My program took a school trip to Venice, Italy from January 18-20! It was my first adventure outside of Rome, so it was nice to do it with a large school group. Our train boarded at 8am on Friday, and we left around 4pm on Sunday. The time in between was spent exploring the entire island of Venice, Murano and Burano.

The best way to describe Venice in January is like a beach town in the winter. When two of my friends and I first ventured out of the hotel for food we were shocked by how deserted some of the streets were. Venice is a compilation of 118 islands connected by bridges. There are no cars and all of the streets wind in seemingly no purposeful direction. Because we were starving we stopped at the first place we saw, which, sticking to authentic Italian culture, was a pizza place.

Once we were seated and got our food, we noticed that the woman sitting next to us was alone and had her luggage with her. I asked her where she was traveling from which jump-started an amazing conversation. Her name is Chloe and she was born in Africa. She has been to 20 countries in her 27 years of life, and has lived in Paris for 10 years now. Each weekend she travels to a new country and studies art shops and local culture so she can eventually open her own shop in Paris that will be a mix of all the countries she has visited. By the end of the conversation we exchanged numbers and made a new friend.

Murano and Burano are both beautiful, incredibly small, islands that are a ferry ride away from Venice. We were able to take a glass-blowing tour and see how all of their glass sculptures are made. We also saw the gorgeous, brightly colored homes and learned that the reason why each home has a different color goes back to helping fishermen find their homes more quickly after coming back to shore from the sea late at night. Now, to keep with tradition, none of the homes colors are allowed to be changed.

We also went on a Gondola ride in Venice, and our driver had on AirPods and was talking on the phone the entire time! It was still an incredible experience and a very cool way to see the city.

On Sunday, right before we went home, we also went to the Guggenheim. Peggy Guggenheim was the daughter of a wealthy family and had inherited $450,000 when her father died. So, before World War II begun, she traveled the world and collected pieces of art from all over the place. She wanted to start a museum in France, but was unable to because she was Jewish and Nazi Germany was closing in. So, she bought a barn and hid all of her treasures there ($40,000 worth) and sought asylum in the United States until after the war was over. When she returned she opened a museum that showcased all of the art. The one in Venice was where she lived, and she had written in her will that the museum could never close and that all of the artwork was never allowed to go out on loan.