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 28 of 30: Lunedi 23 Maggio 2011 - The Days Dwindle Down
Window View of the Canal in May
As soon as we wake up, we can tell it is going to be a hot day. We go up to Ciak 1 and take advantage of its not being too hot yet, and there being empty chairs in the shade, and we have our coffee outside. Usually there is a breeze in the Campiello, but not this morning.
Some days it is a battle to read because of the way the wind keeps blowing and tugging at the paper. Today we read the paper without any rustling pages; we could just as well be inside except it is far more interesting and fun to be sitting outside. We do pay double to sit out and be served, but we enjoy it so much that for us it is worth it.
The dogs alone make it fun although this morning's lot seems to be unusually subdued; maybe the heat is getting to them too or maybe it is just Monday morning syndrome. We do see a golden Retriever, and the pair of delicate, lean high velocity looking dogs who may be young greyhounds or possibly whippets, and several shaggy little terrier types. There always seem to be a lot of dogs, especially in this part of Venice who share a small frame, a beautiful red fox color coat and curly tails which may or may not mean they are all related.
We walk down to the Billa and pick up some fresh pasta for lunch. I don't have much left with which to make a sauce - just a container of Pomi, a nub of good cheese, a swallow of wine, a shred of salami and a lemon whose zest can brighten up the flavor. I also have some dried rosemary that was fresh rosemary a few weeks ago.
On the way home, we stop in Karisma, and I spend the last of Gerarda's unique Mother's Day gift to me. I buy a plaque of Il Leone da Venezia; it is stunningly covered in gold leaf. I have been eyeing it since we arrived. Dimitri has such beautiful wares in his store - unusual, decorative, always well made and often handmade. If the exchange rate were better, I would have left with a huge sack and not just a parcel.
When I get home, I finish the book I was reading so I can leave it behind, and then fix lunch. The pasta sauce I have concocted works wells on the fresh tagliatelle. It isn't exactly a feast, but it is too hot to eat much anyway. The thermometer says the room is 84.5 degrees and that is with all the windows open a situation which, at this time of day, almost always guarantees a cooling breeze. At home I would have the air conditioning running.
I finish another book that Sarah has left - this one is called Buffalo West Wing and is one of a series of mysteries about a woman who is the White House Chef. It is light and entertaining and would make good airplane reading. I have one other book and the iPad with its Kindle app. for the plane.
We decide to go out and do errands. I will buy chocolate and Martin will take care of other chores. Vizio Virtu is not only air conditioned, it smells heavenly. I wonder if they would let me spend the night if I promised only to inhale and not to ingest. I buy chocolates for everyone on my list. For most I choose every chocolate individually since I know some people would appreciate the more unusual flavors while others have an aversion or allergy to nuts or simply prefer more traditional or safe flavors. Martin meets me and carries the chocolate home while I walk up to Mauro's shop. It is a great system; I buy and he carries - teamwork!
Mauro's mother is also in the shop and that is lucky for me because I want to buy Eva Sofia some earrings. Since she is only three with tiny ear lobes, I can't buy many of the earrings on display because they are too big for a three year-old's ears. I don't have pierced ears and do not wear clip-on earrings so Mauro's mother is very helpful in selecting the best size, shape and color for a three year-old girl. I buy two different pairs with pink glass because pink is her favorite color, and one pair of blue glass blue which is Lorena's favorite color and which will bring out the blue in Eva Sofia's eyes.
Earlier we had passed a splendid white poodle whose head was trimmed in gorgeous blue bows. He moved majestically through the calles like the star he was, but I was too slow to in a good position to take his photo. Now as I pass Maria Teresa's shop, Sabbbie e Nebbie, I notice that she has a customer - or perhaps a friend - who is accompanied by a huge gorgeously shaggy dog and again I am too slow. He stretches and moves away from the door before I can capture his image.
By the time I reach home I am drenched in sweat. I show Martin the earrings I bought and collapse on the couch and blanket myself in ice packs. I metaphorically tip my hat to those intrepid travelers who brave Venice not to mention points south like Rome, Naples and Sicily when it is 20 or 30 degrees hotter than today. The little thermometer says the room is 88.5, and we decide to try the air conditioning again, which either doesn't work or doesn't work well.
Dinner tonight is at al Paradiso where I am sure we will both indulge in Giordano's wonderful pappardelle con frutta di mare. It may be almost too hot to eat, but it is our next to last night in Venice.
It is still very hot when we leave for dinner; even on the vaporetto platform, there is not a hint of a breeze. A Numero Uno pulls at the time a Numero Due is scheduled. Much confusion ensues; even the pilot/captain/driver comes out of his cabin and seems to want confirmation that he is following the route of a Numero Uno. An explanation of sorts is given, but then we sail blithely by San Angelo even while automatic recording announces, "Prossima Fermata San Angelo."
There are a lot of very confused passengers, and a few really upset ones. We are relieved when we pull into San Silvestro as scheduled; I was definitely not looking forward to hiking over the Rialto Bridge in this heat while wearing nice going out to dinner clothes.
Giordano welcomes us with hugs and we are ushered inside where there is air conditioning! It is interesting that everyone eating inside is American. Usually al Paradiso has a mix of people from different English speaking countries, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, other Asian countries and, of course Italy. Maybe they all like this hot weather. The Americans are all very happy to be cool.
We start with our favorite pasta, the pappardelle con frutta di mare; it is a lovely dish; a light red sauce gently coats the homemade pasta and it is full or mussels, clams, shrimp and other goodies. We drink the house white, a lovely Pino Bianco.
For our secondo, we have both lamb chops with balsamico and an assortment of grilled vegetables. The plate is attractive, and it is always lovely to have vegetables with your entree because here it is more common to have to order them as a contorno. We pass on dessert and settle very happily for a glass of fragolino bianco and esse di buranelle. We say goodbye to Giordano and tell him we hope to see him next spring. "Don't hope he says; be here."
As we walk back to the vaporetto, we pass the Church of San Silvestro. Their choir is rehearsing, and their floating across the darkened campo seemingly out of the blue - or black - create one of those magical Venetian moments that we have enjoyed more than once this trip.
Once again the #1 bypasses San Angelo. I had spotted yellow notices posted on the San Silvestro platform; they probably announced the change in schedule and maybe even gave the reason. At least this time I am not punished for my laziness in not walking over to read the signs. When we pass San Angelo we can see that some sort of construction work is going on there which is probably the reason for the stop being skipped.
The canal seems unusually quiet tonight; there are not many boats out and almost no gondolas, but there are plenty of people in the calles. I am glad when we reach our building because, I can change my "going out to dinner" clothing for something cooler, and remove the compression stockings I have to wear to sit barelegged while I write and read. All too soon I will be home with ceiling fans and air conditioning galore and missing Venice.
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