This time last year (maybe even this exact day last year) Brian and I sat in a bar in Venice with friends Holly and Chas, laughing with new friends Mike and Dorota. Another couple, Americans Chas had found and brought to our corner of the bar, joined in the conversation for a while too. I didn’t pay that much attention to them though – it was more interesting to listen to Mike’s stories about driving across Mongolia in a Fiat Panda. Through a haze of bellinis and wine though, I recall hearing the Americans excitedly telling us they’d seen Samantha Brown at the airport. That fact skipped across the surface of my mind and back out but resurfaced later when I saw Passport to Europe’s 2006 season featured an episode on Venice.
I watched the show closely when it aired, nodding in recognition of the rainy morning we had, but didn’t spot any of the four of us strolling along in the background. And I certainly didn’t see any film crews or raving fans following Ms. Brown around while we were there.
I watched another episode recently, Hidden Venice. I only halfway paid attention, noting as usual the over-the-top treatment travel show hosts experience.
So this morning when Hidden Venice came on again while Holly and I were busy planning what to do in Santorini this summer I turned up the volume at her request but paid no attention. I left the room to go down the hall and heard her shriek. I ran back into the living room to see her dancing about in front of the television, clutching the remote control as she trilled, “It’s you, it’s yoooouuuuuu!” She rewound the program (I do love DVR) and would you believe it? There I stood, unmistakable with my curly hair and wearing my purchased-for-the-trip walking coat, reaching for one of the four espressos I had ordered.
Now how, pray tell me, did we not see Samantha [bleeping] Brown and her film crew when we entered the bar that morning? I knew instantly when and where this was. Upon our Saturday morning arrival in Venice after throwing down our bags and brushing our teeth at our little B&B, we visited the Rialto Fish Market before it closed. I immediately steered our little group for some anti-jet-lag coffee afterwards. Rich, bracing, Italian style coffee. The four of us entered a little bar in a piazza near the market and turned to the left. I left the other three in a corner and went to the counter to order and pay. Had my excitement at giving Holly and Chas their First Real Italian Coffee not kept my attention turned solely on the counter in front of me I would have looked to the right and seen the lucky Samantha Brown in action. But I went about my business entirely unaware that I was finally where I’d love to be — on the Travel Channel.