Saturday, 5 April 2014

9th March, 2014. The gondola sways on.

Three cities and a half in one day after a night out drinking in Florence, is what my legs groaned about. How long had I slept? Four hours yet I didn't seem to mind. A world of adrenaline pumped adventure soared in through the window and so I jumped out of the bunk bed, through my backpack and into the next train to Venice.

Because of some mix up I could not comprehend, the ticket checker invited me to get off at Bolognia and catch the same exact train, just one hour later. Most would think of it as an inconvenience. To me it was an opportunity. A rather short one where I only wandered down two arched streets, sat down in a park and wandered back to the station but an opportunity for spontaneity nonetheless.

There is a right way and a wrong way to enter Venice. Entering by train is definitely the wrong way, my mother made sure to tell me once I recalled the day to her. "No, no, that won't do. Forget everything you remember about Venice, go back and enter the city by boat." Sadly, spending a day under the boiling sun, balancing your way through crowds of tourists while trying not to fall into canals is hard to forget.

The city felt lonely or perhaps it was because after all my previous travels socialising with strange familiar faces, in Venice I was met with no-one. I wanted a calm space to sit, sketch and get immersed in the new landscape. Or find a friend to guide me through the mass of strange faces, tell me stories and what this city meant to them.

In the four hours I spent in Venice two moments brushed against these wishes. One was an alley in Ghetto that everyone overlooked except for people seeking escape. A dim tunnel brushed the top of my head that moments later have way to a dock overlooking the canal. I sat there a while, contemplating jumping from mast to mast across the water like the seagulls. The other moment was when I sat down to rest on the mossy steps of a back square. A gondola swayed from underneath a bridge. A young man was gently pushing along an elderly couple as he narrated the buildings of Venice in a characteristic Italian accent. He looked at me. The boat glided by in its momentum. He looked back again. I thought maybe I should ask him to walk me through Venice after work... The boat swayed on. I got up and caught the next train to Schio.

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