The other day I wrote about my holiday scrapbooks, and how I'd recently enjoyed reading back through them. To be honest they are mostly not that interesting. They are just a factual record of the places that we visited and what we did there, and although they are fun for me to read back through they wouldn't mean much to anyone else.
One of the places that we visited was Venice, for a few days back in February 2005.
I have some very vivid memories of Venice, and it was no surprise to me to find that the only time I ventured away from my usual fact based style was when I wrote a couple of pages about walking through the narrow streets.
So I thought I'd reproduce it here!
The streets of Venice are laid out like a labyrinth, or a drawing by Escher. The streets run in random directions. You are always seeing out of the corner of your eye - a crooked bridge or a tempting alleyway or passage. When faced with a choice of directions, you want to go both ways. When you pass something interesting - like a shop selling writing boxes and stationary all covered with the same beautiful matching paper, or a set of masks labelled with the names of their characters, or a tiny glass Christmas tree, complete with miniature, removable ornaments - you want to make sure that you stop and drink it all in, because you might never be able to find it again. And although in places deserted, it never feels threatening, even with all the dark alleyways.
At night it becomes even more mysterious. It is illuminated, but faintly. Half glimpsed passages, fading away into the darkness. Silence, apart from the lapping of the water. Footsteps in the distance, a few notes of music, laughter, a dog barking - signs of life when it seems deserted. Lanterns on the bridges. Gondolas tied up and covered with tarpaulins.
Finally, below you can see me on our Venice holiday. It was obviously cold, because I am very rarely seen wearing any kind of hat!
I'd love to go back to Venice one day, although maybe when the children are a little older. I'm not sure I could handle the stress of there being so much water around...