#TakeoverThursday: Tiffany Kuiper's Visit to Venice
Reflecting on my trip to Italy, I think my favourite place would have to be Venice. The bright colours, sweet sound of romantic music, bold and flamboyant costumes, the decked-out boats and the city were all so incredible and very memorable. However, my adventure started long before I went to Venice.
Before coming to Italy, I was unsure if I was going to be able to go to Venice because of the time, distance and money. Everyone was telling me that I needed to go to because it’s so beautiful and it’s something that everyone should go and see in their lifetime. After exploring Italy as a solo traveller, going on my day tours, and needing to make my own decisions, over time, I slowly built more confidence. When I was in Florence, I often rang my mum to keep in contact with her, to keep her posted on my whereabouts and ask what I should explore on my weekend. At the beginning of my trip, I knew that I wanted to go to Venice, but didn’t know how, when and didn’t want to go by myself.
After seeing the Gucci museum, I somehow struck up a conversion with a group of girls that I hardly knew. We had lunch together and I instantly felt very comfortable and knew that I could be myself around them. From that moment, I was the 6th member to their friendship group and boy, did we get up to some serious mischief!
Fast forward to a couple of days before our trip, the girls and I bought too many tickets for the train and I was out of pocket a LOT of money. My stress levels were sky high and I was not a cool cucumber. Thank heavens for Steph (one of the girls in our friendship group) for helping me resolve the problem, and a big shout out goes to the lady working at the train company for fixing it up. I tell ya, not all heroes wear capes!
Skip forward to the weekend we’d been awaiting.
The girls and I had an early start as we needed to be at the train station before 8am. Some of the girls took the taxi to the station but I power walked it there! When you have some upbeat tunes, you become the flash and the cold doesn’t bother ya.
The girls and I all arrived at the station and we boarded the train to Venice.
Two hours later, we were in Venice!
The day we arrived Venice marked the start of Carnival and there was a huge boat parade. The parade didn’t start on time (The event ran on Italian time. The only time when Italians are efficient is when it comes to transport - I learnt the hard way but that’s another story).
Carnival FINALLY started and it was mesmerising! The colours, costumes, masks, boats and music captured the audience’s attention and everyone was seriously snapping to get the best shot. After Carnival finished, the girls went and bought masks for souvenirs for family and friends. Carnival fed us with excitement but our stomachs on the other hand, weren’t. We all ordered some food and ate by the water. The view was spectacular, but what else do you expect, it’s Venice!
Libi (another member of our group) had previously visited Venice, so she naturally became our tour guide (P.S. She was great and very knowledgeable). Libi lead us to many tourist attractions and bridges which meant, a lot of photos were snapped!
A couple of hours later, the girls and I were on a boat to Murano. If you don’t know, Murano is well known for making glassware and we only had a limited amount of time on the island because the sun was going down and, we needed to catch the next boat to San Marco. The girls spent 30 minutes in just one glass store and I was getting a bit restless because we had places to go - like San Marco.
The girls basically bought out the entire store and were still eager to shop more! And I was like, “Noooooo!”. We boarded the boat eventually and caught a stunning view of the sunset over Venice.
I was busily snapping away and didn’t realise that we may had left a member behind! Opps. We soon found them after calling them on Facebook Messenger. And I think when we found our missing member, that’s where we should have got off at. Libi was banned from saying San Marco because, she was mentioning the name too much and was driving everyone slightly bananas. After getting off at the nearest stop and boarding another boat, we somehow made it to San Marco.
San Marco was picturesque but we couldn't appreciate all of its beauty because it was night time. We snapped a few quick photos and bolted through the streets of Venice of because time was ticking and we needed to find the train station, fast! Earlier on in the day, I saw these fantastic fuzzy bougie hats. I didn’t buy in at first but I knew that I was going to buy it later on. That time came and I was on the lookout for the most perfect bougie hat and I needed to find it fast. I legged it through the streets of Venice with my power jams in my ears and knew that it needed to be black. The first black bougie hat that I saw, I bought in under 2 minutes. After the sales lady gave me my hat and we all bolted to the train station like there was no tomorrow!
We all made it to the station and boarded the train in one piece. Relieved and thankful, we spoke nonstop the whole trip home. It was a memorable day, even though everything didn’t go according to plan. Us girls bonded in the hard times and now can look back and laugh at our day in Venice.
P.S. Here’s the story about Pooh Bear: When I went on my first overseas holiday, my mum said that I could only bring one soft toy and somehow, Pooh Bear was the chosen one. Pooh Bear/my son has been America, Japan, China, Peru, South East Asia, South Pacific and now Italy.
When I got to the airport, I realised that I forgot Pooh Bear. I felt like a real goose that I forgot Pooh Bear but he soon joined me as my mum sent him in the mail.
University of California San Diego/ United States of America
"The program was amazing from start to finish. It is hard to narrow down the highlights as I really did love everything; the interesting content the course covered, informative field trips, incredible cultural and historical sites visited, the exceptional hospitality of our host mum and of course, making lots of new friends!"
"One of the main highlights was the passion in which all teachers provided. The fact that they also provided information not just on architecture but about culture and life experiences. Going out in Rome (field work) and drawing is the main catalyst for enjoyment and to invoke passion."