Only a few days now and I have driven EVERYONE insane with this countdown (so much so that a colleague has a photo of Venice outside her office with a big red cross through it!). I can't recall ever being this bad -- I desperately need this holiday!
As you know, it's in honour of my mum who passed away on the 24th April. Before she died I said to my partner I wanted to go to "our happy place" when mum went. That place is Venice. When I made the comment I thought mum would have another 1-2 years, not 1-2 months. I was relatively strong during that period, able to organise the funeral and do the eulogy, but as the months go by I've really weakened. I can't look at a photo of her without crying, I can't listen to songs that remind me of her because they make me too sad. I've weakened over the months and I need the Venice trip to recover and heal. I think mum would be really proud of that. She would understand. She did something similar when my step-father died. Hopped on a plane and tried to find herself again.
Thirty days in Venice to just "be". I really love that idea. For the first time ever, a holiday isn't planned to each hour of each day. Well, actually I lie. We've got a few days in Rome first and I've booked Galleria Borghese (and you have to nominate a time!). The day after we'll probably just stroll around and spend more time in places we've enjoyed previously. I want to really discover the Roman Forum and the other half wants to do the Collosseum again. But when we get to Venice, there's nothing. No plans. We can just enjoy and soak it up.
Thankfully we have friends that love Venice and they have given us some wonderful tips. We've pre-booked a weekly transport card - and the toilet card! - at much cheaper rates than if we had sorted them out on arrival. We've already been alerted to a vaporetto strike on the 19th November and the Feast of della Madonna della Salute. As we want to just blend into Venice during the month, we'll make sure we watch the procession over a pontoon bridge to Salute. Venetians give thanks at the altar for ending the great plague of 1631. I also found out it is customary on the day to eat the castradina, a mutton-based traditional dish. We'll check that out too.
Oh and I have adopted a Venetian alias - no longer will I be Rachael, but I'm changing my name to Veronica. Veronica Franco was a poet and courtesan, in an age when courtesans were the most educated women in Europe. I read a book on her and Hollywood attempted to recreate her life in the movie Dangerous Beauty (A Life of Her Own) with Catherine McCormack (absolutely stunning as Veronica), Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt, Jacqueline Bisset and many others. I loved it. I'm making sure my favourite pieces from the Soundtrack are on the ipod so I can enjoy while I'm away.
Trip Number Four - here we come x