17 June, Venice / Sicily – ‘All Over The Place – Europe’

Straight back into Venice again this morning in our water taxi, this time to record the video for our song. It’s all about Naomi being a stupid tourist who is unaware that Venice doesn’t have roads, only canals, and is in the style of Olly Murs’ ‘Troublemaker’. Ours is called ‘Holidaymaker’.

Naomi was feeling slightly self conscious dressed as the dorkiest tourist ever, whilst I looked even more of a pillock in my Venetian gondoliers outfit. But we’re old hands at looking stupid in public places these days and I paid no attention whatsoever to the hoards of tourists milling about us. Ticked off all the classic spots like St Marco’s Square and the Rialto Bridge and shot what I think will be a great little video full of stuff. Then it was back to the hotel on the mainland and time to say goodbye to Naomi, our director Alasdair and our researcher Mark. Always a shame to wave Naomi off as we do have a laugh presenting together.

An hour later we were heading to the airport ourselves, bound for Sicily, a flight we couldn’t have made yesterday as the eruption of Mount Etna had shut Catania airport. Our new researcher Olivia caught sight of it smouldering away as we came in to land, and as we left the airport we could clearly see the lava trail burning away in the darknesss on the side of the mountain.

There was the vague smell of BBQ in the air and as we crawled up the mountainside in our mini bus we passed through several clouds of smoke and ash. The twisting roads and crumbling villages with their Victorian street lamps meant it was all slightly spooky, even more so when we arrived at our hotel and the lights appeared to be off. We seem to be the only people staying here and it feels a bit like the hotel from ‘The Shining’. All very clean and tidy but it looks like the place hasn’t changed since 1964.

Once I got out onto my hotel balcony I was stunned to discover that I had a clear view of the red hot lava bursting out of Etna from what appeared to be about 10km away. I called  everyone up to my room and our cameraman G took the opportunity to shoot it for the show on a zoom lens, and it was captivating to look through the viewfinder and see what was before us in such detail. After a couple of hours the novelty still hadn’t worn off as there was the feeling that this was probably a once in a lifetime experience, but 2am seemed a reasonable time for us all to shuffle off to bed, pausing first to take advantage of the hotel’s free wifi and jump onto Facebook and Twitter to show off about what we’d just witnessed.

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