Carnivale, the original Mardis Gras, hit Europe like a storm. It was celebrated in most cities, but cities such as Koeln, Mainz, Basel and Venice are known for the biggest celebrations. In Germany, Carnivale is called “Fashing” (we celebrated it in Heidelberg with a Halloween-esque costumes and a big, long, drunken parade!). In Basel, Switzerland, Carnivale is celebrated a weekend later and the costumes are more old-fashioned and normally more scary (witches, long noses, elaborate and dark masks) – and in Venice, Carnivale is more elegant and classy. People dress up in ball gowns and hold up hand-made, glittery masks.
We thought it might be fun to join in on the festivities in Venice, just because it is known be the best there and ended up catching the first day of the festitives. It was a huge celebration – everyone was wearing full out costumes, masks galore, conffetti, wine, music…it was a blast! You couldn’t help but have a good time.
Venice itself is a beautiful city. I loved checking out all the canals inbetween the buildings and the glass blowing. We got some pizza, some gelato and we were SET. It was a good thing that the Carnivale festitivies didn’t start until around 4 o’clock. Since we took a night train and got there around 9 in the morning, that gave us a good chance to see Venice without the extra hype. It also gave us some time to purchase some masks so that we could join in on everything later on in the evening. We met up with a lot of people from the Switzerland program and the Florence program. The more people, the better! It was really great to see everyone and hang out. Once the Italy people got there, we really didn’t have to do much navigating because most of them had been to Venice before – so that was an added bonus.
That night, we said goodbye to Venice and made our way to Firenze to spend the night at the Florence house with all the kids. That next day we got the quick tour of Florence from my friend, Brooke. She took us to see David, the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, the leather market…everything! All in one day 🙂 It was really quick, but i feel like we got a good feel for Florence. It’s a bigger city than I imagined – and the Florence house was also a lot different than I imagined. After spending time at the London House, the Heidelberg House and the Florence house – lets just say I’m really happy where I’m at. Moore Haus is definitely a home and I love and appreciate that. But back to Florence….we quickly grabbed some more Pesto and Mozzerella pizza at the place to get “the best pizza in Italy” and literally RAN to catch our couchette back to Heidelberg.
I have one more trip to Italy planned (Rome) and I can’t wait to go back! Italy definitely feels like Italy, if that makes sense. It’s an experience – but I loved coming back to Germany 🙂