Sunset seen from Lido
Simply put, today was amazing. Things got off to a wonderful start when I slept through class (no, I'm not being sarcastic...it was well needed rest). I woke up at 8:00 and successfully convinced myself that 2 more hours of sleep would be worth the one free absence we are allowed, so I dozed until 10. I woke up and showered so I could make it to the 11:00 appointment at the Guggenheim. I knew that there were several paintings that I really liked in that collection, but I had no idea that there were so many other well-known artists represented in the gallery...Jackson Pollack, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, the list goes on. I was very pleasantly surprised by the body of work held there, enough to say that it has been the best museum I've seen so far (the Prado is a close second, due to the fact that I find modern art to be slightly more captivating and creative than earlier periods).
Gondolier by a canal
I bought an Alvar Aalto coin dish from the gift shop styled after his famous Savoy vase...it's not as big of a deal as I make it out to be, but when you learn about these industrial designers for 2 to 3 years, it becomes much more than a glass dish. After we left the museum, a group of us stopped by at a kebab stand for lunch. It was my first kebab of the trip, and it was so good that I convinced myself to get another for dinner tonight (I think a couple of guys and I are going to head back there at around midnight to get another before finishing packing). They are that good. After a short stop at the hotel, we reconvened to journey to Murano
, an island not far from Venice
known for their blown glass sculptures.
Chris and I on the vaporetto
I was told that you can get Venitian glass for much cheaper there, but most everything I liked or thought would be a nice gift for someone was way beyond expensive. It was still awesome to see the amazing things they could achieve with such a simple technique. A few of the shops had demonstrations, so we walked around for about an hour, perusing the boutiques and watching the blowers work their magic. From Murano, we took the vaporetto (water taxi) to Lido
, where we found a nice public beach. It turns out that a majority of our group was already out there, so we joined up with them and spent the afternoon there. One of the guys went and bought a volleyball for about €10, so about 7 or 8 of us found a beach volleyball court nearby and started playing.
Spire at the beach
It was the first time that I had played in a while, but I picked back up pretty quickly. Next thing we knew, there were all kinds of locals and other travelers coming up and asking if they could join in, so what was a small group hitting around turned into quite an attraction. I don't know exactly how long we played, but I would not be surprised if it was 2 hours. From there, everyone headed to the water to swim for a while. We saw a couple of guys from our group a good 100 meters from shore making a racket, only later to find out that they were skinny dipping. Had you asked me this morning whether or not I would go swimming in the buff in the Aegean Sea, I would have most definitely said no. Needless to say, I did, and it was quite a liberating experience...took me back to when I was a kid swimming at my grandparents' summer camp in New York.
Me, Orion, and Dan at a pub
We didn't leave the beach until around 7:30, perfect timing to watch the sunset over our kebabs and Coke. I am really glad that I decided to go with the group to Murano and the beach today. I was close to just staying around the hotel to pack and work on some assignments for class (I'm pretty behind at this point). But as I sat in my room after we got back from the Guggenheim, I started telling myself that I could always do my class assignments in Switzerland or in France (it's pretty hard to go to Murano in Paris). I have really aimed to have that mentality for this whole trip, and I know that I will look back and be glad that I did.
Tomorrow, we have to be up and at the train station at 7:45 am to catch a ride back to the mainland.
Mark and I sighing at the Bridge of Sighs
From there, we will ride in the bus for who-knows-how-long to Zurich. Hopefully, we will arrive in time to catch the US/Italy World Cup match at a sports bar or pub. After the humiliating loss to Czech, I have faith that we'll shape things up and put up a fight tomorrow. I am glad that we will be out of Italy for that game, however, seeing how the local fans reacted to Italy's win earlier in the week. I didn't personally see anything other than fans running and screaming in the streets, but others in the group reported thrown beer bottles and bar fights in downtown Rome. Good thing Switzerland is neutral. Anywho, the charges are starting to rack up, so I will cut this entry off here. Hope everyone is having a great day! Ciao!