On our trip a couple weeks ago my husband and I visited Venice Italy for the first time. What a wonderful, beautiful, unique city. Because of what it is, a city built on the sea, the pace slows down because there is no motor vehicles allow. Also because of the canals and bridges, there is not even bikes. Walking is required no matter where you are going. Or of course boats, but that is a different story and also so much fun.
On one of our walking journeys around Venice we did exactly what all those who had been suggesting doing, we got lost. It is difficult to get completely lost because you are always between the Grand Canal and the ocean, but it felt like lost because we didn't know quite where we were in relationship to our hotel.
Because of our wanderings we stumbled on a tiny little bookstore. A bookstore that was packed to the ceiling with books. You could tell right away that the owner of the bookstore did not run his story because he loved to sell books, he ran it because he loved books. Period.
He knew his store well, when someone asked about something he could find it, but who wanted to be helped right away. Personally I wanted to wander amongst the aisle for hours and just breathe deeply of that wonderful book smell.
All the titles were in Italian and so I didn't buy anything, but I did recognize some of the covers. Which made a connection across language barriers, I speak no Italian and the owner spoke some English, but I told him I work in a bookstore in America and he loved that I still shopped in a bookstore across the world. "You must be a lover of books to shop at a bookstore on you holiday."
It is amazing how quickly that connection was made. Us booklovers are everywhere and sometimes even a language barrier is not enough to keep us apart. We can point and smile and somehow the understanding is there.
I couldn't find that bookstore back on a bet, but it really was one of the highlights of my trip. A chance to meet a fellow booklover and find an instant friend.