Last month was so hot around Washington, DC that when I stepped out of the air-conditioning I felt as though the air was being sucked out of my body. That feeling brought back memories of another perfect July.
In 2003 Jim and I spent the month of July in Venice during the hottest summer recorded in Europe in a 100 years.
Our rented apartment was not air conditioned. We kept the windows open. The hum of an oscillating fan lulled us to sleep. We woke to the cooler early morning breezes tossing the curtains out into the room,
We sat outside when we ate supper at local restaurants. When we prepared our meals in the apartment we did not cook so we would not heat the apartment. We feasted on local cheeses and large loaves of crusty bread, salads, cold meats and ices.
With the windows open we heard the chatter and laughter of all the passers-by below our second floor window. Bells from a near-by church which we noticed the first week gradually faded into just being part of the background.
We often retreated into large dark churches to escape the intense heat. We sat on the marble steps near the altar and the cold stones cooled us
or we took long rides on a vaporetto on the canals to feel a cool breeze from the water or catch some spray while sitting in the back of the boat.
We ate delicious flavored ices.
I wore loose fitting dresses that swirled around my legs as I walked
and large straw hats like my grandmother had done.
Jim who rarely wore hats shaded his face with a wide-brimmed straw hat he bought from a convenient stall in a neighborhood plaza.
We drank iced tea
we read and talked in the evenings.
and we listened to radio music because we did not understand the language on television.
Was it because it was Venice - that incredibly captivating place that we were so satisfied
or - because the heat slowed us to enjoy our time together?
Afterwards Jim and I often looked back together at our perfect summer - -