11 July 2015

And That's a Wrap, Folks!

I'm sorry that I haven't posted in awhile! It was recently brought to my attention that I left all of my faithful readers hanging in Venice and failed to provide closure for my trip - my sincerest apologies. I will rectify this situation now.

Venice was amazing! After my "Grand Tour" the next day I went to the Academia with Elyse, Preston and Hunter to see my favorite Titian painting:

Then they were planning to go to the Bienalle, a worldwide modern art show that is held in Venice. As a not very cultured person who has never liked modern art I did not particularly want to pay the 30 euro admittance fee to see art I didn't really care about. However, having separated from Natalie (and thus from our hotel keys) I had little choice. It wouldn't have been much of a problem, I could have just gone home and waited for someone with keys to show up - but it was raining....again. As previously related I was struggling to live a poncho-less existence. After lunch with Hunter (pizza and cappuccino) and a tete-a-tete he had managed to convince me that I should go to the Bienalle - boy was he right!

The art at the Bienalle was fascinating:

The art was divided into separate small house-like structures that were allotted to different countries.

My favorite was Japan:

After the Bienalle, Preston, Hunter and I went to the Lido to meet Alex and Hope. The Lido an island that abuts the sea instead of the Grand Canal. It was very fun walking along the beach. Hunter and I sang hymns and Elyse found a dead crab which she named Edward and gave a fitting funeral and burial. Then we went to dinner (I tried a Spritz) and rode the vaporetto home as the sun set, seeing Venice from the sea as it should be seen.

The next day it was time to leave Venice. It was one of the best experiences of my entire life - seeing Venice after taking a course entirely devoted to studying its art and history. 

Then it was into the trains for an exhausting day of travel. Back at the castle we had our finals - which totally stressed me out! I studied some in Venice at night and then on the train ride back. We also had a wine tasting: 

And went to the Dolomites, one of the most beautiful sites in Italy:

Michi, Princess Mary's grandson, is an avid hiker and he took us up to see a glacier and then we hiked back down:

The next day, after our final, I rappelled down the side of the castle (again with Michi's guidance). It was a blast! 

Our last night at the castle Dr. Redman made us an Italian supper to speed us on our way. It was very good! I brought a homemade cobbler (I picked the fruit for the filling from trees at the castle). Princess Mary came for dessert and had two servings of my cobbler! I was so happy she enjoyed it.

Then it was time to leave the castle. Staying at the castle had been a wonderful dream come true. I will never forget it and I strongly desire a return trip (Brigitte told me they want me to come back...I am happy to oblige!). Natalie, Hunter and I set out for the train station, lugging our ridiculously heavy (in my case) luggage up the monstrous mountain of a hill to Dorf Tirol. 

We were so thankful for Hunter, who helped us quite a lot with out luggage. Natalie and I spent a miserable night at a hostel in Bolzano. There was no air conditioning and it was over 90 degrees! But the hostel had breakfast the next morning and was very clean, so it definitely could have been worse. Then on to Milan where we spent the night again.

We were determined not to spend a night in Milan without seeing the city, so we went to dinner in the historical center and looked at the Duomo (not sure why it's called that) from the outside. The church was already closed by the time we made it into the city. 

After walking around Milan and eating dinner we returned to our hotel (the nicest hotel we stayed our entire trip to Italy!) and checked our luggage, repacking and making sure everything was ready for our trip home. I ended up getting a grand total of 3 hours sleep before embarking on my 20+ hour flight home...not optimal. Here I would like to provide a brief overview of United's service. ALL United flights run late. I never had a flight my whole trip that left, or arrived, on time. Which ended up being an asset in Munich when it took us a ridiculous amount of time to clear not one, but TWO security points - we had never left the airport...I did not understand that one at all. Then when we finally landed on the tarmac in Texas, exhausted and so ready to go home, we had to wait for over an hour in the airplane for an entrance to the airport to open up. Apparently a lot of flights from Houston were sent to DFW because of bad weather in Houston...it was getting to the point where I thought they should deploy the slides used in ocean landings and just let us slide down and go home! But finally we were allowed to get off the plane and I was officially HOME!! :) 

I really miss Italy. It was so peaceful there, in the Tyrollean mountains. It was so cool there (always got down 60 degrees at night....) but I am very thankful to be home safe, back with my family who I missed dreadfully! School will start back up in a few weeks and my Chick-fil-A is about to re-open, new, shiny and clean! Soon my life will be back to normal. I will never forget my stay in Italy. It was a beautiful, lovely dream. A paradise that I got to taste for a fleeting moment. Hopefully I will be able to return someday. But until that time, I will live my life here, an adventure in America, one day at a time! Thank you for reading!

Back at Home with my Family

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