You may have the universe if I may have Italy.
As I trudge down the freezing cold winter road to the station headed for work, waiting for my brain to catch up with my body, with the air freezing around me and the ache in my chest that only this coldness brings, I suddenly think of Venice and my mind takes me to a time and place of sheer beauty and happiness….eight months ago.
The city of love.
I first saw Venice on a Friday evening in October, when I emerged from the Stazione di Santa Lucia and onto the Fondementa.
At about that point while being completely enraptured by the beauty of where I was, I dropped my 40kg suitcase on my foot (breaking it) and promptly sat down and cried.
The green water of the Grand Canal swirling at my feet, the baroque Carmelite Church of Santa Maria go one side and the spires rising from across the city finally beat the pain in my foot and I proceeded to limp along taking photos of every single thing I saw.
Without a doubt this is in the top three most beautiful cities in the world I have visited and I could honestly live there without a second thought, however my first thought is I can only count to ten in Italian so I’ll live in London instead.
Moving on, the absolutely best way to explore this wonderful city is by getting lost. Every review I read about Venice said to do it. So, with courage, wonder, broken foot and my camera in hand, the man with the amazing eyes and I got lost.
Words cannot describe the sheer beauty, the architecture of every building, half submerged in the water and the smell of fresh pastries and coffee.
I have truly never seen such an incredible sight of the kind and beautiful locals going about their day, tiny alleyways inviting you to see what is around the corner, streets made of water and architecture that leaves you in awe.
I could wander the streets of this city listening to the gondoliers calling to each other across the water, the people dancing in tiny squares because they can and the music of people playing as they row up and down the streets. Everyone is romantic, everyone is happy and the whole city presents itself like a medieval style forgotten city.
The food is divine, the bottles of vino and fresh crusty bread for lunch with seafood drowned in garlic butter and then more vino for dinner. We stop occasionally at little cafes as the waiter calls to us, enticing us to try the food and soak up the atmosphere.
What a city….I feel this is what heaven will be like. (As Marlena Di Blasi wrote, ‘Ask St Peter for the kitchen, for the wood-burning oven to be exact. I will be there baking bread and scented of Rosemary’).
Ps- don’t forget to follow me on Instagram! @thewanderinggastronomist