Oh, hi there . . .
Got a new notebook. Got a coffee.
Most importantly, got a photo of my new notebook and my coffee, because OBVS.
But before I start . . . a few words:
I wasn’t intending to write any of this when I arrived in Venice for a weekend break, two years ago.
I wasn’t even intending for any of it to HAPPEN, back then.
I came for a few days of urgently-required rest after a prolonged bout of Huge, Shitty And Exhausting Life Events©️, followed by an emergency house move the week before, thanks to our landlord suddenly displaying epic levels of cuntwittery and deciding to move back in. Like now. I’d also been so sick with pregnancy nausea for 12 weeks I could hardly stand up for long enough to whinge about it properly, and one morning I distinctly heard the Gods of Ryanair and WiFi calling to me from the great white telephone upstairs, so I immediately went in search of a high dose of Dolce in my knackered, vomitty Vita.
It was done. The flights were booked. Just a few days away, I said . .
What followed has been one of the most unexpected, amazing, maddening, joyful, crazy, unforgettable, infuriating, wonderful, exhausting, happy, bonkers, bank-breaking, mind-shattering, patience-testing, eye-opening, and above all life-changing and totally un-regrettable experiences of my life.
I started to share little bits of it on good ol’ Instagram, from the months building up to the move to the journey itself (three days driving a cramped van across Europe with a baby, anyone??!) and then the life we have started out here, mainly to keep in touch with friends back home, but also because I’m one of the those weirdos who just enjoys taking photos of pretty things and sharing them with others.
Imagine anyone doing that! Madness, I know.
I didn’t expect anybody to take any interest in them. And I certainly didn’t think a whole load of you would write to say how much you enjoy seeing and following it all, and feel you’re living this adventure vicariously through my crappy little pictures. (NOTE: WITHOUT THE MOSQUITOS. You just sit comfortably over there and scratch your vicarious bites, won’t you. Nice to have you with us.)
Some of you crazy fools even decided to come all the way to Venice for a holiday after seeing my little square snap-shots of crumbling bridges, canals and cats in doorways. You people scare me. Is there NOTHING on Netflix??!
And then it started to happen;
‘Hey Liz, why don’t you write it all down? We’d love to read it!’
Now, it might be that you’re bunch of cruel, bored bastards who want me to spend ages banging away at my keyboard, with no intention of reading a single damned word.
If so I say, ‘Hey you, why don’t you kindly fuck off? I have COFFEE PHOTOS TO TAKE.’
But just possibly, some of you might actually want to read about it, might even enjoy some of it, and then might either be glad you never did such a stupid, ill-advised, obviously ridiculous thing
be inspired by the two people in this story who sat down one morning and asked the question, ‘shall we?!’ and spectacularly failed to think of a single decent reason to say ‘absolutely no way. It’s madness’, pack a bag, take a chance - and have a life adventure too.
If you want advice about museums in Venice, tips on which restaurants do the best napkin folding, want to read about Bellini’s in Harry’s Bar or organised trips to ‘definitely authentic local fishermen’ in the lagoon, you’d best go elsewhere.
But if you want to know how to negotiate a trolley-wielding Venetian granny in the co-op, find a silent doorway in the sun, learn how to zig-zag across bridges while swearing like a local, know where to change a baby, go for a run and get a good coffee that won’t bankrupt you, discover how to have San Marco all to yourself, why never to put your bum on a seat in a café, understand the complicated rules about children wearing puffa jackets in April, and get to grips with 4-hour system required to buy a postage stamp, then THIS, my friend, is the right place for you.
I’m not sure how it will go, or how to order the posts because I’m absolutely bollocks at that kind of thing, but I reckon my best plan is to take a leaf out of Maria von Trapp’s book, and just start at the very beginning. She knew how to make lederhosen out of curtains that looked like pig’s vomit, so I’m sure as hell not about to argue with her.
I want to offer my big, weepy, Oscar-worthy thanks to all those of you who have encouraged me to write, to believe in what the heck I’m doing out here, to swim against the rising floods of the Aqua Alta and all manner of seemingly unsurmountable difficulties and problems this Venetian adventure has thrown our way.
I’ve wanted to give up and go home many, many times (!!) and I honestly can’t tell you how much your unexpected, kind and genuine support and encouragement, mostly from afar and from over the Interwebs, has helped me to keep going and SEE THIS BLOODY THING THROUGH.
Just one smiley emoji can make all the difference in times when we feel weak, and need a virtual hug.
I’d very much like to hug you all now, but I’m kinda busy thinking of things to do to avoid all that hugging. Sorry.
I also can’t name-check you all, but I really hope you know who you are, and how truly grateful I am.
These Venice Diaries are for you. Let’s have a Spritz or three together some time.
And now. ANDIAMO! as we have learned to say here.
The Venice Diaries. From the very beginning . . .