travel diary

Eurotrip: Milan and Venice

Words and images by Al Nemaric

It was hot. As my head rested against the stone of the building behind me, I could feel the sun gently pressing its lips on the top of my head. The men in striped shirts were so close to us as they took visitors on expensive rides along the canals. Such tanned, leathery skin and cheeky smiles. They kept trying to peek up our skirts. One dude grabbed Liz’s leg as he floated past. She screamed so loudly it must have echoed through the whole city. She scared some pigeons.

Sitting on a bridge with new friends, we knelt down on the hard cobble stones to write a letter to Venice. The coolness of the stones was refreshing in the heat of the night. We sealed an empty bottle with the lid of Liz’s moisturiser and sent the message sailing through the canals. I wonder if anyone found it.

We saw Venice empty; completely deserted, apart from the few of us. And we were strangers to each other. It was the morning of the night before and the sun was beginning to show itself again. The city in its first golden hour of the day was silent. Every now and again you could hear the water slapping the stone and our footsteps in the streets.