Travel

// I lost my soul (and passport) on the streets of Venice – Part 1

This story has a happy ending. But before I get to that, first let me tell about you about my wistful, unfiltered and lustful love for this floating city.

For me, the enchanting city of Venice is a place of magic. It quite literally took my breath away when I saw it for the first time, for you see, there really is no other place quite like it. Its unmistakeable unique charm, fairytale wonder and beautiful water reflections are something that never bores me. The first time I visited this city, dare I say it, was with a cruise liner, although in my defence I worked onboard as a Stewardess, and I count my lucky stars for it brought me here. It seems local Venetians cringe at the mere sight of any incoming ships. I have returned several times since and each time my love and appreciation deepens further. One of my favourite memories was when I got caught in the rain, one afternoon whilst wandering aimlessly through the labyrinth of narrow alleys and hidden courtyards. What struck me the most was the beautifully distorted reflections in the small puddles on the wet cobbled streets caused by the rain. I remember standing there thinking that, this was one of those moments where you wish you could slow down time so you could take in all the details. Evenings in Venice are really special, there is a hypnotic allure about the city at night – Its peaceful quietness, where the only sounds heard are the heeled footsteps on the cobbled street, and the sound of the water splashing against the canal walls. The glow from the street lights also adds an eerily dreaminess and serves as the perfect backdrop for an evening stroll.  I have spent many nights sitting on the edge of the canal listening to all the sounds; The echoing footsteps, couples sharing a private joke, someone softly humming to themselves as they pass by, the stir of the water as the water taxis glide by. It’s a captivating scene, one which I hope everyone can experience.

There are certain areas I avoid; San Marco Square being my least favourite. During any given Summer’s day it’s noisy, messy and overly crowded with too many people trying to capture their latest Instagram. I have been there once and once was more than enough to snap me out of my reverie, like a slap in the face with a selfie stick. There are much more interesting streets and cafés on the other side of this little island. The best way to experience Venice cheaply, and in my opinion more authentically, is to grab your most trusty comfortable sneakers and spent the day strolling through the streets and taking turns on complete whims. Trust me, nothing is more satisfying than stumbling on a hidden café in a back alley. To truly appreciate the grace of this City, I recommend going after the crazy peak of Summer and instead visit anytime during October to December, where the sun or rain comes as both a welcoming pleasant surprise. There’s beauty in the calmness of this time.

Returning to those canals and picturesque small bridges, it always feels like coming home. It really has become the only place I find myself constantly daydreaming about. I have tried many times to describe Venice to family and friends who have never been, and I found myself saying too little and instead silently staring at them with glazed over eyes – which when you really think of it, is not really surprising at all. Venice is a place better felt than summed up with the use of pretty words. Which is why I urge anyone reading this to go and feeeel it for yourself. When you feel as passionately as I do about this place, then I should not have been surprised when I lost my passport on its streets. Oh, the sweet irony of it all. I like to remind myself of this story every time I need to haul my head out of the clouds when trying to regain my focus. Also, and I hate to admit this, but I did not only lose my passport, but it was done whilst running for my life after my night bus to Prague. A bus, which contained my checked in luggage sans me. Worst yet, I am embarrassed to admit it, but it all happened because I was trying to muster up the strength to bid farewell. Venice, the Goddess that she is, was distracting me with a colourful sunset and I, dazed and delusional I, was taking photos of my feet against said miracle-like sunset.

Oh, the shame.

Read on.. Part 2 breaks down my cool as a cucumber demeanour of a damsel in distress…

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