After 12 weeks and 16 hours of travel, it is good to be back on Canadian soil. I would not have traded this incredible experience for anything and it is also great to be back in Canada. One thing that Venice lacks is open space and Canada has it in abundance. It was that space and the freedom that it delivers that I missed the most about my “home and native land.” One of the British students asked me “what is Canada like?” My short answer was “massive compared to Europe!” But then, when people ask me “what was Venice like?|”, my short answer is “unlike anything else on earth!” Really, there is no other description. Venice is as old and traditional as Canada is new and evolving. Its beauty is grandiose. There are no buildings that do not engage and delight, inside and out. The artistic names and creations float throughout the city, like snowflakes in a storm, each one unique in its own way. The artists we were graced to study were so profound and prolific that we started to become immune to great names such as Bellini, Giotto, Titian and Tintoretto—and that is something that you should never be immune to. The gargantuan size of the canvases, the vibrancy of the oil paints on the canvases and the precision of the sculptures were beyond comprehension.
Having lived in Canada my entire life and never travelled anywhere else, Venice was probably not the smartest choice to branch out and test the travel waters (as they were)! Venice is an amazing place to visit and a challenging place to live in. Accessibility is no Venetian concern, but as a result, I got into great shape and was routinely walking 10km per day and climbing stairs with ease. I am well past the party days of my life, but my colleagues loved the energetic night life of Venice. Venice’s safe streets made going out easy for all. The entire time I was there, I never heard of a single violent crime. The lack of motor vehicles results in safer and slower movements throughout the city. Considering the number of times that I was lost, fell off steps or walked in circles, this was a welcome bonus.
Venice was delicious. I joked that there were more ristorante and cafes per capital than any other place in the world and the food was exceptional. Breakfast was simple but the rest of the day, pasta, seafood, and endless choices were on the menu. Wine, beer, and a strange drink called a “spritz” flowed freely all hours of the day, as soon as the doors opened, usually around 8 am. I literally saw a woman sipping red wine as she dined on her croissant. Seating was not confined to the indoors of the small buildings; it flowed out into the campi and palazzi with patrons joking, laughing and visiting together in groups at outdoor tables.
I am very happy to be home, but I will miss my roomies, my professors, my classmates and most of all Lady Venice that I was fortunate to get to know and live with for a time.
Giulana, Miffy, and the author herself Linda enjoying a night on the town!