The world today is full of hype. People seem happy to brag about the smallest of things on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Newspapers compete for punters with the boldest of headlnes and the world of advertising is more brash and bold than it ever was. So isn’t it wonderful when you find something that lives up to all the hype; something that is everything other people have said it would be and more?
Over the half-term break, my husband and I took our two children away for a few days. Our destination was a place I had always dreamed of visiting. A place I had read about, seen in movies, studied in pictures and heard fellow travellers talking about … Venice. But would the city live up to expectations? After months of dreaming about the trip, I found myself with last minute nerves. Would the city let me down? Would it be smelly and overcrowded like I know it can be the summer? Could it be everything I wanted it to be?
Hell yes. It was everything and more. Okay so we were incredibly lucky with the weather. Four days of crisp blue skies and bright sunshine. Days in which the lagoon shimmered and the colours of the palazzos and piazzas changed from bright yellows and reds in the daytime to soft ochres, russets and oranges in the evening. And we chose well on the hotel: spitting distance from the Grand Canal, close enough to the Rialto to be easily walkable and yet far enough from the tourist trail to feel real, to feel Venetian. But in spite of all the build up and all the hype I was still not prepared for the city’s beauty. Around every corner, every turn, there is a picture postcard view. Our cameras snapped, our jaws fell and the stresses and strains of our jobs, of school, of everyday life just melted away.
The absence of cars, mopeds, even bicycles make this a unique place, which although bustling and a still packed with tourists in places, was at the same time calming and soothing. We forgot our worries and our woes and meandered the streets, eating far too much gelato, drinking far too much hot chocolate and vino rosso, enjoying the art and the architecture and soaking it all in.
Wonderful, beautiful Venice. My husband said it all when he commented, “If I had only one more day to live and only one place to spend it, it would be here.” Yes, it’s a city that lived up to expectations. Meanwhile, coming back to home sweet home? That’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Cracked maybe, but certainly nothing to brad about. Ah. Così è la vita.