Friday, March 30, 2012

Lost in Venice!


Venice is a never-ending maze onarrow passageways and winding  side streets. One can quite easily meander into a trance-like state only to find themselves completely and utterly lost in the beauty of this floating city.  We arrived at the train station a little tired, but eager to find a hotel and our first taste of the venetian cuisine. 

     A very short twenty-four hours to explore and fill our senses and bellies with as much cultural nourishment as Venice had to offer; made all the shorter when factoring in the time spent deciphering the map. We decided upon a small "Locando" found by chance down a side street. It had a lovely roof terrace where we had our first glass of vino to fortify ourselves before heading out.  As I was keeper of the camera, I eagerly set to capturing as much of our surroundings as my little Olympus could hold. Several stops for a Spritz here, a vino and cicchetti there. 

During the day, navigating Venice was a simple matter of mental landmarks. "Map, shmap. Easy peasy," I said. The shop with the quills and inkwells here. The violin maker on the corner. Sometimes that landmark was a poodle or mutt, but no matter. My navigation system worked great... until nightfall. When the shops shuttered their windows and the doggies went home, we were lost! That's when keeper of the map had the toughest job as many of the smaller streets were not listed.  

In my mind, getting lost is part of the fun. Knowing that at any time you can simply utter the magic word and be found again is comforting. That magic word is "Taxi" and it works the same in almost any language and country. One is never lost when home is just a taxi cab ride away, right? BUT... in Venice, that word can cost you 100 or more and there's still the matter of finding your way back from the Vaporreti station. Whoops. Ok so with that revelation, the keeper of the map was not so happy with me or my system. Somehow, we did find a restaurant still serving dinner. We had fantastic seafood risotto and found our way back eventually. The next day, we awakened refreshed and ready for more Venice. After a little pastry and cafe  we checked out of our locanda. They offered to hold our small bag until later that afternoon. Perfecto! 

We made our way to the Rialto fish and produce market. It was amazing! I've never seen a market more beautifully displayed. Ocean creatures of every sort. Squid in ink, fish of every color. Grandmas vying for the fishmonger's attentions, cash waving in the air.  I snapped more photos of fish and produce at the market than gondolas. Food is my thing  and this market was my heaven! I longed for a kitchen, my favourite chef's knife and some more time, but the clock kept ticking.  

We left the market (reluctantly on my part) and happened upon a quaint restaurant, Cantina Do Mori. We had unknowingly saved the best meal for last as this is the oldest restaurant in all of Venice. We had a lovely carafe of house wine. Pasta e Vongnole for Gary and the Seppie Col Nero Con Polenta for me. So delicious. Definitely a meal to remember. 

Feeling  rather proud of ourselves for finding such a great hidden gem, we made a wrong turn on the way back to our hotel and once again were lost in the maze. A ten minute walk turned into over an hour of switchbacks.  Somehow we made it to the station in time for our train back to Milan. Twenty-four hours was not nearly enough time to see it all. I have a feeling we'll return someday soon.  Ciao Venezia! Until next time.