Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1936: Our Month in Italy - Spring 2011
By Boleskine from NJ, Spring 2011
Page 14 of 30: Lunedi 9 Maggio 2011 - Telefonino Blues
Pere Gialle a Santin
I have a horrific night. I think I exercised too much just before going to sleep, but for hours I lie on the bed feeling wide awake. It is very annoying! Finally sometime after 3:00, I get up and sit in the bathroom and try stretching my back, legs and shoulders. When I go back to bed, I sleep until 6:30, and then take some Tylenol and go back to sleep until nearly 9:00.
From Ciak's we go directly to the Rialto. Martin has been getting messages on his phone in Italian. They seem to have something to do with reconfiguring it although it seems to be working perfectly. The TIM store is stifling; it is all glass and the sun has turned it into a greenhouse - damp and hot. I don't see how anyone can bear to work in there all day. There are no chairs, and standing is not good for my knees and ankles.
We have no choice but to stand while a fellow American buys a ricarica card. He seems unsure about whether or not it will work, and what it is he is required to sign. The woman in the TIM store is not overly helpful. I don't think she realizes that what is routine to her is strange or confusing to others, and her English is not especially strong.
By the time it is our turn my ankles are bulging and the bottom of my left foot feels as though I am standing on corrugated cardboard. The TIM clerk is equally unhelpful with us. Martin tries to explain he has no actual problem with his phone but he keeps getting messages telling him that say he must reconfigure his phone by calling a particular number. When he does ring the number, the voice is speaking in low rapid Italian that I cannot fully comprehend. All we are asking is that she listen to the Italian message and then tells us in English or slow simple Italian, what the voice is saying in Italian.
She keeps telling us she cannot read English; Martin tells her she does not have to read English only listen to Italian. I finally try explaining what we want in Italian and after several more, "I do not reconfigure; I cannot read English," arguments, she does what we want, and pushes a button. Then she hands Martin the phone and says "Wait one hour."
That was about seven hours ago; Martin has not received any further messages nor have we had any problems with the phone, but then we had not at them before either. At least Martin is satisfied that somehow we have persuaded the woman to do as we had requested and that she solved the problem.
The long stand and heat in the store have left their mark. I hobble slowly over to Sergio's shop; today Massimo is there. We always stop in to say hello to whichever brother is in the tiny Rialto shop. We ask about buying an Inter-Milan football jersey for David. Massimo directs us to a stall that will have children's sizes and fair prices. The owner is inside talking to another man who is wearing a very stylish business suit. Finally the snappy dresser leaves and the owner comes out. We explain what we want and then discuss size. We disagree about size, I think because David is unusually tall for his age so the man thinks we cannot be making the right selection. It suddenly occurs to me that I am able to tell him what size David wears using the European system. That makes it easier; I wish I had thought to do that at the outset. I hope David is happy with number 10 because it has the name Schneijder on it. David's coaches in New Jersey are all from the Netherlands so I think finding him the Italian team he wanted with the Dutch player's name on the back should be perfect.
Martin wants pasta for lunch, and Massimo had said that the place around the corner where we had usually bought fresh pasta has closed. They had had wonderful pasta, but had not been very friendly or helpful. Every time I went in there all I could think of was soup Nazi so I cannot say I am sorry they are gone.
Instead we go to Casa di Parmigiano, where we are treated with warmth, kindness and good information. They have one type of tiny ravioli with argil and other herbs inside; all others have cheese. The counterman explains that this one might have a very little ricotta, but it would only be a very little so I take a chance on it. I also buy beautiful mozzarella di bufala, a nice chunk of a grating Pecorino and a small jar of sauce. Then we walk over to the produce market where we stop at the Santin stand, and I buy four pears two yellow and two Forelle.
At this point I am ready to return to the vaporetto; I'd planned to walk around and take photos of produce, but the long wait on my feet at the TIM store put an end to that at least for today. I actually get to sit down and wait for the vaporetto because a thoughtful man moves his packages from the seat. I do stand all the way home, which, since I have had a short rest, is fine. The aqua basso is really basso, and the poor woman "conductor" must help one elderly person after another off because step up to the pontile is so huge. I probably do her in the way the TIM store finished me off.
We stop in the bread store in the Campo San Toma, and I buy an integrale, a mixed grain and two ossi. I ask about the French nut bread and am told it is available only on Mercoledi e Sabato. Then Michela says with a smile, "Wednesday and Saturday?" I congratulate her on getting the days right in English.
Back home we read what I insist on calling the IHT but what is actually now the GNYT - Global New York Times. Then I fix lunch. I heat the sauce and add a little white wine to make sure there is enough for our pasta, which takes no time to cook. It is really delicious, and we polish it off with a shared roll.
Around 3:30 I go to lie down on the bed so I can elevate my still swollen ankles. Next thing I know it is after 5:00. Yikes! I come back into the living room to enjoy the luminous skies of late afternoon and early evening - such a beautiful time of day in May in Venice. I could be happy just sitting and watching the water change color as the sun moves behind the buildings on our side of the canal.
The gondola flotillas are out in force and the church bells are ringing. I remember we have no dinner reservations for tonight so that better be handled before places get busy with the dinner rush.
Da Ignazio was the restaurant in which we ate on the first night of our first time renting. It has had some ups and downs over the years but our recollection of our last visit was positive so we make reservations and walk over tonight. Despite their having a lovely garden we choose to eat inside to avoid the smokers.
Martin begins with prosciutto e melone; he says the melon is as good as the melon I had at Locanda Montin. My mixed vegetables of the season antipasto is a generous plate of grilled and steamed vegetables including an artichoke bottom, eggplant and peppers from the grill, and string beans, asparagus and peas that have been steamed. I have rarely seen either green peas or green beans offered in Venice, and the wonderful assortment makes a simple and delicious starter.
We are sharing the mixed grilled fish platter which is only available for two or more persons. We each get a prawn, cannocchie, a slice of Branzino and a piece of salmon so mild in flavor even I can eat it. It is not lavish, but is nicely cooked and presented. I have a small green salad with it. The salad itself is not very exciting, but the balsamico is a very good one, and the olive oil is above par too.
For his dolce, Martin has a tiramisu, and he likes this version of it; so far he has been disappointed with his forays into the world of tiramisu. Although the menu says the sgroppino is made with sorbetto, the waiter seems unwilling or unable to confirm it so I pass. When I ask for a list of their grappas, I am offered a sweet wine. What kind of Venetian restaurant does not have an assortment of grappas on hand? This is the only disappointing part of the meal.
Most of the diners seem to be Italian, and I am interested to see that most order a mezzo carafe of vino rosso no matter what they are eating. Two small ice cream bars come with the bill; this is a double treat for Martin since he gets mine.
It is a short walk home, but I go slowly; a grappa really makes walking after dinner easier. I feel like the Tin Man in need of a squirt of oil for my joints. Although da Ignazio's was fairly crowded, once we are back outside, we find it is a quiet night. We had seen many passersby while we ate, but we pass only one man on our short walk home. Usually at this time we see dog walkers if no one else.
Tomorrow we must visit Billa and stock up on necessities such a carta igenica and water because on Wednesday Sarah and Brian arrive. Once they are here we will have someone with whom to share the carrying so Martin won't have to do it all or almost all himself. We always look forward to their coming because we enjoy their company not just their carrying ability.
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