As we drove through the mid-summer heat for an entire day, stopping at multiple gas stations in order to get some water and something to eat, we already knew that Italy was about to welcome us with its pleasant smell of heat rising from black asphalt and oppressing air in the afternoon. Soon, we found ourselves on the highway leading to Venice, the first destination of our road trip through Italy and France. With the car’s windows open, for the air to play with our hair and for us to feel vivid, we arrived at the city.
Friday, August 12th
To get to our apartment we had to take a few steps up a stairway along the side of a smaller building that was located a few minutes from the city centre. Taking the bus, we could easily be in the middle of the action within a few minutes whilst capturing an impressive view of the harbour, its cranes and old ships. I remember wanting to go there in the morning, when the world was still resting and everything, except the seagulls fighting themselves, silent. Unfortunately, I never did.
Once we arrived at the city centre, the number of tourists overwhelmed me and left me with the impression, that Venice’s true beauty must be buried under all these people. I felt out of place as if I had entered a city, whose beauty would remain unseen for my eyes as long as I were to behave like all the other tourists. So instead of following the stream, I made my way through smaller alleys, discovering courtyards and beautiful terraces next to the canals thwarting the city.
Yet when we drove back to our small apartment, our ears still filled with the evening’s noises, I felt as if I had seen things just a few had seen before me. As if I was entitled to look beneath the city’s curtain and right onto its main stage, the actors – normal citizens – living their life as if their city wasn’t overcrowded by noisy tourists. Once again, I felt guilt. Guilt for entering these people’s daily life and making an attraction out of it and guilt for being part of these masses coming to Venice every summer.
Saturday, August 13th
The sun was shining through my curtains facing east and as I slowly began to wake up it occurred to me that today was going to be the last day for us in Venice. So, I told myself to make the best out of my last hours here. Carpe Diem. I got up and embraced the rays of sunshine touching my skin, and even though it was early in the morning I could feel the heat slowly accumulating. We went for a small walk, got some coffee on the way to the bus station and waited for it to come. People chattering in Italian were passing by and some argued over topics we could not understand.
Having arrived at the city centre, we took the ferry to surround Venice, admiring its old and byzantine architecture. After driving along the biggest canals we made our way to Murano where we spent the rest of the day. Contrary to Venice, Murano’s atmosphere was very calm and soothing. Due to its lower buildings, the wind coming from the sea could be felt even when walking along the main canal.
The day came to an end quickly and even though over the course of two days we had seen a lot of places and met a lot of people, I felt like there was always more to discover, more people to meet, more impressions to obtain. We had spent the rest of the day in the city, walking without any tangible aim inhaling the evening’s warm air and with an uncontrollable feeling of happiness in our chest. We sat down on a flight of stairs and looked around; this was Venice – people passing by, laughing, drinking and smoking – the buildings creating a rich and southern atmosphere – the sun slowly setting beneath the city’s borders.
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