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 29 of 30: Martedi 24 Maggio 2011 - Tomorrow It Will Be Here but I Won't
Detail of Ca' d'Oro Facade
When we wake up, the apartment feels pleasantly cool, but by the time we leave for Ciak's for coffee, it is already 80 so we are obviously in for another very hot day. It is our last chance to sit outside and have espresso, kiefers and read the paper so we grab a table in the shade away from any visible smokers and settle down for a while. Maria Teresa comes along and goes in for her morning coffee. She stops to say good-bye and wish us a safe trip home - just in case we do not see one another later today. I really would like more time to study the new things she has acquired, but between the heat, my innate laziness which the heat exacerbates and the dreaded unmentionable (AKA packing), I might not make it.
I go in to pay and use the lady's room, but there is a line. Martin has already gone home because I had hoped to walk around and say some good-byes. I have to buy bread, which I do first, and as it turns out, it is really difficult to walk carrying two small rolls known as ossi in a paper sack, the camera, my shoulder bag and my stick. It is mainly because the rolls just barely fit into the sack, which leaves me nothing to grab; I have to sort of cradle the bag. This is admirable from a not wasting paper point of view, but a nuisance when you want free hands to hold and focus a camera.
After trying to step into two shops with a high steps and narrow doors, I find having no free hand is too much to deal with so I walk home. Martin usually wears a vest with pockets into which he can tuck smaller bags and articles leaving his hand - and mine - free.
We decide to take our farewell boat ride before packing, because if we pack first we will miss the early afternoon window when the vaporettos are not too crowded. We are lucky; a two comes in right away and we are able to find seats outside on stern. We take the Numero Due all the way around to San Giorgio, the stop before San Zaccaria, which is the last stop.
We get off to admire the lovely Palladian Church, take photos and wait for the same #2 that brought us here us to turn around and start it's return trip. They don't let you stay on at San Zaccaria now that the vaporettos don't leave from the same place they dock, because you have to re-swipe your iMob card. In the past, before everything was electronic, if you asked nicely and showed that you had a monthly pass or a ten trip carnet, they'd usually let you stay on board at San Zaccaria and also at the Lido.
On San Giorgio there is only one pontile, so Martin just swipes our cards, while I take pictures, and we are ready by the time the vaporetto returns. This time we find empty seats in the front. I take over 100 photos on this single roundtrip, but it is the first time I have had such good seats for the round trip, and the first time we've had seats in front with no one blocking our view.
I am particularly pleased to capture the "Non nobis" sign carved in stone in front of the Palazzo Vendramin Calergi. The words refer to a phrase associated with the Knights Templar, "Non Nobis Dominus' Non Nobis sed nomini tuo da gloria." Not for us Lord, but for the glory of your name.
The palazzo was built for Andrea Loredan, who is believed to be one of those who tried to carry on the Templar Heritage and made the phrase the Loredan family motto. Mauro's Codussi designed the huge palazzo in 1509. Several centuries later, Richard Wagner died there in rooms he was renting.
The Palazzo now houses the Casino of Venice, but the Wagner Museum on the upper floor has tours on Saturday mornings during which you can see the Wagner memorabilia including furniture and personal belongings as well sheet music, posters and costume designs donated by La Fenice from their collection just days before the horrific fire of 29 January 1996. Had they not been so generous everything they gave this small museum would have been lost too.
I hate to leave the vaporetto at San Toma, but I do. Even the short walk from the vaporetto leaves me too sweaty to do more than drink water for quite a while. Then we each have an ossi with a little jam and more water and call it lunch. It is time to tackle the dreaded unmentionable. It is not as bad as it often is, mainly because I have brought less clothing and bought far fewer gifts.
The dreaded unmentionable task completed, I find we actually can log into Venice connected. We've been having problems with the WiFi for a couple of days. We both check our e-mail, and I see that several e-mails I have written that did not go out when I first wrote them have finally been sent.
We watch the end of day life on the canal: workboats heading home - some with men sitting wearily on crates or pallets: others are carrying men who are joking and laughing. Business men, professionally dressed in suits and ties, sit in small boats with outboard motors, briefcases by their side steering a straight course along the water, and there are several families with young children just having a pleasure trip at the end of the day.
Amongst all these watercraft are various types of police boats, water taxis, vaporettos and, of course, gondolas traveling singularly or in flotillas. Somehow the traghetto successfully threads its way through this living maze trip after trip. At times we hear the blast of a horn or a voice raised in anger when someone has not respected the role of the canal such as giving gondolas and the traghetto precedence, but for the most part the voices we hear are calling out friendly greetings, having animated conversations, or come from tour guides giving their clients information about what they are passing.
We walk down to the vaporetto at the same time as our Australian neighbors, who have stayed on after Shannon and Kim's Grape Hops tour. Today they'd had a big lunch on Murano and are looking for a snack to tide them over until tomorrow. We've been there and done that on more than one occasion, but this is our last night and we want a feast.
We also pass some of our upstairs neighbors who always great us warmly. We often meet them in the courtyard or the calle and they are friendly although we rarely linger in conversation. We manage to get outside seats on the Numero Uno so we can really enjoy the trip down to Ca d'Oro It is still very hot, but when the vaporetto is moving, it is pleasant. At Fontego we learn Lolo is not in tonight, but his lovely wife is, and we have our first chance to chat with her. Like Lolo, she is charming and vivacious. We opt to sit inside where there is air conditioning so we are sublimely comfortable while we dine. We are also immediately brought water and chilled Prosecco both of which taste heavenly and refresh us.
We order identical meals: a combination of canestrelli, which are small scallops, and regular scallops - all grilled; they make a simple but elegant beginning. Then we both have the Pesce San Pietro which comes with succulent and tender tiny pink shrimp and a fine julienne of zucchini which does amazing things by adding both flavor and color to the already perfect San Pietro and shrimp.
We drink a mezzo of excellent white with our dinner. We pass on dessert but have a last glass of the awesome moscato Rosso to which Lolo had introduced us; we are generously offered refills which we happily accept. All too soon, we realize it is time to leave this excellent and congenial restaurant and walk back to the vaporetto. As we walk I try to imprint this scene on my brain because it will have to last a long time.
It is still very warm, and we are grateful the vaporetto is not one of those insanely crowded ones such as the #1 which pulled in first, heading in the opposite direction. At this hour there are usually more people heading towards the Ferrovia, Piazzale Roma and Tronchetto than there are heading towards San Marco, but there have been many times when both sets of vaporetto are be completely full.
Both on the vaporetto and on the walk home we comment on how many people have their windows open and are sitting outside. I don't think I have ever seen the inside of so many apartments. It is reassuring to know we are not the only ones who find this weather hot. I love the glimpses of chandeliers, art, ceilings and family life we get to see when the windows are open.
When we reach our apartment there are a few final chores and then it is off to bed. We set the alarm since we will be rising earlier than we have been although, in truth, on departure day we are always up before the alarm goes off. One last night in Venice and the in the morning we start the trek home. Ciao Venezia; hello real world.
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