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Marion talks about her time in Venice.
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When I was living in Pisa, a few friends and I decided to go to Venice for the carnival, so the carnival in Venice, it's usually, usually about February or March, depending on when Easter is that year cause Easter can change every year, it's a different day, so this time it was, I think about, it was about the middle of February, that's right, so we went there about the 11th or 12th of February, and it was so cold. I remember just being bitterly, bitterly cold. I remember a few of us had to buy extra scarves and gloves and jumpers cause it was just so, so cold, especially at night. During the day wasn't so bad, it was still cold but it was really awful at night if you were walking around, but it was an awful lot of fun to be in Venice for carnival because, em, lots of people dress up in really, really elaborate costumes and masks. One of my friends there, she goes almost every year to the carnival and she does face-painting on the streets so I met up with her, kind of by chance. We knew that we were both going to be there but it's such a busy time we weren't sure if we were going to meet or not, so it was really good that we met up in the huge piazza, Piazza San Marco. She told me roughly which side of the piazza she would be and I found her, so that was really great to see her after such a long time and then the other amazing thing we did that weekend or that few days was that my friends and I went on a gondola. So, a gondola, you've probably seen on television or in a book or something, a gondola is the long, kind of, boat that they have in Venice and there's a man who stands at the back with a big, long pole that he steers the boat with so he drives the boat along by pushing this long stick into the mud on the bottom of the canal, I suppose. It was really amazing because that's one of the, I suppose, the most stereotypical things when you think of Venice and when I'd been there the first time I hadn't gone on a gondola because I thought aw, it's too touristy, I'm not going to do that, but my friends this time, they really wanted to go on one, so we went and we asked some of the guys, the gondoliere as they're called, by piazza san Marco and asked them how much it would cost but we'd forgotten that that day it was the 14th of February so it was Valentine's Day and, as you can imagine, going out in a gondola is, is usually a very romantic occasion for a couple and whatever, to go off and be maybe serenaded by, by another gondoliere, so they sing all sorts of, of songs like you've probably seen on TV or heard in television adverts so they wanted an awful lot of money, I remember, just because it was Valentine's Day, so there were a few of us trying to argue with them in Italian and you know, we were saying that it wasn't fair because it was just a group of us and we just wanted the experience so I think eventually they kind of gave us a more reasonable price so we set off in the gondola and went along the canals, the little canals around Piazza San Marco so it was really, really, really nice. We got to see a lot of the, the backstreets, like I say, and lovely old bridges crossing, crossing the canals. It's a really unique experience as Venice is a pretty unique city really. There was, em, our gondoliere was pretty funny in the end as it turned out. He was very nice, and so there was a few of us from Ireland in the gondola he was asking us all where we were from and so as soon as we told him Ireland he started singing us a song by U2 which is a bit strange, not the usual song that you expect from a gondoliere but, em, it was quite funny, anyway. So, like I say, a really unique experience.
Learn vocabulary from the lesson!


When I was living in Pisa, a few friends and I decided to go to Venice for the carnival.

'Carnival' is the time of festivals in many Roman Catholic countries that happens before lent. It is a time when there is a lot of traditional dancing, food and drink. Notice the following:

  1. Are you going to be in the parade for carnival this year?
  2. People travel from all over the world to celebrate carnival here.

bitterly cold

We went there about the middle of February, and it was bitterly cold.

When it is 'bitterly cold' outside it is very, very cold. It is so cold that it makes your eyes make tears and hurts your nose when you breathe. Notice the following:

  1. It's too bitterly cold outside today to go for a walk.
  2. Why aren't you wearing a jacket. It's bitterly cold.


It's fun because lots of people dress up in really elaborate costumes and masks.

If something is 'elaborate' it has a very detailed design. Notice the following:

  1. Wow. I can't believe you made this desk. It's so elaborate.
  2. She like plain clothes and elaborate jewelry.


One of my friends there goes almost every year to the carnival and she does face-painting.

'Face-painting' is when you draw on your face to make with a special type of paint. You can use face-painting to make a mask on your whole face or just a small design in just one part. Notice the following:

  1. Many people were doing festive face-painting in the piazza.
  2. They had face-painting and clowns at her birthday party.


We weren't sure if we were going to meet or not, so it was good that we met up in the huge piazza.

A 'piazza' is a plaza in Italy. It is a central area of the city where there are restaurants and presentations. Notice the following:

  1. He owns a beautiful hotel right off the piazza.
  2. We are all going down to the piazza later to watch the dancing.


When I'd been there the first time, I hadn't gone on a gondola because I thought it was too touristy.

Something that is 'touristy' is an activity that only tourists would be interested in doing. These are usually activities that are stereotypical of a place. Notice the following:

  1. Riding a horse on the beach is definitely touristy.
  2. I hate to go to touristy areas on vacation.
Vocabulary Quiz
carnival • bitterly • elaborate
face-painting • piazza • touristy
  1. You need something to cover your face because it's cold outside today.
  2. Here are some pictures of I have done in the past. My best design is this bird.
  3. Riding a camel in the desert is a little too for me.
  4. The stores are already selling masks and costumes for .
  5. All of the furniture in her house is so that it's hard to imagine anyone living there.
  6. There is a big art exhibit in the today. Do you want to go?
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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