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Sunday, Day of Rest

Amanda Duba - Venice, Italy

So far, my new friend, the FitBit ChargeHR, has tracked 104 flights of stairs, 23.6 miles, and 52,699 steps. For roughly 48 hours, I’d say we have made a dent in the calles of Venice. It’s hard to describe the feeling I’ve gotten from walking around Venice.

Animated. Dreamy. Imaginary.

I feel as though the only way to describe the area is like a Disney feature; like everything was made to look authentic. There is no way that the buildings look like this naturally, right? But they do. They haven’t been rebuilt, or repainted. They don’t tear down out-dated buildings and put in new ones. The grime that collects beneath the windows reveals the character and the age of the buildings so it is left as is. Each square has a church that the square is then named after and they are in no way similar to the churches from home. Each one is breathtaking in its own way and overpowering by its height and detail. Trying to imagine the mind behind designing these building inside and out is overwhelming.

There is a sense of trust that comes with the city. The calles can be small and not suggested for claustrophobics, but you trust that you’re safe in the 3′-wide walk way. On my first day I found that — unlike in the US — dead-end streets are not marked. So locals would watch as I turned down a street and would then wait expectantly as I return from the calle reaching for my map. You learn quickly to follow people because they most often know where they’re going. An unspoken navigation is found in the footsteps of others.

The food, my God, the food. Croissants, lasagna, olive oil, wine, cheese, pizza. Everything. All made within the morning you buy it. The first thing I bought was a chocolate croissant which I was pleasantly surprised when it was filled with Nutella. Then Lasagna. Taylor (my new roommate and adventure buddy) both ordered a 5″x5″ serving and a liter of wine to share. The small restaurant was very pleased when we accidentally tipped WAY too much and then later realized that they include the tip in Venice. Our waiter kissed our cheeks and shook our hands as he walked us out of the restaurant. Oops.

Slowly learning how this place works.

Sadly, the gondolas are a rip off. They put the most handsome men on the shiniest, smallest, slowest boats and row people around the city. Of course I want to sit on your upholstered sofa boat while you wear that tight striped shirt and sun hat but, Sir, I am not giving you €100 to do so. But a girl can dream.

So today we woke up around 8:30 and walked to what I thought was a cathedral but it is simply a Baroque landmark that was built in thanks for the lifting of the plague in 1630. It was right on the tip of one of the venetian neighborhoods and looked out over the main canal. Then we walked to a grocery store led by Ed, our tour guide, professor, and source of comedy for the trip. He showed us some of his favorite stops in the area and then abandoned us to find our way home.

(Don’t be scared mom, walking in Venice at 11am isn’t a dangerous thing.) It is probably safer than the later hours due to the lack of pestering Bangladeshis selling selfie sticks and silly LED toys, and the flood of tourists wandering around with said selfie sticks not watching their surroundings. Good times.

PLEASE! Feel free to posts any questions or certain things you would like to know about below! I’ll get to them when I can! Caio!

Amanda Duba - creating and experiencing art in Venezia


Amanda Duba - Venice, Italy

Monday, May 16th
Pre-departure. 3:47am.
3 days until lift off.

I wonder if mom is tossing and turning as much as I am, only a few more nights to be under her roof. I do not have a feeling of regret or guilt about leaving, but there is a sadness and longing to be with my family and friends I am saying goodbye to. The last supper with dad was tough to walk away from; so long to the meals shared with a panting dog under the table. Six weeks isn’t that long of a time, but six weeks is kind of a long time.

I leave for Italy in 2 days. I will be studying printmaking and bookmaking with 15 other students in the small calles of Venice for six weeks. Upon arrival, I will receive a vaporetto pass and an apartment key to which I will be paired with a roommate. We then have until Monday to explore and “get lost in Venice”, as Ed, our professor, requested. He asked that we explore our new home and get a taste of the Venezia culture.

Calle: [kah-yeh] narrow street
Vaporetto: [Vahp-oh-ret-toh] water bus

Starting Monday we begin our immersion into the intaglio style of printing and then compiling our work into an artist book we can present upon our return. We will study 9am-3pm Monday through Thursday and travel throughout the country on Fridays. The rest is up in the air for what sorts of activities will be filling up my days.

intaglio – a printing process that uses an etched or engraved plate; the plate is smeared with ink and wiped clean, then the ink left in the recesses makes the print.

Per Ed’s request, I hope to lose myself in the best of ways. This past semester was mentally, physically, and spiritually demanding that led me to an exhaustion I like to describe as beautiful. Though I went through trials, as all college students do, I was led to this trip. I hope to lose the worry, the stress, and the wrinkles(?) this semester brought about, breathe in the Mediterranean air, and gawk at the vibrant buildings, sunsets, and personalities that I will experience over the next few weeks. I hope to hold on to each moment, though it may be fleeting, with a delicate grasp and recognize that this is a trip of a lifetime. I get the chance to study art, not only historically, but as a practice in the art capital of the world, home to some of the worlds most beautiful basilicas, palaces, and galleries.

I feel peaceful as I pack my bags, knowing that what I leave behind may or may not be different when I return, but I will for certain be different. I will be vibrant, I will be knowledgeable, and I will be found in a way that I can not yet define.

Amanda Duba - creating and experiencing art in Venezia

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