This post is about… two weeks late, I think, but it’s been hella busy these past two weeks to be fair. I’ve had two university friends visit in those two weeks, and playing tourist is quite possibly one of the most exhausting things ever. Not to say that it wasn’t fun, of course, but I think it can be difficult sometimes, exposing a city (your city) to someone who has never been here before. The architecture, museums, etc. just aren’t exciting after living somewhere for an extended period of time, and sometimes I find it hard to react in a similarly excited fashion. “Yes, I know that’s David. I see him all the time. Sorry I can’t dredge myself from my desensitized state to get as bouncy as you are.” Might seem dismissive, but that’s the truth. Maybe I’m not a very good tourist?
Anyway, my friend Kat and I eschewed the usual tourist romping to instead go to one of Tuscany’s biggest parties: Viareggio Carnevale. I’ve been to the carnival festivities up in Venice, and while it’s nice to see everyone in costume, that’s essentially all you get to do. Venice Carnival costs a lot of money to do anything vaguely resembling carnival. Dressing up, attending balls, even the costume contests in the center of St. Mark’s Square cost cash to attend, and those crowd barriers are strictly enforced. Viareggio had a much more laid-back approach to the concept. For €15, we got essentially front-row seats to one of the biggest (and most dangerous, let’s be frank) parades I’ve ever seen. For example:
That’s a float. One of the smaller ones, in fact. One person is about half the size of John Lennon’s face, and there were no crowd barriers. Absolutely nothing preventing anyone to run in front of these things and, by consequence, being run over. Sure there were people telling us to get back and the like, but ultimately we were responsible for our own safety. Floats came close to smacking me in the head because low-lying parts and people who simply refused to get back to adequate safety distances just decided to be in the way. That being said, the music, colors, and confetti (SO MUCH CONFETTI; I got confettied directly in the face and I’m still finding it in my purse and coat pocket) made the whole experience miles ahead of what I saw in Venice. I’ve included a gallery down below for you to have a look at what else was on show that day, but I have to say that this is definitely one of the highlights of my spring semester here.