Italy: Venezia

This weekend four of us girls took a trip to Venice and Verona and I totally fell in love with both cities.  They have a very different feel than Firenze and it was interesting to see another part of the country since we’ve spent all of our time in Tuscany so far (Venice and Verona are in the Veneto region of Italy).

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We used the water bus to get from the train station to the Rialto dock.

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During different times of the day parts of the city would begin to flood!

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Gondola ride?  We did that.  They gave us a deal (80 Euro), so split four ways it wasn’t too horribly expensive.  Our gondolier pointed out Marco Polo’s house and a few other sights, and it was pretty cool watching how skillfully he was able to maneuver the gondola around the canals.

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St. Mark’s Basilica — I didn’t have enough time to go in here or the Doge’s Palace because we only had one whole day in the city and the lines were insanely long (Since we have our Uffizi cards in Florence I’ve gotten used to getting in the major sights for free and with no wait, so it was actually a bit of a shock how long the lines were!  Clearly we’ve been spoiled!).

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I managed to find some steampunk masks!  I didn’t buy any of the large masks because they were so expensive (and because I wasn’t sure how I would get one home in my suitcase).  I did end up buying two miniature masks in the more traditional style, and one of the shopkeepers was kind enough to give us a bit of a lesson in what they meant.

The Casanova mask is designed in such a way as to create a sort of voice box and was used by men going into gambling establishments or other “nighttime” activities where they might not want to be recognized.  The Plague Doctor mask had a long nose stuffed with herbs to help keep the wearer safe from plague.

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Two of us went to Murano and Burano, the glass and lace production islands, and another girl and I went to Lido, where we rented a two person bike and rode around the island for a couple of hours.  It was a blast — I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard.

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Steampunk

I had quite the weekend, cleaning and cleaning and cleaning.  Mostly.  And it only took so long because our dryer is totally awful and takes 5 hours to dry one load.  I’m not even kidding.

But in between making delicious food and cleaning the apartment and taking the dog out I found some time to go out.  I have a confession to make.  I’m a bit nerdy.  What?  No!  Yes, I am a nerd at heart, and I suppose that’s what reading, writing, and being on the high school speech and debate team will do to you (I haven’t been in high school for quite some time but that sort of thing sticks with a person).

Over the last few years I’ve gone from being interested in steampunk to actually finding ways to participate in it.  It started, as most of my interests, with a book.  In this case, it was Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, which is fabulous, by the way, and you should definitely read it if you like steampunk, vampires, romance, mystery, and the like.  After reading several other books in the genre I began to write one (which I am still currently working on, and if school and work will leave me alone for just two seconds, I might actually finish).  Anyway, I found out through pure coincidence that there is a Steampunk Society here in Bellingham!  I was ever so excited, but it was a bit of trouble to find a way to actually meet them.  In another stroke of luck, I found out about a steampunk masquerade party at the local bookstore Village Books (follow the link for pictures).  I dressed up, attended, and lo and behold, the Steampunk Society was there!  I made their acquaintance (it was really quite a pleasure) and just yesterday attended my very first society meeting.

It just so happens that the Steampunk Society holds their meetings at one of my very favorite restaurants here in town, Skylarks.  The decor and atmosphere there are amazing, as is the food.  Below is the Macadamia Nut Mousse I had after my Gourmet Spinach Salad.

So I had quite the entertaining night indeed, and even managed to pick up a few extra doodads for my outfit.  [And oh, by the way, if you’ve no idea what steampunk is, as I suspect many of you might not, here is a link to an explanation, which is actually a report I did for my Children’s Literature class last spring quarter].

*Also, if you’re wondering why this appears under a relationships tag, the answer is simple: I am an introvert.  It is extremely difficult for me to put myself out there to join clubs and make new friends, so one of my goals for this year is to join more groups and meet people. 🙂