What a day! We experience Acqua Alta. The combination of high tide, full moon and rain finally brings the water over the canal edges and, more strangely, bubbling up through the very ground we walk on. The Piazza San Marco changes before our eyes into a huge canal, and the raised board walks become filled with brightly-coloured waterproofed tourists - we among them. In our colourful overboots and with the Basilica our destination, we have become, on this our last day here, tourists.
But not for long. Anne dons her 'volunteer tourist guide' lanyard and we're in without queuing, through a special side-door, and given seats under the glowing golden domes of the Doge’s private chapel. For twenty minutes (or was it ten, or was it an hour?) we are mesmerised and enthralled as Anne turns these incredible mosaics into a graphic novel that we read and understand. She is inspired, on fire. At the end I ask her, “Is that the talk you gave Michele Obama?” “Oh no," she says. "There wasn't time!"
After visiting the restored, amazing, beyond-beautiful horses, we celebrate the occasion with a visit to Florian's. After checking out that it's €9 for coffee (€6 more if we listen to the orchestra), we choose a room inside and order chocolate cake, coffee, Prosecco. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and we love it!
In the evening we gather in Nikibar, where Niki, an Italian-speaking Russian, serves us a Venetian feast and we share poetry and friendship, laughter and tears. Tomorrow we will go our separate ways - though all ways lead back to Wenlock Books, where fifteen years ago, the seeds of the Wenlock Books Readers' Tour of Venice were unknowingly planted.
Until next time - arrivederci!