same name different place

When I studied abroad at age 19, I got to spend a week in Italy with my classmates. A few days in Rome, a few days in Florence, then a few days in Venice. A pretty remarkable opportunity for us midwesterners. It certainly sounds glamorous.

Recently, during a visit to Venice, California (pictured here), memories surfaced of the other Venice and of my time there. Here’s what I remember: My clothes weren’t warm enough. It was freezing. It hailed every day, so there was not a gondola in sight. I wrapped plastic bags around my feet inside my shoes to keep them dry. Pigeons landed on my head and arms as I traipsed through the city shivering. And I really missed home. It was the week before Christmas, and I’d been away from my family and my country for 4 months. I was a cold, exhausted, sad kid when I was in Venice, Italy.

Perhaps I’ll visit there again (when it’s warmer!) and make new memories. Or perhaps not. There’s no requirement that I have an experience of that city that equates with its “magical,” “charming,” “extraordinary” reputation. For now, Venice, California, will suffice. And I’m 100% sure it will never hail there.

What places are on your mind lately?