Trying Aperol Spritz for the first time in Venice, city of Refuge

Trying Aperol Spritz for the first time in Venice, city of Refuge

This short travel story is an excerpt from the new novel Exquisite Hours by Joshua Humphreys. Set in New York Bangladesh, Bangkok, Venice, London, and Vietnam, Exquisite hours is the story of Anaïs Spencer, a beautiful young woman who travels the world lying to men.

‘What brings you to Venice then?’

‘I Octavian have always felt that I would end up here. And somehow I have ended up here.’

‘Is this the end?’

‘Do you think it is?’

‘How should I know? Taste that.’

She pushed the skewer back with her finger and drank. ‘That’s amazing.’ Astonished she broke into a smile. Then she moaned with pleasure. ‘That…’ she sipped again. ‘Oh. … It tastes like sunshine. You could drink that all day.’

‘And so we shall,’ he assured her.

‘What’s it called?’

‘Spritz Aperol,’ he said with a very attractive Italian accent.

From within was brought a large plate arrayed with every deliciousness that Anaïs had yet tasted from the lagoon. ‘The fish and chips are cold,’ she said touching them with the backs of her fingers. Then she had some. ‘That’s amazing It’s delicious.’

‘You just ate mermaid tail.’

She cackled and then tucked into the grilled vegetables.

‘All mermaid stories aside, you’re in Venice why?’


‘Yes. How did you come to be sitting at Paradise Lost?’

‘Well you walked into that gallery today didn’t you?’

‘Not today I mean how have you ended up here? What have you fled? All strangers who come to Venice have fled something. The city was founded by refugees. You have fled something no? Was your heart broken Anaïs? Declare everything.’

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