Happily lost in Venice

by Filipinas Ayon Olesen

This story is part of our 'Romantic Travel Stories' series, featuring tales from luxury hotel guests which were sent in for our travel writing competition.

Photo by ZeHawk.


I don’t know, maybe it is possible to find a husband in Venice? Anyway, I brought my own. I love him and he loves me – just to let you in on two fine reasons to bring him to a spot as romantic as Venice. He may not appear as a hero that you see in movies, but he tends to rise to any occasion and he sure is my hero. So off we went.

For years I have wanted to see Venice. When I was a child we had calendars hanging in our kitchen showing photos from great places from all over the world. One in particular had caught my attention. It showed water and boats between very old houses. I was told it was Venice, a city built on the sea. I immediately sensed the magic and I had wanted to go there ever since.

As soon as we got off the plane, we walked to the boat that took us straight from the airport to the Piazza San Marco. We had to carry our luggage between wonderful historic buildings to our hotel just behind the square. That same evening, we sat luckily in Harry’s (crowded) Bar toasting each other with Bellinis – the Venetian cocktail made from peach juice and sparkling Italian wine.

We spent the following few days walking and sightseeing and getting inevitably lost. My private hero was conferring with maps and guide books while I was window shopping and enjoying the sights and the first sunny days of spring. He guided me by narrow streets, carved bridges to historical monuments and through all the beauty that was Venice: Richard Wagner composed some of his music in that building, Woody Allen stays at this hotel and Lord Byron used to swim in the canal over there.

Sometimes we sat down for coffee in small cafes and had the waiter show us directions. The day before we left we had dinner in a restaurant close to the opera house. In Ristorante Vino Vino we enjoyed the Italian food and wine. Then we walked back towards San Marco square.

"I know my way around Venice by now," my hero said.

After some walking we ended up by the Rialto Bridge. He looked surprised.

"I thought you wanted to see the Rialto Bridge," he said.

"We saw it yesterday," I said.

The vaparetto, the water bus, turned up at the stop by the bridge.

"How about a ride in my private gondola," he said.

I told him I would be delighted. We went onboard and got the seats at the back of the boat. The city was quiet and that night on Canal Grande with his arm around my shoulders, and the view of the palazzos and the dim lights reflecting in the water, I felt as if time paused for a moment.

"What is it that makes this city so romantic," I asked.

"You," he said.

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