Italy

Friday, 21 March: I arrived at my hostel in Venice in the early afternoon. For those who don’t know, the only way around Venice is either by foot or water bus; there are absolutely no place for vehicles bar the bus and car park immediately after the bridge. My hostel was on a island called Giudecca separate from the main cluster islands, so that left my options limited to the water bus. Although it’s slow and a bit pricey, riding the water bus is defiantly a neat experience. Once I got back to the main islands, I visited some main tourist locations like Piazza San Marco, bits of the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge, although it was disguised by scaffolding.

Saturday, 22 March: I took a walking tour in the morning. It was an interesting tour in that we didn’t hit the main attractions, but rather less known places with some history such as the smallest street, oldest bridge and several churches. After that, I took one final walk around the Grand Canal before heading out. That evening, I rented a car (thank goodness I know how to drive a manual transmission) and dove about forty minutes northwest to a venue in the middle of nowhere (hence the car rental) to see Enter Shikari. I saw them about a month ago in London with a crowd of about 10,000 people, but this venue had no more than 500 people. During the opening band, Modestep, the guitarist for Enter Shikari, Rory, was standing right behind me! A little later, the singer, Rou, and drummer, Rob, were hanging out at the merchandise booth. I got a few pictures and the two of them signed my ticket. Their set was amazing. Although it was the same songs they played last month, it was a totally different experience in a small venue. At one point, Rou brought an amplifier in the crowd and stood on it for a song while the crowd made a circle pit around him and during the last song, Rory came into the crowd and played and the crowd promptly lifted him up. Not to mention, they both were climbing on things throughout the set. After the set, I waited by the merchandise table, hoping to get the other two members to sign my ticket. The crowd was dying down and I assumed they went to bed, which I understand, it was a late show (it ended at about 12:30AM). On social media, Enter Shikari was running a contest: for everyday of the tour, they autographed a group photo (Polaroid) taken in front of the venue they were playing that night. Although I didn’t win, the winner didn’t show, so the merchandise manager gave me the Polaroid before I left. It was an amazing night, I’m thankful I got several signed items and got a chance to talk to Rou and Rob. After returning my car in the wee hours of the morning and waiting for the hourly night water bus, I was finally back at my hostel, at least for a few hours before I had to catch my train that morning.

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Milan, Italy

While I was talking with Pat (my friend from Philadelphia) about Rise Against’s upcoming U.S. fall tour, he mentioned a Europe tour I was previously unaware about. Although they’re not coming to the United Kingdom, I thought it would be fun to see my all-time favorite band abroad. I compared flights with my university timetable and came to the conclusion that seeing them in Milan was the most economic choice that won’t interfere with classes. I was originally going to go alone, but in a matter of a few weeks, I got my roommate, Ben,  into them and convinced him to go with me to see them!

Wednesday, September 30: I arrived just in time to grab a bite to eat before heading over to the venue. After grabbing a few drinks once we got inside the venue, we watched the opening band, Raised Fist. They were pretty different from Rise Against, but I liked them nonetheless. When Rise Against came on, the room exploded and the next hour was an awesome mess of pushing (and being pushed), crowd surfing and singing. I lost Ben for a while, but found him just in time for my favorite song of the set: “Black Masks and Gasoline.” It was a great show and I appreciate them carrying on with the tour even when their front man (Tim) broke his wrist. Afterwards, we waited outside to meet them and sure enough, they came out. First, Brandon (the drummer) appeared alone, but we didn’t get a chance to talk to him until the other three came out and he retired. I first talked to Zach (the guitarist) and once I told him I’m from Arizona, he recognized me from when I met them in April and gave them a painting. After that, I got to talk to Joe (the bassist) and Tim before we had to head back to the hostel. I’m upset I didn’t get to meet Brandon again, but meeting the three of them and getting my ticket signed was overwhelming.

Thursday, October 1: We didn’t have a lot of time before we had to head to the airport, but we got the quick tour of Milan by having quality pizza, gelato and exploring the Duomo. The view of the plaza from the terrace and the architecture of the building was especially impressive.

It was a bad stroke of luck that the concert was on a school night, further minimizing my time there, but I’m excited to explore the rest of Italy this spring.

If you would like to see pictures of my journey, check out my album on Facebook here.

My next adventure: Nice, France!