Memories – Venice

Venice is another beautiful part of Europe that I saw in an absolute whirlwind and yet loved with my whole heart. I was lucky enough to spend my time in Venice with two gorgeous men who spoiled me silly and who generously helped add to the romantic vibe. 

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Venice feels romantic. I can’t say for sure whether it was Venice itself or all the stories associated with the island that encompassed me so fully, but I’m tempted to say it’s in the very air and architecture of the city. 

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Watching the Murano glass blowing and the Burano lace making demonstrations in the morning gave me an early appreciation for the work of the Venetian craftsmen and women. The blown glass, in jewel like colours and edged with gold, is luxurious and so fine I felt a breath of air could shatter it. The lace, elegant and delicate, inspired visions of traditional bridal trousseaux and christening gowns. I was completely fascinated by the Venetian masks in all of their varying shapes and colours and implications. The Carnevale di Venezia instantly makes in onto my Life List. 

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A walking tour explored the Piazza San Marco, Rialto Market and Grand Canal and started us off on Venice’s little lanes and gorgeous squares. The best way to see Venice is to wander, exploring where you will and occasionally get lost. We visited St Marks Basilica in it’s flooded state and the water lapping over the walkways just emphasised the damages of the rising sea levels and Venice’s state of elegant decay. 

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My fleeting visit to Venice ended in the most appropriate way with a gondola ride. Sitting back with a glass of champagne watching the city open up was perfect. 

Memories – Prague

Although I was only in the Czech Republic for a short time it got under my skin. Prague, the historical capital of Bohemia, made my blood sing. As I walked through the medieval city’s cobbled streets discovering Gothic architecture and fresh cherries I couldn’t help but feel a sense of joie de vivre.

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Hradcany is an amazing area to explore and includes Prague Castle, said to be the biggest castle in the world, where I watched the changing of the guards. Listening to the Prague Funfair Orchestra helped open my mind to the bohemian feel of the place, while seeing the huge, Gothic, St Vitus Cathedral reminded me that there can be beauty and faith in darkness.  

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I walked down into the town, buying a punnet of fresh cherries to munch, via the Charles Bridge.The bridge is a beautiful, romantic place, however the kiosks and painters do make it feel very touristy. The Old Town Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is good to visit by itself but makes a great base for exploring interesting little book shops and seeing the Astronomical Clock. 

The Love Lock Bridge and Lennon Wall give Prague an edgier, creative feeling. The Love Lock Bridge is a symbol of everlasting love. Lovers fix their locks and throw away the key in a romantic expression of their desire to be together through time. Since the 1980’s the Lennon Wall has been filled with John Lennon inspired graffiti. The wall changes continuously and represents ideals such as love and peace.

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For me, Prague was a feeling, a slip of a thought, an imagining. Impossibly hard to define it reminded me of midnight on the hottest summers day. A place with a dark history but where my spirit felt free and where I was reminded constantly of love, faith and hope, with a little wickedness mixed in for good measure. 

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