As we roll into the fourth week of January what better time to look back over 2013, and all those posts I never got round to finishing? Here's January. January is Venice.
I was nineteen when I had my first pizza. It was a Veniziana. Twenty-five pence went to the "Venice in Peril" fund, and the that's been my default pizza ever since, so much so that the price of a Veniziana has become my own private measure of inflation. (That twenty-five pence hasn't gone up.)
Venice is covered in political slogans. The one above's my favourite. This was my second visit to Venice to see how those twenty-five pences had been spent, and Lanna's first. The graffiti is (are?) everywhere. It's nothing, toilet wall stuff, not art, and there's not a right angle left standing. Yet the city doesn't look neglected. Just old. But still very much alive. Four or five hundred years ago the planners clearly hit upon an architecture that could weather anything, and the results remain famously, obviously, beautiful. It's un-neglectable.
It's covered in tags, and crumbling and beautiful. And it's quiet.
It's quiet in January anyway. Our five days there reminded me of something I'd wanted to do when I was younger - an aspiration I'd lost sight of while worrying increasingly, as the years passed, about what had disappeared, and about what it was I was actually doing with my life. And recalling this aspiration came as something of a relief to me, because I had wanted to do everything. Nothing specific. Just everything.
Do I manage it? Watch this space.
Venice on a budget
Venizia by day
Venizia by night
Museum of Natural History