Now that I’m up and running and have had the chance to set the tone for WTB, I’ve been asked by several friends to recount the funny shite that’s happened in my life. So here begins story time. This particular story is a fan favourite and it’s been requested that I start with the infamous “Venice canal” story.
For those who know me know that I’m a little crazy at times but always try to play the elegant, sophisticated lady who’s got it going on. So now that we’ve established that I’m all cool in the pool but in reality I’m a moving ball of chaos, who has no choice but to laugh in the face of adversity. And it begins…I have a friend, let’s call him Noel (cannot reveal his true identity due to a little thing called a privacy act). Noel is younger than myself, in prime condition (VERY fit), a stunner, the kinda guy who literally turns heads. How we met is another story entirely but, I digress…so Noel and I decide to take a trip together, somewhere on the continent to a country we’ve both never had the luxury of visiting. Said country turned out to be Italy; land of food, wine and love (at least for one night if you respond well to “ciao bella”). The itinerary goes as such; Venice, Bologna, Florence and lastly, Pisa. I’m pumped and ready to get my vino on!
We arrive in Venice late afternoon, hail a water taxi which enabled us to see such famous landmarks as the Rialto Bridge, Palazzo Grassi and Cimitero di San Michele. And Noel being the wisecracker that he is kept joking how he’d like to take a dip in the canal and how cool would it be to take a midnight dip. After our inspirational Grand Canal tour we were deposited at our AirBnb flat with its rustic beams, whitewashed walls and a chilled bottle of prosecco (WTB!!! – this is going to be good). Our hostess Maria who didn’t speak a word of English patiently took us through the rules & regs of our stay via Google Translate which included a 20-minute instructional on how to work the CD player (probably not a bad thing considering the last time I used one was ohhhh say 10 years ago). Our initiation took the better half of an hour and me being the kind-hearted soul indulged Maria every minute while out of my periphery I can see that Noel was barely holding it together, I almost think he had a tear streaming down from holding in the gaffaw that would surely open the floodgates to a full-on laughing fit.
After Maria finally takes her leave (she was absolutely lovely and I’ve yet to encounter a nicer hostess), we immediately crack the bubbly and eventually take our arses to the little café around the corner for some pasta fresca. Naturally we had some vino with dinner but couldn’t stay long as we sauntered in just as they were closing and got the boot (no pun intended considering Italy’s shape). Next, we made our way through the labyrinth of alleys and canals (it’s like an adult version of those mice mazes, in other words feckin impossible to navigate as all bridges/canals/residences look the same…but fear not, I have Noel with me – the human compass) to eventually end up at the Irish pub. So, in the spirit of our first day of our first holiday together we decide to try a native drink which is aptly named, the Venice Bomb; a shot of dark liqueur (to be determined?) dunked into a pint of beer. Sidebar…why are the Irish pubs so popular everywhere you go in the world??!!!
So yeah, we’re feeling happy; first night in Venezia, beautiful warm weather, lush culture (aka men) with a whole week of exploration ahead of us. After a few more Venice Bombs and 1 or was it 4 beer chasers, it was time to relocate. Next destination…alcoholic smoothie stand in the middle of the street, game on!! And it was around this time that my “in vino veritas” personality wakes up from her long nap and as luck would have it, Noel was the sounding board BUT I wasn’t obnoxious per se just really, really truthful (he now takes great pleasure reminding me all the private tidbits that so readily spewed out, one word…trainwreck). Anyways, I’m clipping his heels as we bob & weave (I’m doing the bobbing, Noel, the weaving) through the city only to hap upon one of the most recognizable bridges in the world, drumroll please…the Rialto!! And it is indeed breathtaking especially when squint your eyes to blur out all the scaffolding, old sheets, timber, and tools, pretty much everything needed to restore this historical landmark back to its finest glory. All joking aside it was the real deal, bloody brilliant.
We decide to sit down on one of the piers to soak it all in. There are a few locals mulling about and it’s about half 3 in the morning so the perfect amount of background noise to coincide with the flawless beam of light compliments of la bella luna. Can you say “pinch me”?!! In that very moment, I’m falling in love with Italy. Back to the story…Noel and I are having the craic but finally decide to snake our way back to our abode given that we have a big day of adventure ahead of us. I stand up but feel myself start to wobble as the auld sea legs haven’t kicked in yet however Noel is right there to steady me, such a gentleman. After I assure him that I’m O.K. we take our leave however my legs decided to play a cruel trick by walking off (that’s correct..off) the side of the pier. I was convinced that I was trekking on solid ground but jaysus was I wrong UNLESS Noel pushed me in which I still haven’t ruled out!!! It felt like a slow-motion film with no reaction from my body whatsoever (fight or flight…cha right). And still reality hadn’t sunk in until the moment my face actually broke the surface of the canal. Yep, right under. Thanks Mum & Dad for those swimming lessons, money well spent. I simply cannot verbalize the plethora of thoughts that scorched my brain in the matter of mere seconds but the winner of that race was “Noel, quick take my purse” as for some ludicrous reason my conscious mind actually thought that I could save my iPhone (WTB!!). It did not register that I was treading in 90% raw sewage mixed with a side of ocean or the fact that there’s no way to physically get out as the sides of the pier are slippier than an eel covered in vaseline not to mention that the edge is at least 2 feet above my head.
The locals sprang into action as there was no way for Noel to drag my soggy arse out by himself. I now had a bunch of helping hands but if memory serves, it took 3 men to lift me up and out. But here’s the kicker, they decided to go with the auld 1,2,3 countdown but in Italian. It was the perfect a cappella. “Uno, due, tre” haha. The next thing I remember is squatting in a pool of shite soup…I looked like I had just been born from Alien’s loins!! And jaysus, the smell was worse than the backend of a horse who’s after eating a batch of sour apples. I can’t even imagine the sight of me but I’m guessing it was comical beyond words and I just knew that the universe taking the piss when I realized that I was wearing white pants which instantly became translucent aside from the brown stains compliments of Venice’s many bowel movements. And fair play to Noel, he feigned concern throughout the entire ordeal without a single smirk (remember how he kept making jabs about taking a dip in the canal…maybe it was power of suggestion…). Tables turned, I would have bust a gut, there’s no way that I could have managed as efficiently. Without doubt, that scene equalled any of Peter Sellers antics in The Party. So, as I stood in the small lake that now formed at my feet, the locals advised a hospital visit to be sure – no effing way was my response! I was mortified and just wanted to slink away into the shadows, I had my fill of fun for one day.
Thus began the long trek home. Squoit, squoit, squoit. The lovely sound emanating from my trainers which only magnified with every step due to the echo of the empty streets. By this time Noel’s phone had zero battery which meant no digital map for guidance. But as previously stated, he has an acute sense of direction and confidently lead us back to home base but not without a couple of full-on stares & chuckles from other inebriated tourists.
And that’s how you make a splash…viva l’Italia!!
Taken seconds beforethe notorious plunge (and yes, I was given permission to post this photo compliments of Noel himself…he figured it was too grainy for anyone to recognize him)!