â€śAn orange gem resting on a blue glass plate: itâ€™s Venice seen from aboveâ€ť â€“ Henry James.
Venice is both a well-preserved monument and a living, breathing city, full of contemporary art, traditional crafts and high culture. Even though it was just for a day, I did get my first chance to visit this alluring city with my extremely diversified group of classmates.
Needless to mention, this was our much needed and awaited first outing together after the start of our MBA course, the Outdoor activity, organized by MIP for our group at H-farm and Venice in the first week of November.
We all left for H-farm from MIP early on the morning of 3rd November and reached the destination at around 11am.
As the name suggests, H-farm is a farm outside of Venice, but it cultivates tech talent the way other farms grow crops. We were welcomed at H-farm with some hearty breakfast which for sure was a delight for the palate. Called the H-Farm, the compound nestling in the Venetian countryside is Italyâ€™s most advanced technology education campus, with the goal of fostering the creation of digital projects that make life easier for people and companies from all over the world. We got an opportunity to meet the highly motivated coordinators of H-farm, who took us for a tour of their beautiful campus and shared their experiences and ambitions with us.
After the tour, we all headed for a scrumptious lunch which gave us an opportunity to network with the H-farm staff and various budding entrepreneurs. Post lunch, it was time for some outdoor team-building and creative activities. We were divided into three teams and had an impressive team-building session for the next four hours with the H-farm coordinators. We participated in various activities which for sure were fun, encouraged us to come out of our comfort zone and helped in developing a bond among us. To say the least, the activities really helped me to remember the names of my colleagues!
Before heading to Venice in the evening, we had an amazing Spritz Hour organized by the H-farm and I had some great discussions about different cultures, food, music, politics, experiences and of course, different countriesâ€™ national liquors. This perfect combination of food, drinks and discussions lasted till midnight at the hotel in Venice too, where we spent the night.
Next day, we were all geared up early morning to engage in the Treasure Hunt activity in Venice and left for Santa Lucia, which is the main railway station for travellers to and from Venice; this short journey of roughly 15 minutes was equally enthralling. I, for sure, loved this approach to Venice. The mucky, marshy last bits of the Italian mainland give way to the islandâ€™s umbilical causeway: train tracks and a highway. The morning sun sprinkled diamonds on the Adriatic Sea, as if to promise visitors theyâ€™re in for a rich experience. Ahead in the inconceivable distance, tilting bell towers too winked their welcome.
We all started our treasure hunt in teams organized by the H-farm in this beautiful city and this provided us with enough time to walk through and enjoy the dreamlike canal settings, peerless Gothic and Renaissance architecture and masterpieces by Titian & Tintoretto and click numerous photos as well. The treasure hunt was designed in such a way as to bring us some useful information about the history and art of this beautiful city.
The city, certainly, is one of those places that everyone has seen before they visit.
The green canals and famous bridges; the warmly-coloured palazzi (grand residences) and narrow alleyways; the breath-taking openness of Piazza San Marco, the arched prow of a gondola and the gentle wake behind a vaporetto (waterbus) â€“ all have been immortalised in mediums as mainstream as Instagram and Facebook photos.
After the treasure hunt and lunch, we left for Milan with some new learning, new friendships and wistful memories. To make the tiring return journey into a happening one, we played songs from different countries for the whole of our journey.
This outdoor activity, for someone like me who loves to travel, will certainly remain as one of the best experiences of my life and a part of me forever.