I always dreamed of going to Venice. Doesn't everyone who ever saw "Don't Look Now"? It seems so impossible that a city that preposterous and mysterious and beautiful even exists, we all have to go find out for ourselves eventually.
For my 49th birthday last month, Eric surprised me. We were visiting our friends in Norwich, including my soon to be goddaughter Daisy, and he told me to pack a bag for the weekend. I thought we were driving down to London. I even checked Elton John's website to see if maybe he was playing there. But as we got near the Stansted exit Eric said he had to stop at the services. Then he drove past the services and asked if I fancied a trip to Venice. Being an American girl, to hear the words "fancy" and "Venice" in the same sentence? I think it's the most romantic thing anyone's ever said to me.
So we did all the things that lovers do in Venice: we argued about where to eat and should we go over this canal or that one to get back to that shop we saw - wait I swear it was back around the other way. No wonder it has a reputation for romance - if your relationship survives the challenges of the crowds, overpriced hotels, dodgy restaurants and too much beauty to look at everywhere you turn, then you are absolutely made for each other.
I know we are. Because we could admit to each other that we'd rather see the 20th century art at the Peggy Guggenheim museum than the Tintorettos in l'Accademia, but only because we were just there for 2 days. And we could accept and even celebrate the fact that the best meal we had was the pizza and calzone in a town outside of the city. We could spend precious sightseeing time watching an Italian documentary on AC/DC in the hotel. Sneak on the train without tickets and corroborate each other's story if caught. Find perhaps the only thrift shop in the whole of Venice. And how cute do we look in our costumes for carnevale?