My next Modern Heat is set in Venice, so that meant taking a research trip: a tough job, but someone has to do it. So, last week, I went to the most romantic city in the world – and walked a hundred thousand steps in Venice, along with my research team (aka husband and children).
(And, yes, I do mean that many steps in four days. I used a pedometer. There were a few more either side at the airport, plus the ones that weren’t scheduled to be in Milan but had to be done because our flight was cancelled due to a strike… but that’s another story!)
Before I left, my agent challenged me to tell her what my defining Venice moment was. I thought that might be a good blog post for a Travel Tuesday – and thank you to lovely Annie West for swapping column dates with me this month so I could do that.
So what’s my defining Venice moment?
Um – actually, it was all so wonderful that I can’t choose. So let me give you a selection of things that I loved about Venice, and maybe you can help me choose?
Seeing Venice for the very first time from a motoscafo (water taxi), with the sun glittering on the water.
Walking through St Mark's Square at night, hand in hand with my husband, with the piano and string quartets playing (after walking along the quayside and seeing Venus rising over Venice – that’s the bottom picture here).
Seeing the sunlight reflected on the underneath of the bridges.
Taking a ride on a gondola, leaning back on the seat with my husband’s arm round my shoulders.
Seeing the breathtaking view from the top of the Campanile.
The moment we got to the top of the stairs in St Mark’s Basilica (i.e. to see the horses in the loggia) and turned round to see the entire church - absolutely breathtaking (and so were the horses).
Having breakfast on the terrace of our hotel on the Grand Canal - ruby-red orange juice, croissants and good coffee, and the most fantastic view.
Visiting the churches - our favourites were San Stefano and Santa Maria Formosa.
Visiting Burano – which has to be one of the prettiest places in the world.
Strolling through the Rialto market and seeing the bright colours of the fruit, veg and fish. And seeing/walking over/looking out from/travelling under the Rialto bridge.
And that doesn’t even begin to take into account the lovely Venetian people, the food (we must've had two or three gelati each, per day - ha, and I lost weight!), the wine, the atmosphere, the sounds, the shopping (I could've spent a fortune on glass) or the contrasts between the busy main streets and then, only a few metres away, quiet little campinelli where you could just sit and watch the world go by…
Venezia definitely has me under her spell. And I want to go back.
You can see more pics and tales from Kate’s Venetian trip on her blog over the next couple of weeks. Good Girl or Gold Digger? is still available from the M&B website in the UK, and is on shelves next month in the US and Australia. The Doctor’s Lost-and-Found Bride is still available from the M&B website in the UK, eharlequin.com in the US, and is on shelves now in Australia. You can find out more about these books, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/)