The novelty of Italy had worn off. ( SIN, I know) and I was having troubles related to living situation, laws I didn't agree with, exams and (of course) the exam system. I was missing Vancouver and Victoria and Bangkok all at the same time. My mind would flash me to Siam Paragon, one of my favorite malls in Bangkok and I would hunger for a Starbucks from the UBC SUB basement, or imagine eating Cupcakes down Robson street in Vancouver.
Then I told myself that next year I will inevitably back in Canada and will be missing, regretting and wanting Italy. I decided a day trip to Venice would be the best way to get rid of the blues.
Who needs a man when you have a country?
However when I informed my friend about my blues, they immediately said we should go together. For weeks we've had the plan to go to Venice together. Finding that Padua ( the illustrious setting for Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew) was only an hour and a half away, I packed my bags, settled into bed at 1am and wondered how I would be able to sleep, let alone get up for 7 with all this excitement surging through me. I had decided a mere 20 minutes before.
I contemplated riding the train the whole way. An extra half hour and I could just get off at Venice. Since the conductor had already seen my ticket ( and tickets are rarely checked at that) and it would only be 3E extra. However, I opted to go to Padua, as I had planned, as I had purchased. Since I'm going to go to Venice in two weeks for CARNEVALE.
Padua is picturesque and idyllic. It's the epitome of an Italian city. It feels vibrant, with history and modern lifestyle surging through the winding streets. Tall buildings soar overheard, a young architects dream as street musicians play an accordion and clarinet of music that reminds one of the Romance of Italy ( as seen in old films).
Padua seems to capture the old, new, enchanted and romantic in a single way. A tiny city that still has the main shopping centers, miniscule streets that have been there for ages, marked with time and modernly artistic graffiti.
Fountain in the middle of a circular park, lined with a moat like river and statues.
Church of San Antonio
Graffiti man spotted all over the city.
Market stall of cheese.
River around the city.
In less than 2 hours, It was already my favorite city. I'm not sure if there's one reason for this, or just that it was exactly what I needed. It wasn't anything I hadn't seen before. Though after a while, the cities bleed into one and you can find candles that were sold as authentic Thai souvenirs in Bangkok in the Christmas market in Bologna or a free trade shop in Vancouver.
However, Padua was blissfull. Maybe it was the way the sun shone down or the way that I was completely exploring, adult and independent and yet child like at the same time. Running free in a place I had never seen before, a new culture, a new experience all for me.
The city is full of contrasts, with rich stores and giant markets with dozens of stalls selling clothes or fresh fruits. Perhaps it was the fact that Padua was so small it wasn't even mentioned in my guide book and I was completely on my own.
No prior knowledge of the place at all.
Just walking the endless streets, snapping photos and unable to rip the smile off my face.
Some people get a high from...well getting high. Others from shopping or playing sports.
Mine is definitely from traveling. I'm obsessed and addicted. It's costly but makes up for some great stories.
As long as you've got batteries in your camera, money in your wallet and a smile on your face.
You'll have a great time.
Sure you might be an annoying tourist and drive the natives insane. Worry about what they think, these people you'll never meet again, or you can always just enjoy.
Enjoy life and cherish these moments. Soon they'll just be memories.
Make them great ones.