European Vacation: A View From Venice

June 4

Taylor Carico

Over the past several days, we have experienced England, Poland, Hungary, and Slovenia. So what was next on the itinerary???? No where else but one of the most romantic countries in the world, Italy!!!!

The team had an early awakening after the previous night's celebrations in Slovenia. We loaded up onto the infamous tour vans and pushed ahead on a three-hour ride to Italy. We drove through the lush and rolling hills of Slovenia with the destination of none other than Venice. Once we arrived at the hotel in Venice, the team was given a mere 20 minutes to prepare to tour the city all day and all night. Luckily, our speedy preparation allowed us to catch the transit bus over to the center of the city itself.

We were given a meeting time of 6:30 p.m., allowing us over three hours to explore the complex mazes and alley ways existing in Venice. Everyone split up into small groups in order to conquer the shopping, pizza, and gelato (the order varies for specific individuals...hahaha). The designated meeting spot was in the Plaza del Marco underneath the bell tower. Each person made it in the nick of time; furthermore, most were carrying handfuls of newly bagged items. I must say Bethany's (Johansen) and Diane's (Copenhagen) purses were the envy of many of their teammates and I. The entire group took a few pictures together in the magnificent quad among hundreds of roaming pigeons. Once the pictures commenced, we were set free again until 9:00 p.m., where we were supposed to meet back at the bus stop.

Most players hurried off and did 30 minutes of frantic shopping before the stores had their final closing. Kelli (Tennant), Alli (Hillgren), and I immediately went into a few shops on our way while tracing some of the endless paths within the city. Once the stores closed we made our way to one of the many cafes that are so popular in this city. Let me just say dinner was nothing less than amazing with the pastas and pizzas we were served. Time was running out, so Kelli, Alli, and I quickly continued walking until we arrived at the gondola docks. We found a nice man with two daughters who was willing to share the high price of the gondola ride with us. That was definitely the highlight of Venice for me, and pictures couldn't even give it justice.

As darkness was upon us so was the end of the night. It was 9:00 and we all had to meet back at the bus stop in order to get back to our hotel. We all got onto the crowded bus with our many different stories to share, yet the last event came upon us when we witness a peaceful protesters walking with candles next to our bus. We reached the ultimate destination of our hotel a few minutes later and no sooner did each player go back to their room and dream about the adventures of the day.

I want to give a 'shout out' to everyone back home. This has been the experience of a lifetime and I can't wait to share it with you when I return!

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