Dear Frazer, love of my life fire in my eyes feeling in my heart,
I’ve missed you, I miss you. In only 8 weeks from tomorrow I’ll be back on US turf, trodding through JFK with my 6 bags, pretending to search for my family – when in reality I’ll be looking for you. It’s a weird thought that in 8 weeks I’ll be done with my time abroad. I’m still homesick, but 8 weeks is manageable. I can do it – just so much to do between now and then!
Anyway – it’s been nearly three weeks since I’ve written. Where to heck have I been?
I’ll tell you – Venice and Barcelona!
It all began on April 1st, when my friend Dan and I went to the silent disco at the top of the tallest building in Europe, The Shard at London Bridge. it was such a hit and so much fun OH MAN. Haven’t danced that hard in a long time. The next day I packed and spent the afternoon worrying about being pickpocketed/kidnapped/assaulted in Venice and Barcelona because apparently it happens a lot in those two cities. My homesickness was fueling these worries for sure.
On April 3, I headed to the airport at 4:30am and made it in time for my flight. I didn’t sleep the night before my flight which was a regret but also like oh whatever. Smoothest landing on the runway I’ve ever felt, when we landed in Venice. I was so happy. I got on the bus to Venice, which dropped us off at the edge of the lagoon and I got a water bus to my hostel. Part of this ride included the initial ride into the city: under a bridge, we pass back 500 years in time. It was incredible. My jaw dropped. I walked around all day with my jaw on the FLOOR. It’s an incredible city with lovely people and insanity food. The hostel hostess, Anna, was a woman who only came up to my sternum when she was standing up and she was missing one and a half of her front four teeth and she was from Poland and was nuts but she was great. Very kind. She had a lisp and spoke so fast I wondered if she was on speed at one point.
The coffee in Venice was the best I’ve found on my time abroad.
Also, OH HECK – I have summer plans! I was offered a position as intern at a prominent off-Broadway presenting theatre in Brooklyn, called The Bushwick Starr! I’m so pumped to have this crazy opportunity. #blessed. I found out while I was in Venice!
Also – Venice is impossible to navigate but that’s also the best way to see the city – to allow yourself to get lost. It’s like a really compact city, but you can walk for miles and still never find your destination. It’s RUFF. Took me a day or two to find my feet.
This post is kind of a ramble, but it’s okay because even if I don’t always make sense, at least our love makes sense, right, Fraz? Sometimes the only thing that makes sense … :-/
Anyway, I saw an American musical based off a German play performed in Italian and sung in English, Spring Awakening while in Venice. It was a bizarre production with some moments of soaring theatricality. Ultimately it didn’t feel like it had the gravity it needed.
Also – the weather is finally warm enough for shorts, and though shorts are never really in vogue in Europe, people still wear them and I am one of those people. Amen Fashion. I love shorts. I love warm weather.
My real question is who thought it would be a good idea to build a city in a lagoon spread over 100 tiny islands. It’s a terrible idea. But it works I guess. I’m hungry.
On April 7th I went shopping.
On April 8th, I went to the remote islands of Venice, Murano and Burano, via a ferry from Piazza San Marco. The glassworks studios on Murano were pretty interesting and the city was nice – bought a few postcards here. After, I headed over to Burano for a few hours. My fave stop on the Venice leg of the tour. These little pastel houses all in a row, row after row of them. They’re so cute and the village was just fabulous. Seemed like time left it behind. All the people there were old though :-/ I wrote in my notebook that day how appreciative I am of the opportunity to study abroad – and I really am. I’ve been walking around this entire trip, despite being homesick, thinking about how lucky I am to be here – wandering around Europe for a while and calling it studying. It’s amazing. Opportunity of a lifetime, and taking advantage of it the way I am – having every experience I can – is the right way to do it. #blessed
April 9th, I went to St. Mark’s Basilica, which was fine, except it felt less like a museum and more like a church, and was also much smaller than I expected it to be. (Everything will seem small after my experience in Spain, but we’ll get to that.) After the church, I saw the Doge’s Palace, which really really really freaked me out for some reason. I don’t know why, but it made me really upset. But it was still gorgeous to look at. And then, the Campanile – the bell tower – I took the elevator up for the best views of the trip!
On my way to Barcelona, on my way out of Venice, there was this profound moment I had. The canals and alleyways of the city, limit the sky to a small strip above your head, and you never really get to see it. Even on the waterbuses, you never see the expanse of the sky. On the way out of the city, I was in an uncovered ferry, and when we pulled out of the city proper, the sky opened up and I could see the Italian Alps in the distance and I started to cry a little. I don’t know call me a romantic I guess but yeah I cried.
My flight from Barcelona to Venice was empty. It was WEIRD. Like maybe 30 people on a full sized plane.
My first full day in Barcelona was April 11th, when I explored and saw La Catedral de Barcelona, an amazing Gothic cathedral with a lovely cloisters with GEESE. I got a kilogram of pomegranate seeds at La Boqueria, the Spanish version of Borough Market. Deelish. Had tapas for dinner! YUM. Yum. I sat on the beach for a bit, which was COOL! Beach!
The next day I had a Skype meeting with my #InternshipBossSummer2014 which went well. After that, I headed in to town for more exploration. I had Mexican for lunch. I saw the first Gaudi building that day, Palau Guell. Gaudi is an important architect in Barcelona, and he designed and built a lot of famous buildings in the city, most prominently La Sagrada Familia. I went to this very nice nightclub on the beach called Opium which was lit with intensely purple lights – I was wearing dark shorts and the light was so intense they seemed Royal Purple. Everything did. It was awesome. Felt like Barney the Dinosaur.
The next day began the itchiest week of my life. I went to the beach and got so badly sunburnt that over the course of this week I have been peeling like a rotten clementine. So bad. So itchy. But the Med Sea is so great and the salt water was refreshing and it’s good to have a base tan now.
The 14th, I went to Park Guell in northeast Barcelona. It was nice. Whimsical. The back of both of my legs are BRIGHT RED. Shine bright like a diamond. While I was sitting on a bench in the Park, I finished The Goldfinch, which I later found out won the Pulitzer that day! I finished it and cried in public. One of the best books I’ve ever read. I cried. I also bought a new pair of shoezies today, boat shoezies. Fashion! Ate dinner on the beach – got a deelish sandwich from this famous sandwich place here.
Then I went home and wrote the first 20 pages of my new play in 40 minutes. WHO AM I it’s great to be inspired, which I continue to be, but WHO AM I – so much writing. <3 The next day I wrote 40 more pages at a coffee shop!
On the 16th, my sister turned 19 and I went to the beach. That’s all that matters.
17th – I had a plan to see La Sagrada Familia and get a bagel – but both were sold out. HOW DO YOU SELL OUT OF BAGELS – and tickets to a church!? Anyway then I walked into town and saw the third Gaudi – La Pedrera, which was pretty darn cool. Pretty inspiring. I had incredible tapas for dinner and ALERT ALERT I ate raw seafood ALERT. And dinner was CHEAP. 5 tapas and a beer – 16 Euro.
On the 19th, I finally saw La Sagrada Familia. It was the most moving place I’ve ever been. Ever. Seriously. It’s going to stay with me forever. I walked around, jaw dropped, tears streaming down my face freely (and I wasn’t the only one crying) from the beauty. Just incredible. I’m not religious, but I felt like the church was the closest thing we’ll ever have to God’s purest work on Earth – an artist so devoted to his god that he puts his entire last years of his life in to the project. Even living in the basement for a few years. Wonderful place. The most. Just the most.
Yesterday was just a simple day: walked around town, got coffee, headed to the top of the W hotel for a drink at sunset and great paella for dinner below on the beach. Got a lot of reading done.
Today, writing in a coffeeshop near the apartment I’m staying in.
This wasn’t really a funny post but sometimes ya gotta be serious when doing that self-reflection, ya feel?
Alright – tomorrow and Tuesday – beach.
Wednesday – home to London. This trip has been great and filled with self-reflection, but three weeks solo is a LONG time. I’m excited to see my friends again. And yes, to sleep in my terrible London bed again. And to see good theatre again – seeing The Drowned Man for the 9th time on Friday night.
Talk soon love of my life.