CENTER STAGE

A Political Thriller

“An entertaining political thriller—smart and engrossing. No shortage of political intrigue depicted with astuteness and emotional drama.”
—Kirkus Reviews

Summer Travel – The Magic of Venice

Wayne Avrashow VeniceI would not describe myself as a world traveler.  As a young man my travels were restricted to cross-country trips, Hawaii, New York and Washington D.C., with one trip to the idyllic island of Moorea in Tahiti. I am making up for lost time.  In the last years I have journeyed to Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan and Rome.

Last fall, my wife and I were engulfed in unadulterated magic—Venice, Italy.  Venice—is a feast for all senses.

Venice is an amphibious city, floating on water.  The city is built upon hundreds of small, flat islands connected by nearly 400 bridges.  The industrious Venetians drove wooden stakes into the sand to construct wooden platforms and the city blossomed.

We arrived by train from Milan to board a vaporetto, a public water bus. We also experienced a private water taxi, and the world-famous gondolas. Yes, they’re a tourist attraction; hey, we’re tourists. The drivers’ black and white horizontal striped shirts are seared in your mind.

St Marks Square VeniceSt. Marks Square is the religious, political and social center of Venice, its church was first constructed in the 9th century.  It is an imposing structure with arches, marble, carvings and four horses caught in mid-thunder which project pride and strength.

The Grand Canal is the main water canal that travels through Venice. During the day the water sparkles as the city is alive with water taxis speeding along, tourists and locals conducting their travels and business. At night the Grand Canal is pure magic with the dimming sun and the lights begin to flicker on, bathing the multi-colored, centuries-old structures and illuminating the canal.  Google the scene to whet your appetite, but there is no substitute for the actual moment.

The best tip in Venice—walk and wander the small, winding alleyways.  You will see where Venetians live, work, eat and conduct their lives. Tour guides can explain the minute details you are likely to miss on your own.  Our guide pointed out to us the ancient, small concrete dish that was constructed in many small squares to allow dogs to drink their water centuries ago.

I cherished the small, narrow and twisting alleyways that surround the city.  The same alley you are walking on is the same as centuries ago.  You will feel the vibes of ancient times.

One sight evokes deeper thoughts: The Bridge of Sighs.  You can see the bridge from a gondola or you can walk across it.  Prisoners walked along the bridge to capture one final glimpse of the city before they were executed.  The site gives new meaning to one last hurrah.

You never know who you will meet when travelling. On an earlier trip, my wife and I were dining in Paris, France. Sliding into the adjacent seat to me was Bruce Willis.  He presumed I was French and greeted me, “bonsoir.”  I smiled and replied, “Good evening Bruce.”  He chuckled, and we briefly chatted.

When I wrote my novel Roll the Dice, I wove in anecdotes, sights, sounds and smells from the places I’ve visited, as well as my experience in the world of politics. As with any book, the author’s experience is what brings the words to life.

At one point in the book, Tyler Sloan, my main character, notes the time his daughter photographed him on a winter’s day in front of Rome’s Forum.  He later promises his romantic interest that after the campaign they will decompress in Paris.  Hard to argue with Sloan’s choices. They’re based on some of my own unforgettable experiences.

If I can give one piece of advice to any aspiring writer: experience as much of this vast, beautiful world as you can. Then bring it to the page.

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Center Stage Cover
$19.95
January 12, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-64543-794-9