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Surely everyone dreams of seeing and savouring Venice. It has our imaginations well and truly captured long before we ever set foot on this fabled watery island.
Certainly a desire of ours was to witness this land for ourselves, so at last here we are on an overpriced touristy Gondola floating quietly through its myriad of snaking canals.
Venice pops up like an optical illusion when you exit St Lucia train Station – voila there she is, looking like someone has just torn her out of the pages of a rare old book that conjures worlds long disappeared or never even actualised.
So if you have read Philip Pullmans ‘His Dark Materials’ where the central characters pass through ‘portals’ to arrive instantly in strange new unfamiliar cities you will get a sense of what it’s like to pop up on Venice.
It’s frigin trippy, and seriously for those first few eyefulls, every time you blink you expect it to disappear!
As we crossed the first Bridge onto this fantasy isle, the sheer volume of activity on the water is astounding!
Picture delivery barges, dozens of graceful gondolas (once the reserved transport of only the noble classes) polished timber water taxis, grotty passenger ferries, the local water ambulance and the water cops all competing for a bit of watery space.
It flows of course, yet it is a sight to behold. Onward to and through the canals, the narrow streets, the narrower passages past homes, cafes, hotels and bridges, bridges more bridges all potentially colliding in dilapidated splendour.
Truly it’s magnificent.
If you like your old cities with the paint peeling in poetic arty styling you will love Venice. Bleached, torn and crumbling visual treats abound.
At one moment you are lost in The hustle of tourist and trader, a moment later you are ‘lost’ down some quiet nowhere alley and its then you realise the splendid void in which you find yourself… There are no cars, no flipping mopeds and no flaming jet skis. Just one alley away from the ‘high streets’ it’s picture perfect peace and quiet. One could meditate!
If I have one regret for our travels it would be that I would love to have spent at least 2 weeks ‘living’ in Venice just to witness and feel her daily life… you know, see how someone gets a new bed or fridge delivered, discover how the garbage gets removed or just to crash a Venetian wedding.
…Dara makes me wear high-viz t-shirts when going into crowded places…