Venice is the most beautiful city on the world. It is the most surreal, dreamlike and mysterious place I know.

I’d been here before, a few hours one day some time back. Just enough time to notice the creative madness and extreme refinement that we humans are capable of. To construct a city on water… what a dream.

Yesterday, I took a step into Venice for the second time. It was hot and hoards of tourists were turning their dreams into reality. So many groups I couldn’t distinguish their faces, a sea of people filling every turn, so many people, and each took away a small bit of magic from the city.

I had no choice but to follow them, saying all along that I am no different. I was irritated at myself just for being there.

Trying to find a way out of  the crowds, we decided it was a good idea to go have a few drinks. We were at the Piazza San Marco and had a seat at Florian, one of the historic Italian tea-rooms in the square. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. And right there in front of us, Andrea Bocelli was rehearsing for his concert that night. I don’t come across like this, but I love opera. It has such power, precision and beauty.  I get goosebumps just thinking about it. My most moving artistic emotions have all happened around opera.

Cozied up next to each other, seated in the shade with a cold glass of Pinot Grigio, we saw birds change their flight paths to the sounds of the choir, we felt the walls tremble to the melody of the violins, we saw the orchestra conductor raise his arms up high, baton in hand…

When suddenly, I realized that I was in the middle of living one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

This morning, I got up early. For my last few hours in Venice, I want to find myself alone in these streets. I know that at six a.m., all the souvenir shops will be closed, that the light will be soft, the sun just rising, and the air still holding last night’s chill. Come eight a.m., it will already be too late. But by then, I’ll have already made it back to the hotel with chocolate croissants, still hot from the oven, waiting for me in my bag.

Translation : Tim Sullivan