For the first time in many years we were there without any responsibilities: no work to do, no guests to feed. Everywhere we went we were greeted so warmly and pressed to have dinner or a drink or at the very least a cup of coffee. Yet we felt like imposters. Life goes on there and we are not part of it. I’ve returned to places I’ve lived but never felt like this before.
I’ve often theorised that Venice is more than a city. It’s an infection, like malaria, or an addiction, like heroin. I’ve seen people do crazy things in the throes of Venice fever, and I’ve seen people beggar themselves to feed their Venice habit. We were more than a little infected ourselves. And now I guess we’re clean.
There was a sadness about leaving again yesterday morning, but it was trumped by an eagerness to go home, feel a little soft Irish rain on our faces, sleep in our own bed. We’re over you, Venice. Some of our pals there recognised it and envied us. One of them actually whispered ‘Take me with you.’
So can we be ‘just friends’? I think so. Probably. Possibly. Well, it is Venice.