Venice wasn't beautiful. Quite the opposite, in fact. Venice was cold and slate gray, and the rain stung our faces like birdshot. The cloud-clogged skies turned the majestic palazzos into the gloomy, twisted castles of fairy-tale villains. Dark water swirled in the canals, the gondoliers' scarves snapped in the wind, and it was like the entire city had been carved from a giant block of dirty ice. My classmates and I, well, we were disappointed, to say the least.
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