I’ve been in Venice for a good 6 hours now. It’s been an interesting set of experiences so far, including stepping out of the airport and on to a boat to get to the hotel and walking about a city that is so completely different from any other major city I’ve ever been in (and I’ve been in a fair few).
Venice really is a city of canals, a city essentially built on water. But you quickly get used to it. After the initial shock/amazement of seeing buildings practically rising out of the water, it doesn’t take too long to get used to the sight of small boats winding their through canals or crossing a bridge every few dozen steps. In some ways Venice reminds me of Calcutta where I’ve spent most of my life. There are lots of tiny little alleys and lanes with lots of old buildings with different architectural styles. However, unlike Calcutta there has been no large scale modernization and the more modern buildings and marketplaces fit in really well with the rest of the city. We haven’t really had a chance to see the churches or other culturally relevant parts of the city but we have a few more days to get on with that.
I’ve already had a small glimpse of Italian cuisine. We had a light lunch of meat and cheese appetizers, spaghetti and risotto and it was all quite delicious. The recommended €15 bottle of red wine (a Merlot) went with the meal quite well. Now I am certainly not a connoisseur of wine by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d like to think that I’m developing a palette (and I’ll certainly have good teachers in Italy’s wine country). For dinner we’ve been promised an assorted seafood dish that is reportedly a Venetian specialty which I’m looking forward to. Coming from Calcutta, I’ve grown up with good sea food all my life and is something I almost never get in Easton, Pennsylvania.
It’s been a rather long and fun-filled day and a half with not much sleep. My roommate is currently fast asleep and I will have to wake him up before dinner. I’m tempted to do the same, expect I know that I wouldn’t be able to get up in time. So tonight will likely be a quiet night with some reading and pen-and-paper journaling (plus some emailing home to let my parents know I’m alright). Tomorrow promises to be an even more interesting day as we really dive into our course material and take a proper tour of Venice and the various interesting places.