From Croissants in Asolo to Canals in Venice

Written by jayneclairevincent February 5, 2024

Ciao! The past two weeks have been a whirlwind. Thankfully, all my luggage arrived in Venice safe and sound. The hour-long ride from the airport to campus was surreal. It felt like I was back in the Texas hill country for a few minutes. Then we drove by vineyards, through some quaint villages, and the Italian countryside until we arrived at CIMBA. It is simply beautiful here! Jetlag was rough for the first two days but seemed to subside after orientation and the first day classes began.

The first week here was filled with meeting new friends, getting accustomed to the time difference, and exploring Paderno, including the local patisseries (think coffee shop and bakery combined)! I have had my fair share of ciocolata and fritella over the past two weeks. The ciocolata is the hot chocolate of your dreams – what I imagine Willy Wonka serves at his chocolate factory AND since Carnevale is on February 13, patisseries serve frittelle, which are Venetian doughnuts filled with either chocolate, vanilla, or rum-flavored cream.

On Sunday, January 28, everyone had the option to visit Asolo, Italy, a medieval village that dates to pre-Roman times! We all loaded up in a bus and spent the afternoon exploring “The City of a Hundred Horizons.”

Overall, it was a fun-filled day! When we all arrived, Emily and I explored the village but quickly realized that we needed some coffee, so we sat outside of Café Centrale. We both ordered cappuccinos, but I asked the barista to surprise me with a croissant. The one he brought did not disappoint! It was filled with lemon cream goodness; thankfully, the gluten didn’t bother my tummy! After our cappuccinos, Emily and I attended mass at the local cathedral and then decided to hike up Rocca di Asolo.

At Rocca di Asolo, the fortress that sits overlooking the village, you can see the Veneto and, in the distance, the Dolomitic mountains. All I could think about when looking at the view of the mountains was just how they declared the greatness of our Creator.

After we walked down from the fortress, we continued to walk around Asolo, stopping into whichever stores our hearts desired. Needless to say, I was in the bookstore for a little while. One of the shops we stopped by had homemade biscotti and vin brulé. Both were oh-so good. The vin brulé reminded me of my mom’s wassail recipe; it tasted like home.

The beginning of the week following our Asolo trip consisted of class, but in the later part of the week, all of us students went through leadership training called LIFE and Genesis. I won’t dive too deep into what LIFE entails. The training was strenuous, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Ultimately, we all had to “trust the process”, and I can confidently say that I am better off because of the leadership training and encourage any potential student reading this to participate in LIFE. I learned more about my fears as a leader, and how to work through them than in any other leadership training I have been a part of.

After we celebrated graduating from the leadership training on Friday with a gourmet dinner, most of us spent the weekend in Venice. On Saturday, some friends and I spent the morning and early part of the afternoon in Bassano del Grappa. There I visited Ponte Vecchio, a famous bridge used in World War I and II! After taking pictures at the bridge, my friends and I had brunch in Bassano where I ordered a delicious pistachio croissant.

In the afternoon, we caught a train to Venice, dropped our luggage off at our hostel and got lost in the maze of canals and homes while the sun set against the islands. We ended up having dinner and dessert in a quiet piazza somewhere near the middle of San Polo.

Later in the evening, we met up with fellow CIMBA students to have a glass of prosecco, the wine of the region. Sunday consisted of lunch at a caffe in a piazza on the way to St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Bell Tower, the Dodge’s Palace, Harry’s Bar, and many other stops. On the way back to Paderno, I sat on the train feeling as though the day was a fever dream. Thankfully, the pictures prove it was real.



Ciao for now!
Vincent in Venice