A story of love and travel. Warning: unabashed sentiment ahead.
If you haven’t been totally put off your food by the above, then read on to learn more about us and why we want to Go with Oh.
In 2003, a week before Valentine’s Day, I went on a date in Edinburgh. He came down from Dundee, where he was studying, to take me out for cocktails at a swanky bar followed by dinner at a French restaurant, then coffee and dessert at a nearby cafe. Then it turned into a pub crawl.
It was the longest, and best, first date I’d ever been on. And nearly ten years later, we’re still together.
We’ve gone through innumerable train journeys across Fife to visit each other, followed eighteen months living on opposite sides of an ocean, then marriage, immigration, learning how to live together, buying a home and making some major changes when we were becoming increasingly unhappy with the direction our lives were going.
While I still enjoy solo travel, my husband’s been beside me on some pretty fantastic journeys. Like the one we took to Prague and Budapest to surprise him for his thirtieth birthday.
And the one we took to the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye for mine.
Travel has been a constant in our lives and though it’s not always easy, I think we’re happiest when we’re on the road exploring somewhere new.
We’ve been to some of the most romantic places in the world together. Like the time in Paris, when we went up in the dome of Sacre Coeur on a hazy afternoon and were all alone looking out across the city. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him all over again. And while it was a moment I’ll never forget, sitting together afterwards, holding hands and singing along with the buskers below (who were belting out a cracking version of ‘Wonderwall’) and the world at our feet, is somehow more us. Simple, and perhaps unremarkable, and not on anyone’s bucket list, but a shared experience that brought together sight and sound and memory. Those experiences are what make travel so important to us.
Neither of us can quite believe almost ten years have passed since we first met. And while we’re going back to where it all began, I would like to mark this anniversary in a special way.
Which is why
The last time I was in Venice, Italy was still using the lira. Memories have faded and this would be the perfect opportunity to make new ones.
Venice boasts an unbeatable combination of history, art, architecture and food. The Rialto. Piazza san Marco. Gondolas. The Doge’s Palace. The Bridge of Sighs. We will see them all and then some.
What we would do on our perfect trip:
Visit the Guggenheim Museum
Peggy Guggenheim had a colourful life, but her choice of Palazzo Venier as a home for her extraordinary collection of 20th century art instantly made it one of the most distinctive modern art museums in the world.
See the sights of St Mark’s Square
Last time I was in Venice, the Basilica was closed to the public for reasons that weren’t entirely clear. I will definitely get inside this time.
Get off the beaten path
After we hit the main sights, I’d like to explore some of the less-touristed areas of Venice. Context Travel has a walking tour of the Cannaregio in northern Venice. This ‘neighbourhood of artists’ mixes local shops and bars with Tintoretto-decorated churches and artisan studios. Sounds right up my street, or canal as the case may be. I definitely want to see the islands again–Murano for its beautiful glass, as well as Burano and the Lido.
Venice has its own distinctive cuisine and regional wine specialities. Tapas-style snacks are known as cicchetti, often eaten in Bacari, or wine bars called. Urban Adventures will take you to some of the oldest Bacari in central Venice where you can sample a variety of cicchetti. Bonus: getting to ride a gondola across the Grand Canal during the tour.
I’ve eaten some pretty fine gelato in Florence and Rome, and the quest to find the best will surely continue in Venice.
My sense of direction is not the best, and in a place like Venice I expect it to be rendered pretty much useless. So I’ve decided to embrace the (un)certainty of having no idea where we are and just being free to wander hand in hand and exploring. I think some of the best photographs come out of unexpected situations or viewpoints, so I’m looking forward to getting creative with my camera.
I’ve never visited the Veneto, and this would be a perfect opportunity to explore the region. Seeing Verona, home to Juliet’s balcony, and Padua, one of the oldest university cities in Europe, are top of my list.
This is just the beginning of the adventure…Go with Oh is offering an entire month’s worth of accommodation in four of their cities. I know where else I’d like to go, but I have to be the lucky winner if you want to find out where else we could end up.
It’s not just us who might be Going with Oh–you could too. Check out their Facebook competition for some cool prizes and a chance to stay in one of their apartments across Europe.
- Please vote for me to go to Berlin
- 2012 – The Year in Travel