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Venezia Travelog – Entry 3

Life here in Venezia has taken an interesting turn. In a place where the pace of life is a lot slower than in the States (a welcome change), I’ve found myself busier and with more challenges as each day goes by.

Among them, my classes are picking up, projects are due, I’m going gluten- and dairy-free, and I’ve started traveling more regularly. So it’s been busy, but in the most amazing ways. I’m growing artistically, taking better care of my health and seeing some of the true wonders of the world here in Europe.

Venezia, Italia – Walking around the Academmia, Santa Maria della Salute, the grand canal.
Venezia, Il Canale Grande.

One of the coolest experiences here is my glassblowing class on Murano island. We’re learning with a glass master as we experiment with new techniques and learn the history of the craft. We’re currently designing our first project: a jewelry collection made of glass pearls.

Venezia, Italia – Exploring Torcello and Burano.
Malik creating glass pearls.
Venezia, Italia – First glasblowing class on Murano island.
Murano lighthouse.

Amid the bustle of my classes (design, typography and art history have been equally inspiring and exciting), I’ve also been taking the time to wander the city, absorb the culture and sharpen my Italian speaking skills.

Venezia, Italia – Walking around the Academmia, Santa Maria della Salute, the grand canal.
Venezia, view of San Salute.
Venezia, Italia – Exploring Torcello and Burano.
Burano island, known for its colorful houses.

One of my favorite aspects of life here is how authentic it feels. Living in our Venetian neighborhood, buying veggies at the local market and prosciutto at the deli next door, making Italian friends, taking classes at the local art academy – it’s all so different than the sterile, planned-out life on an American college campus. And that’s what I absolutely love about it.

But as much as I love Venezia, I’ve also taken the opportunity to travel cheaply around Europe. Our first stop was Paris.

Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.
Paris, View of the River Seine.
Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.
Paris, Notre Dame.
Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.
Paris, interior of Notre Dame.

Paris exceeded all of my expectations. The architecture (as you can see above) was incredible, and the food was delicious. We made it a priority to try the full range of French cuisine – escargot, duck pate, and plenty of crepes included.

Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.
Paris, the River Seine at night.
Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.
Paris, the Arc De Triomphe.

At the end of a busy day touring on Saturday, we made our way to the top of Paris’ highest hill, called Montmartre, to watch night fall over the city.

Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.
Paris, view from Monmartre.
Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.
Paris, Basilica of the Sacre Coeur at Montmartre.

And of course, no trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Louvre. We spent most of our day Sunday in the galleries there. We checked out the Mona Lisa among many other famous works in the massive museum. It was hard to comprehend the scale of the collection and the palace itself, and it’s a place I surely could have spent days in.

Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.
Paris, the Louvre.
Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.

Paris, France – Feb. 19-21 with Ivanna, Namhee and Naomi.

 

It goes without saying that I’m so grateful for the experiences I’m having here. I feel extremely lucky to be living the country where my heritage thrives, while being able to travel with great friends and classmates. If only it never had to end.

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