May 12, 2012
Ciao from Venice!!! I’m Annie and get to write about our awesome day of GTVB fun in Italy today! We had the option to wake up a little earlier and explore the city of Pordenone around out hotel, which most of us took advantage of, and then the whole team and staff took the train into Venice for the day. While walking around Pordenone a bunch of us explored the Swatch shop and learned that converting Euros to US dollars isn’t quite as fun as the Kunas were in Croatia, but have also adopted the “When in Europe?!” mentality as opposed to ‘when in Rome’ and will make do of the great opportunity we have to be here.
At one point Kaleigh [Colson], Mo [Monique Mead], Ashtaan [Horton] and I were running quite short on time, as we were supposed to meet back at the hotel at a certain time so we could take the train into Venice, but we decided to stop for a quick gelato break before literally sprinting back to the hotel (with Mo in a maxi dress and sandals). Kaleigh paid for her 1.10 euro gelato with a 50 euro bill, and so we had to wait extra time for the cashier to go get change, which stressed us out before racing back to the hotel. It was HOT. But don’t worry, we didn’t miss the train, and the gelato was well worth it.
Before we headed to Venice as a team, I had to consult with Zoey [Morton] as to what type of train we would be taking, whether it would be like the Marta we’re used to in Atlanta or something else. We soon found out it was an above-ground train, and while we were waiting at the train station there was a small group of Italian men working on the tracks that definitely stopped just to observe what beautiful ladies we are. No big deal.
It was about an hour and a half ride into Venice, also very toasty, but we were all so excited once we got there. One of our great guides, Nick, told us that none of us wanted a map and that our goal was to get lost in the city. We arrived early afternoon and were given a few hours to explore, eat, and shop, before we were to meet up with everyone in San Marco square all the way on the other side of Venice. In the first half of the day, I walked around with Bailey [Hunter], Ashtaan, Mo, and Quinn [Evans], and we dubbed ourselves “the shopping crew”.
We were very efficient in walking around and choosing what we wanted to look at or buy, and got to see a ton of the city this way by walking around with purpose! We ate lunch in a little outdoor patio, where we learned that you have to pay an extra fee to sit down and eat rather than to just take your food and go, but it was well worth our time and couple extra Euros. We also have found out that we have to beg our waiters to get water with NO GAS or that is “natural”, as none of us have really caught onto the European sparkling water trend.
Walking around was awesome. There were gondolas and accordion players and “That’s Amore” playing, fitting in with just what I pictured Italy being, with a ton of people from all walks of life exploring all of Venice. We even met some other Tech students in San Marco, and we took some pictures with them after they promised to come to our matches in the fall!! There was also one particular tourist who seemed quite interested in us (or Ashtaan mostly) and he snapped pictures of our group and her for a good ten minutes. It was quite the adventure finding our way to meet everyone in San Marco, as we tried to follow small ambiguous signs leading us there. But we made it!
After checking in with everyone we were able to embark further into Venice and wander some of the other streets we weren’t able to see earlier in the afternoon. There were so many beautiful shops…the two main products that stuck out were all of the glass creations and the beautiful masks. There was glass jewelry, plates, bowls, ANYTHING you could imagine, in all sorts of colors and essentially any style. We also went into a shop where there was a man making these masquerade masks out of paper mâché, all hand-painted and of his own design.
Later Kaleigh and Jen [Percy] joined our shopping group, and we found a great place to stop for dinner. The waiter tried to lure us into the restaurant by offering free wi-fi, which may or may not have worked, but we were all starving from being on our feet all day and it felt so good to sit down and enjoy another great meal with my teammates. Our waiter made fun of us a little for trying to speak Italian(which didn’t work out well for me, I pretty much just ended up speaking Spanish and hoped they understood the gist of what I was asking), but he was very sweet and made the dinner enjoyable until we realized we had to find our way back to the train station before departure. Once again, GT volleyball sprinted through Italy and found our way back, with time to spare for gelato.
Loving this trip, looking forward to Milan tomorrow, and GO JACKETS!