When I was a student at John Cabot University, it was pretty easy to fall into a daily routine:
1. Grab a quick spremuta and cornetto from Bar Settimiano, the local coffee bar, before class.
2. Have lunch with a few friends in the Tiber Cafe, or grab a panino to go.
3. Meet up with the same friends at the end of the day in the Lemon Tree Courtyard.
4. Hang out at my apartment with my roommates.
5. Head to the library to work on a paper or meet with classmates for a group project.
6. Go out and explore Rome.
7. And repeat….
While this was a wonderful routine that defined some of the best years of my life, it was also important to me to leave Rome occasionally and explore the other beautiful cities and towns that Italy has to offer. Looking back, I wish I had done that a little more often, but I am truly happy with the memories that I made on some of my travels throughout the country.
One of my favorite adventures was a trip to Venice with one of my roommates, Michelle. It was our final semester and we both really wanted to explore Venice together, especially during Carnevale. However, we wanted to cut costs and knew that hotels would be especially expensive that month, so we decided to take the train in the morning, spend a couple of hours there, and then catch an evening train back to Rome. Most people told us we were crazy to make our journey to Venice a day trip, but we were excited and ready for the adventure.
We definitely had our share of “mishaps”. The weather was much colder than we expected, and we got lost several times through the labyrinth of tiny streets and crossing the many canals. On top of that, our train back to Rome broke down somewhere outside of Florence, delaying our return until late at night. But none of that mattered. We laughed everything off and just felt happy to be there, taking on a new city together, for the last time before graduation.
Today, when people ask me what my favorite city in Italy is, of course the answer is always Rome. But I always say my second favorite city is Venice. There was something beautiful about Venice to me, even in its cold, chaotic disorder. Maybe it is the beautiful Gothic architecture, or the fact that its inhabitants and their homes, belongings, and entire lives are floating on thousands of islands. Maybe it’s that the canals are the city’s “roads” and the little boats are the means of transportation. Something about Venice will always be wonderfully surreal, and this trip was the perfect way to experience it.
To me, it is a city that you will always get lost in, but getting lost in Venice will never be scary or unpleasant; it will just open up another side of the city that you otherwise may not experience. I’m so glad Michelle and I decided to go there, even if we were cold, rushed for time, lost, and stuck in an empty train station on our way home! It is a day I will never forget.
Alexa Vujaklija (Shearer)
Class of 2015
Grew up in the United States, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria