Venice feels like a place that wants to be swallowed. The city floats atop the sea, threatening to slip below the surface at any moment. Time drifts with the waves. Cyclical and fluid, the clock holds no power. Although stamped with history, those who wander the maze of mismatched cobblestones and sea-kissed buildings feel as if they’ve escaped time. Magic and salt ripen the air.
We are not the only ones entranced. Despite the cold of winter, bodies led by phones and cameras on sticks congest the streets. We turn down any corridor emptied of people, chasing light and shadows, dissolving into the dark corners, reawakening love lost for too long.
That’s how we find an empty bar, one serving oily noodles and red wine. We scoop until our plates are empty, using bread to soak up the last drops. Espresso comes out for dessert. It’s served in bleached porcelain, cups that remind me of the tea parties I’d host for my dolls as a child. “Espresso aids digestion,” Anthony tells me. His Italian friend at work told him so, and he now shares this fact in between sips of frothy syrup, the smell of roasted beans blanketing his words.
We spend less than twenty-four hours in Venice. Intoxicated by love and food and wine, we evade sleep, not wanting to miss a second of the bliss. There are too many bridges to count, snaking canals that have no end. We wander still. We let the magic envelop us late into the night, dancing to ghost music and lapping waves. It’s only when morning comes and our water taxi carries us from the floating city that I realize they’ve got it all wrong. Paris isn’t a city for lovers; Venice is.