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 16 of 30: Mercoledi 11 Maggio 2011 - La Principessa Arriva!
Palazzo Barbarigo - 16th Century
We awaken to another warm morning; a glance out the window shows us all the traghetto passengers are in short sleeves. With the mosquito coils proving effective, we have been sleeping with the windows open, which allows the apartment to cool off during the night. We dress for a warm day, and sit outside at Ciak's to read the newspaper with our espresso.
We see a family of two boys, a girl, a father and very pregnant mother walk through the campiello three times. I had also seen them earlier when I crossed the bridge on my way to Ciak 1. They don't look distressed, worried or lost. I am tempted to ask if they need help, but there are lots of coffee drinkers and shop keepers out in the campiello as well as a couple of gondolieri so if they need help it is certain available and in a variety of languages.
Someone has brought a little dog to Ciak 1; it is a nonstop yapper. Most Venetian dogs are extremely well behaved and seem to be quite happy to wait outside of shops or sit quietly at cafe tables. I wonder if this dog is excitable or just not Venetian. Before leaving the apartment, we had seen a small red and white boat pass our window. A young man was steering it, and a dog was standing on the prow; he looked as though he were posing for the judge in a dog show, but he too was barking nonstop. Maybe there is something in the air.
I buy some bread, two ossi and a bag of breadsticks at the bakery before we walk home. While drinking our espresso, I had turned on my mobile and found a text message from Sarah but it was too bright for me to see the screen well so I want to go home and read it and respond. She must have sent it after arriving in Frankfurt, but by the time I read it, she has her phone off-because she is probably already on the flight down from Frankfurt to Venice. I finish The Lincoln Lawyer while Martin naps. Then I set out the prosciutto cotta we had bought the other day, with some mozzarella di bufala, the ossi, and sliced fresh pears. We make sandwiches so we can be ready to go to Piazzale Roma and help Sarah and Brian renew their iMobs if they need us.
As it turns out, they don't want to deal with paperwork after their very long trip - a five hour layover in Frankfurt was no help - so they decide to do what we did and buy 24 hour vaporetto passes. That will see them through tomorrow when they can go down and renew their iMobs. Before long they are here looking tired and jet lagged but happy to be back in Venice. They snack on the remnants of our lunch - actually I had bought enough with that in mind - and then after talking with us and enjoying the view for a while, they go off to nap.
It is a warm sunny day, but the vaporettos seem to be strangely empty; maybe everyone is walking. Whenever we use them, they are usually packed, but today seems quiet. Maybe it is just a midweek lull - there are even fewer gulls and the ones who are around quieter than usual. Hmmm - normally quiet dogs barking and normally screeching gulls quiet - what can this mean?
Easter was late this year so it was followed immediately by San Marco Day and then May Day, this might be a lull between holidays. Both La Sensa and the Vogalonga are in June this year because Easter was so late and La Sensa follows Easter by a set number of days, and the Vogalonga follows La Sensa. Both events always attract hordes of tourists. I go out to the garden and also stand on the dock to take some photos since the sun is really making Venice sparkle.
We walk down to al Paradiso for dinner. Sarah and Brian walk at a normal pace, and Martin and I go at my snail's pace. We find them waiting for us at the entrance of the Calle Paradiso checking out the shop windows. Giordano give us the choice of "fuori" or "dentro" and for once we choose "fuori." After some discussion amongst ourselves and with Giordano making suggestions, we are ready to order. Sarah starts with the tonno carpaccio, while I begin with the schie - baby shrimp and white polenta. Then she and I split a risotto di frutta di mare. Risotto is a real comfort food for me, and the risotto at al Paradiso is always superb. Martin has his favorite pappardelle con frutta di mare but made with a white sauce rather than the red sauce. He says it is very good, but the red sauce is still his favorite.
For his secondo he has the salmon with balsamic and miele (honey). Brian has the prawns to start and a pasta dish with shrimp for his secondo. We all indulge in a dolce. Sarah and I both have zabaglione, a favorite of ours and another comfort food for me. Martin has a torte del Nonna, an excellent apple cake with ice cream and a fruit sauce. Giordano recommended it, and we tend to follow his suggestions as he has never steered us wrong. Brian sticks with a glass of port. We are given esse du Burano and glasses of moscato along with the check. It is a very delicious dinner, and we are surprised to find we are among the last to leave the restaurant. Usually either Martin or I get restless if we linger too long at the table.
We walk home, but I find that I am very hot. There is no breeze tonight, and it is much warmer than it has been, but on the upside, my knees and ankles are working better than they have on other nights, and I want to take advantage of feeling mobile.
When we arrive back at the apartment - long after Sarah and Brian have - Sarah has a Mother's Day gift for me. It is a beautiful necklace black stones - Peridot she thinks although I always thought Peridot came in shades of green - and crystals. I am wondering if the black stones are spinel, jet, onyx or even obsidian, but whatever they are I can't wait to wear it. She also brings me a gift from Gerarda with a lovely note attached. I love it when holidays run past their official end especially when their extension brings me such lovely gifts.
After I admire the necklace, try it on and photograph it, we sit and talk for a while. Then Sarah and Brian go to bed hoping that if they go to bed at a normal bedtime in Venice they will sleep through the night from sheer exhaustion and get off to a good start on Italian time in the morning. We'll see.
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