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 24 of 30: Giovedi 19 Maggio 2011 - Time for a Spritz!
The Aperol Line Up at Ciak's
A warm sunny day greets us when we open the curtains. It seems to be a very busy day. The vaporettos are already packed, and it is a challenge just to make it through the foot traffic to reach Ciak's. The calle's are packed and people are actually waiting in line to cross the little bridge that leads to the Campiello San Toma. We thread our way through a horde of other customers to reach the bar. Today we down our espresso, wolf down our kiefers, pay the tab, and leave to make room for others.
We walk up to Campo San Polo so I can buy stamps for the post cards I have written. Once again we must thread our way through the throngs, who seem to be constantly moving in both directions. When I reach the Post Office, the line is very long, and the post office is very hot so by the time it is my turn we are both rather grumpy. Standing in line is very not good for my body and when I start to hurt, my mood darkens rapidly.
It is a shock to find out that it is now €1.6 just for postage. Add in the cost of the cards and it is over $2.00 to buy and send a post card. I used to send fifteen or more post cards each week. I'd write one to each of our children every day, to our parents every second or third day and to close friends about once a week. Then there would be a whole collection of one card people. Now this is going to be it. The unexpectedly high cost of postage makes me wish I'd thought to check it out before buying any cards at all.
It is surprisingly hot. I suggest sitting in the Campo San Polo to read the paper, but Martin prefers to go home. He doesn't even want to wait while I go to the farmacia, and he doesn't want me to go alone because he knows the bridge over the San Polo Canal is difficult for me. I see a future with no Rame Oro Argento in it for me, but it is not worth an argument especially after Martin had had to wait so long for me to spend a small fortune on francobolli. As we walk down our Calle, we meet Sarah and Brian who are walking up it; they are starting out even later than we did. We also meet Lucia, who asks us if she can come to our apartment and take the “little something” if we are not using it. I am not sure what it is she wants, but I understand enough to realize it has something to do with a baby, and there will be no babies saying with us so I say sure. The little something turns out to be a tiny fold out bed for an infant; it is so small it fits into a sack.
The vaporettos are still crowded with exuberant schoolchildren. They are fun to watch, but perhaps less fun to travel around with because they all seem to be yelling, clapping, waving and even singing. The traghetto is also crowded with both regulars and school groups. Not many tours seem to take advantage of the traghetto to cross the canal. It is inexpensive, a bit of an adventure, and unless the lines are very long, it is quick and easy on the legs. Flotilla after flotilla of gondolas are passing by our windows; usually they don't start until well into the afternoon, but they are out early today. Somehow the gondolieri knew today was going to be a busy day. Probably the tour leaders notify them, but I prefer to think they have a mysterious source of information.
Sarah and Brian have come back and sit with us for a while, but then Sarah goes out alone for a slice of pizza for lunch; Martin finishes the leftover pasta, and Brian doesn't seem to want to eat at all. I finish the French nut bread and creamy goat cheese. Sarah and I had planned to go shopping, but her bad back is really hurting her today. It always hurts her but today it is unusually bad so she'll probably take a pain pill and sleep.
Despite various half-baked plans, I never do go out. I window watch and write. At 7:00 we are meeting K and N for drinks at Ciak's. Martin and I walk up; Sarah and Brian promise to meet us in time for us to go to dinner at Locanda Montin. They are down to their last two meals. When I called a few days ago, Alle Testiere, to which we had really want to go and go with them, was "completo" for both sittings on the next two nights. I know it is small, and has only two seatings, but most restaurants have not been that crowded and I thought three or four days in advance on a week night would work. Big mistake.
Al Paradiso is also booked solid. Sarah and Brian had wanted to save al Fontego for their last meal in Venice but we wind up deciding to go there on Friday and then to Birraria on Saturday. Since Sarah and Brian want to eat early and then walk to the Piazzale Roma to get a taxi cab for the trip from Venice to a hotel near the airport for their obscenely early flight, this should work out well.
We enjoy talking with K and N over spritzes and Prosecco. We had missed the Slow Trav GTG yesterday because all of us were feeling ill with different minor ailments and didn't want to risk giving our germs to our friends especially when everyone is traveling. Martin feels fine tonight; Sarah's problem now is her back, and we think my cough is from the smoke emanating from mosquito coils, sitting outside with K and N seems relatively safe in terms of not spreading germs.
Sarah and Brian show up in plenty of time for us to catch the vaporetto that will drop us at Ca Rezzonico for a leisurely walk to the Locanda. Tonight everyone is being seated in the garden. I find the garden beautiful but the chairs very are uncomfortable for me. Martin asks if they can bring me out an "indoor" chair. The waiter not only brings out an inside chair, but two cushions as well. A girl could get used to this sort of treatment.
Martin, Sarah and Brian all start with the lasagna, and I begin with prosciutto and melon. Martin who has had lasagna several times this trip actually gives top points to the one he had at Ca Foscari al Canton. Sarah and Brian say theirs is good but not fabulous. My prosciutto and melon is a good starter for a warm night, and the portion is a nice size-not too much and the melon lasts as long as the prosciutto or vice versa.
Martin has the vitello al limone and a side of the castraure - the whole baby artichokes that are only in season for a few weeks in the spring. He enjoys his dish - good quality veal and a rich lemony sauce. Sarah, Brian and I have the filleto di bue al ferro guarnita which means that the grilled steak is accompanied by an assortment of grilled vegetables. Sarah and Brian order their meat medium and find it overcooked. They are not happy about it. I order mine al sangue, and it is perfect. I am surprised that the medium orders were over done; it is always easier to cook a steak a bit more than to try to "uncook" it. In fact I have never found a method by which I could uncook an overdone steak.
The grilled vegetables are an assortment of peppers, mushrooms and eggplant accompanied by a small dollop of spinach. We drink a 2008 Rosso di Montalcino from Rio Cassero, which is a lovely wine but priced at about €20 more than it has been elsewhere. Brian and Sarah are disappointed in Locanda Montin. They were not thrilled with their lasagna and were upset their steak was so overcooked. Brian says he thinks the prices on the wine list are outrageous, but at least we are only charged for what we order and not for any extra bottles. We all pass on dessert, and Sarah and Brian decide to walk home.
On the way to the vaporetto Martin stops at Grom's in Campo San Barnaba for a Nutella Gelato; despite having heard raves about this place, he is unimpressed because the chocolate is all mixed together with the gelato and not swirled through as it is at Mille Voglie. While we wait for a vaporetto, we see a long, long procession of water taxis; they must be doing some sort of night tour of Venice as they travel in one long column and are all filled with passengers.
We squeeze ourselves onto a #1 grateful that we only have to ride for one stop because there is just barely room for us on the deck. At San Toma we get off and make our way through the Campo and Campiello and down the long Calle to our home away from home. Once we are through the campiello and heading down our calle, there are no more people to dodge, and we enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Palazzo Tiepoletto.
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