get to Burano. Before Burano there is another island off of Venice called Murano, which is famous for their glass blowing shows and workshops that showcase gorgeous glass blown objects, but we were too late for the shows.

Upon arriving in Burano, you notice that all the houses are painted truly bright, eccentric colors. This is for the sailors who, many years ago, needed something to signal their arrival in coming home through the fog of the sea. The streets are skinny and narrow, with displays of lace outside the shops, and laundry hanging on balcony railings up above. The streets were empty due to the Carnival happening over at Piazza San Marco, the center of Venice. For lunch, we expected seafood, for Venice is known for its fresh, amazing seafood, but it was very expensive at the place we went to. When all else fails: Pizza! I ordered Lucifero Pizza, and the image below below that is a Bratwurst Pizza, which is a German sausage made up of veal, pork or beef, finely chopped. I ate the entire thing. You can also see Ashley’s pizza in the background. It has an egg right in the middle, but I don’t remember what kind it was.

We paid for our place mats ( or for the action of sitting down), like you do in many Italian restaurants. At this palace in particular, purple place mats with silverware wrapped in a purple napkin.

After we took some pictures of the breathtaking area, floating boats on the water against the rainbow of houses, the sun setting over the port, the cute flowerpots in the window of a neon orange house with blue shutters, and the leaning tower in the distance, we took the 4:35 water bus to San Marco. Upon our arrival, we walked through narrow, dark cobblestone alleys, which were really just streets in between high stone buildings, up rock steps, and over small bridges over the water ways where gondolas pass. The water glinted from the lights going off in the distance, and the confetti that lay on the streets gave promise to Carnival ahead.

We walked over the Rialto Bridge, which is a famous bridge in Venice and one of Venices top attractions; the first of four bridges over the Grand Canal. Under the bridge are shops and above, lookout perches for the gondola filled water way.

Finally we arrived at San Marco square, where the crowds were thick, people dressed in extravagant costumes of gold and purple sequins, leather, paisley vests and  families dressed in medieval attire, lace and wigs. The population who were not dressed up danced around with their wine bottles flying in the air, being thrown to the ground along with explosions of confetti and yelling and singing. The magnificent buildings of San Marco draped the event and looked so powerful against the night sky. Lights cascaded off the buildings from the main stage in towards the back of the square, where the crowd was more condensed. A giant music video played on the stage, where a DJ also stood, along with people dressed in costumes, dancing and posing for pictures on a runway.

Ashley and I were cold and exhausted from our four hour water bus excursion, stuffed like sardines on the tiny boats. We tried to get in the mood of the Carnival, although we  had missed the costume shows and wine fountain that happened earlier on in the day while we were in Burano, and it was raining. We walked around soaking it all in, finally bought bottle of sparkling wine and two chocolate desserts, and then tried to dodge the Italian men hitting on us as we walked to the water bus to head back to Tronchetto and meet with the rest of the group for departure.

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