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Photo diary: Venice for my birthday

If there was one overdue post, it is this one.

As you may know from my Instagram, I spent my 40th birthday in Venice, Italy. I must admit, it was not my original plan as to where I wanted to spend my 40th or how I wanted to spend it. However, looking back, it was the most blissful few days, which, albeit spent solo (shock! horror!), were exactly what I needed.

I had been to Venice some ten years ago, for one day (read: a few hours), while on one of those "see 10 cities in 4 days" whirlwind tours and I always knew I wanted to go back and make new, substantial memories. One of the items on my life long bucket list has always been to visit the Venice Art Biennale which would usually run between May and November ... and since my birthday happens to be in November, I thought what better way to celebrate it in Venice and tick the Art Biennale off my bucket list before it closes? I'm lucky to have my birthday on what is celebrated as a holiday on my side of the Continent so I could take a few days off work and enjoy the break and the start of a new decade for me.

I did allow myself a little splurge in terms of accommodation and stayed in the fabulous Grand Hotel Dei Dogi ...arriving at midnight with my own private water taxi, being welcomed by the Concierge, offered a beverage while the bell boy took care of my suitcase ... gosh I felt like proper royalty! My room was unbelievable - padded damask wallpaper, Acqua di Parma toiletries, the lushest of bedding and softest of robes ... It's not that I usually travel rough, but this was definitely a step up from carrying my own suitcase up a flight of stairs to check in tiny Parisian rooms overlooking backstreets (sorry Paris, I still love you endlessly). Being also a short walk away from the centre also allowed me to explore Venice more and really soak in its atmosphere beyond the hoards of tourists also making the most of the long weekend.

I hopped on to Murano and Burano as well, the latter being, admittedly, the favourite of the two. Despite my penchant for more neutral colours, the multicoloured houses and ateliers reflecting on the canals' waters, on what happened to be a gloriously sunny day, were a pleasant assault on my senses. Despite the fresh, cold air on most days, ferrying around the city and between the islands was also a beautifully refreshing way of commuting.

Few weeks after my visit, Venice succumbed to some of the highest tides recorded and saw some very rough days. My heart broke looking at places I had just visited flooded in acqua alta which could have easily been avoided had the measures being worked on for so long, actually been completed on time. But let me not get political. While the cogs in my brain are currently in overdrive planning my trip to Japan, there is a little space which is dedicated to checking the next Biennale dates so that I can book me a few days to visit the hors les murs exhibits rather than just the Arsenale and Giardini locations next time. Having ticked something off a bucket list doesn't mean it cannot be ticked again, no?

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