Why Wales? Entry #9: The Italian Adventure “Days 1-3”
Day 1. March 20, 2010
Day one was a day of travel.
We were all set to take the megabus from Cardiff to London and then another bus to the London-Stansted Airport, but we realized the night before that that the times we planned did not give us enough time to check in to the airport. So we had to replan. A big part of traveling, especially independently is not only planning, but replanning. We were not only ready to see and do everything, but we were ready for things to go wrong- and times to not match up properly. We were able to fix it by taking a train to London instead. We took the train from Cardiff to London, then the tube to abother train station- and finally another train to the London Stansted airport, which took us to Venice.
We arrived in Venice around 11pm, and got to our hotel by midnight. Venice was so quiet and beautiful at night. After checking into our room, we wandered around a bit and enjoyed some water. We didn’t spend too long out since we wanted to get up early and enjoy the day.
Day 2 March 21st 2010
Venice and Piacenza
We started the day off realizing just how confusing it is to get around Venice. Since there are no roads, only waterways for boats, and small pathways for pedestrians; we seemed to be wandering aimlessly until we found a sign. The interesting thing is that even though there are official signs pointing to places of interest, there are apparently not enough. Some graffitti artists took it upon themselves to make sure that the tourists find their way.
We enjoyed some italian pastries and then went to the Rialto Bridge. The city is beautiful from all angles! We shopped in the stores and admired the multitude of Murano Glass. We then headed to St. Mark’s Square and enjoyed some pizza and gelato as the infamous pigeons flew about.
After a casual day in the city, we went to the train station to head to Piacenza. Piacenza is a small city where Marissa’s family lives. She has met these second cousins (Lorenzo and Miriam) several times, but this was the first time she visited them on her own. We arrived at their lovely home where a late dinner had been prepared for us. We met both of their mothers, who are stereotypical Italian grandmothers. They would make sure we were well fed, and taken care of. Even though I couldn’t communicate with them, I really enjoyed being around them. We also met Miriam and Lorenzo’s daughter who is 22 years old.
Dinner was delicious! Tortellini, and plenty of it! All the food was amazing. It was such an experience to be with a real Italian family and enjoy a real Italian meal.
Day 3 March 22, 2010
We woke up around 9am, and enjoyed some breakfast as the grandmothers did their best with conversing. I was surprised how much I was able to understand without knowing any Italian. Since I used to major in French, the similarites, as well as the context and body language made it easier to understand.
After breakfast, Lorenzo and Miriam took us on a walking tour of Piacenza. It is a small city, but very beautiful. We saw many churches, and enjoyed some tea at the theater cafe. After a few hours out, we headed back to their home for lunch. This lunch had so much food I had to double check the clock and make sure it wasn’t dinner. I wasn’t expecting so much food for lunch!
We relaxed a bit more, and then headed back out to Castell’ Arquato which is outside of Piacenza. The views from Castell’ Arquato were amazing, and the castle was so grand. Then we headed to a mideval village called Grazano Visconti .
Upon returning home, Miriam provided us with cozy slippers and we relaxed until dinner. Dinner was pizza, with assorted meats, cheeses, and vegetables.
The time I spent in Piacenza with Marissa’s family was one of the best experiences. Not only did I get to have real Italian cuisine, but I met her wonderful family. Lorenzo and Miriam were so friendly and hospitable and really enjoyed having us there. It made me miss speaking a foreign language because I wanted to express how thankful I am for their generosity. I will be sending them a thank you card soon. Spending the time in Piacenza made the Italian adventure unique. 🙂