It was a glorious spring morning a few years ago when my brother Ryan and I and our friends Ben and Nat scurried through the deserted, pre-dawn streets of Venice, eager not to waste one precious second of our time there.
The sun was just rising as we emerged in San Marco Square and found our way to a vaporetto (water bus) stand. Although not as romantic as a gondola or fanciful as the colorful Venetian boats, Venice water bus tickets are very cheap (6 Euro as opposed to 90 Euro for a gondola) and if you are quick enough to get an outside seat, the views are impeccable.
Since we were among the first in line at just after 5 a.m., we had our pick of outside seats and chose the very outsidey-est ones with views unencumbered by the large hats or telescopic lenses of strangers.
Soon we were motoring along the relatively deserted canals, seeing a Venice awash in pure morning light, the cool, fresh breezes masking the oft malodorous air.
I love seeing European cities before most people are even awake. The lack of interruptions and distractions make for peaceful and thoughtful viewing.
Usually the only people up are locals, heading off to work or stopping by the bakery for their morning bread or pastry. I like that.
I liked the hundreds of boats tethered securely to crooked wooden poles, rolling gently on the waves, creaking rhythmically with each heaving swell.
I was enchanted by the intricate detailing on the windows, balconies and doorways of lavish villas. Who lives behind those huge locked doors, those barred windows, those fluttering white curtains?
Some buildings looked welcoming with window boxes spilling over with flowers and cheery, brightly-painted boats tied up front, but others were austere, like this beautiful but imposing edifice.
My favorites were those with hidden gardens: ivy-covered trellises, lush plants trailing over courtyard walls, and blossoming trees reaching up for the sun. What lovely escapes in a city with so little ground that isn’t covered by towering villas and exquisite churches and palaces. How precious each square bit of earth must be.
If I lived in Venice, I would love a hidden garden to putter in.
I would also love one those fabulous little boats painted in deliciously bright colors. A little Venetian boat, all of my own. That sounds like pure bliss.
While we’re indulging in such lovely daydreams, what little things would make your heart happy if you lived in Venice?
PS – Thank you with all my heart for your unbelievably kind responses to my last post. Your supportive and celebratory words made me laugh and get teary and feel so lucky that you are part of my world. Thank you. xo