Late at night, holed up in my hotel attending to a myriad of photography, writing and administrative tasks, the bells of St Mark’s chime. It’s an unexpected and alien sound to my ears, stirring me from these day to day activities, a reminder that I’m a world away from home. And truly, there can barely be a city that is more ‘out there’ than Venice, built on over 100 islands, it’s the stuff of dreams and fantasy.
Even though this is now my fifth visit to the floating city, I’ve come to realize that I don’t really know it that well. Each time, it takes a day of walking around to get my bearings screwed on, become used to crossing bridges, taking public transport without wheels and stopping short when I suddenly encounter a dead end which terminates at a canal.
Even when I become attuned to the city, sights and sounds, I don’t really think that anyone but a local can truly know Venice well. Sure, I know many of the main squares and have my favourite cafes for a pit stop, but there are always those quiet passages leading off to God knows where, which I’ve never bothered to explore. And that’s the beauty of this Venice. It’s a great place to wander. Aimlessly.