‘A picture is worth a thousand words‘ or so they say, but we’ll keep these to about half of that so that neither of us are asleep at the wheel here. One picture will be featured in The Scrapbook, as often or as infrequent as whenever as a means of remembering exactly what was going on at the time it was taken.
Whilst I did appreciate the advice I received from friends and family prior to departing for Europe last summer, the most popular “wisdom” tormented me frequently, recurring every couple of days whilst I was strolling through strange and beautiful paradises so white against all I grey left behind at home with doubt. My loved ones cautioned me with shade: ‘You mustn’t get lost!’ – not considering that once immersed in the crystal blue banks, sea-salt sunshine and decaying property of the water city, ‘lost’ is exactly what I would want to be in Venice.
The smell of the sea is different there. Present, though, the pungent pang of seaweed is when it slaps you across the napper like a live fish, you also immediately acknowledge that the air is saltier upon arrival than at other beaches in Scotland. It’s dehydrating and sensory conflating; the air stings your nose but your throat has been dusted with thirst. You’re tempted by the salt of a hundred hams with a single inhale but law forbids you to drink the water before you.
Whenever fate finds me gazing thoughtfully at this photograph I took of the outskirts of Venice, I feel admiration for Europe – knowing that beyond the eat/sleep routine I’ve become so accustomed to over the years that there are places in existence that do more for life. Venice is one of these places. Whilst Scot Rail fails to provide an adequate train service under the first flake of winter snow, Venice’s busses are boats that trudge through the thaw to get pedestrians from one island to another all year round. The Italians hustle and bustle, row and glide through the waves of the city with ease as if completely oblivious to the phenomenon of their unique lifestyle in Venice. You would believe that some locals thought all cities of the world resembled theirs but the restaurants and tacky gift shops on every corner will tell you otherwise.
There’s an air of exclusiveness surrounding the property in Venice. The houses are icebergs, rooted to the ocean bed using layers and layers of concrete. The colourful sandstone walls that line the canals in postcards have long since lost their appeal in the flesh of the harsh, realistic day, grey behind a mist of green sea organisms that finger at the fixtures like carelessly lethal children. Who knows how long these houses will last with the rising tide. On the ‘bus’ we passed a grand looking house with a great party inside. The dock was merely meters away from our outstretched fingers out of the boat’s windows but a pool of tide separated us from the fun as we passed by, as disappointed as Gatsby. It’s three floors towered over the main canal like a Statue of Liberty beside a plethora Dukes of Wellington’s with cones on their heads.
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