Reflecting on our first week here in Venice, I realize that it has been a study in ups and downs. While excited about the extended flight to Venice from Ottawa initially, my actual trip was fraught with delays. My 14 hour trip extended into 20 hours and I arrived quite spent. Definitely a downer!

However, the first glimpse of this city did not disappoint. It was uplifting and awe inspiring. Its incredible beauty is both familiar and foreign. Familiar because it so much a part of our social conscientiousness and foreign because there truly is nothing else like it. It is so very different from anything you could ever experience anywhere else. Tall buildings that are crumbling in elegant decay, surrounded by meandering canal waters, create a vista that everyone recognizes at this place. But, canals, mean you need bridges to connect the various parts of the city and those bridges have stairs up and down, over and over, and over and over. According to our fitness apps we are averaging 10-15 km of walking per day 15-20 flights of stairs per day. Additionally, at 58 years old with numerous arthritic issues, the extra steps and strange pathways are hard on the body.

Another down is that the “roads” are cobblestones, which over the centuries have been lifting and shifting. This results in a very uneven walking surface. It is an up and down all on its own. One huge up, is our apartment. It is a lovely large space with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It overlooks Campo Santa Margherita, which has every kind of store you could need close at hand. But, it also a central meeting place for anyone looking for a “lively” night life, resulting in some very loud and sleepless nights. Our apartment is also located a 45 min walk to Warwick’s campus. The Campus sits on a smaller canal, which empties into the main, Grande Canal. The view is spectacular and breathtaking. Definitely an up!

Our classes are structured much like those in Carleton’s Humanities program with lectures and seminars. But our lectures are anywhere that you find the art. So far, it brings into focus why we are here and reinforces the desire to study the history of these works. Overall, it has been an overwhelming experience that is mostly up and has already been life changing. I can’t wait to see what will happen next!

Written by Linda Steele.