Like a prodigal daughter I’ve returned home, spent and spoilt by my travels. I’ve slotted back into Bungay life in the usual way: initial joy at unlimited internet access and my own bed and then restlessness as the itch returns to my toes and I feel the urge to pack my suitcase and leg it to Stansted again. Although this time I have nowhere to go. So instead I’m trying to reflect on the past whirlwind six weeks and choose a direction to take for this summer. It’s all very deep for the sake of two months, but if I want to hail down a plane again I need to earn some money. Anything to prevent my decline into Jeremy-Kyle-watching-slobbiness.
So I better go back to the beginning of my adventures – to the place where really, ‘italian inspiration’ found its inspiration – to Venice. Looking back on those 24 days, all I can think about is colour.
I’d never really noticed the colours of Venice before. it had always seemed like a ripple of algae green and dulling gold, but during my stay I noticed the city shining more brightly under the sun.
On a trip to the island of Burano the colours were fresh from a palette of poster paints. There was none of that grey water lapping at water stained walls. It was as if the island had always caught the salty wind off the Adriatic, its cobwebs blown away and colours scrubbed to life.
The family I stayed with were also a breath of fresh air. The toddler, with her blonde curls and unending appetite was quite possibly the sweetest child I’ve had the pleasure of looking after (maybe it has something to do with the sedating power of a well fed tummy?) Then there was that chatty, intuitive plum cake loving little bandit of a five year old who loved to listen to stories and was a gioco dell’oca extraordinaire. Finally, to distract me from the stress of trying to track down Sebastiano’s broken toy truck or sedating a toddler’s baby hippo sized appetite, there was Anna. Let’s just say, from her (very amusing) stories about living as an expat in Izmir I’m probably qualified to write the culture section for the Turkey edition of Lonely Planet.
From revelations in milk frothing to afternoon samplings of ice cream, my month in Venice provided me with many simple food pleasures. One nugget of inspiration came from ‘gelateria Alaska’, a tiny place tucked away from the tourist trail. The owner, an eccentric artisan of ice cream seemed to approach gelato making with a Hestan Blumenthal attitude of craziness. He pointed out to me his creations: celery flavoured ice cream was one notable creation. “Full of vitamin C” he assured. Not being too keen on celery at the best of times I decided to try out his granita instead. It would seem that peach and basil make quite a combo, who’d have thought it?
Those perky cappuccino days passed by quickly and smoothly – a colourful ribbon of time slithering through the winding canals towards home, which is where it brought me at the end of June.
Not for long though…double fried chips and cocktail cruises were calling so off to Amsterdam I went. More on that later though, there’s so much reliving of the fun times I can take before the holiday blues dig their heels even deeper.