If you combine the heat wave rolling through Europe with the fact that there are buildings with narrow streets (aka no air movement) and water all around you, you are asking for a hot mess.
I got up with Wilson and we went and found the Bakery de Jour down from the place we were staying at (Dal Conte Dolce & Salato) before the rest of the tourists got up, and picked out some baked goods for breakfast.
We grabbed a couple of croissants, a Kranz (recipe here, here, or here), and a Fonarina al Cioccoloto (this was incredible but I can’t find the recipe anywhere!!! I am on the hunt!!! Plus if anyone has the recipe it would be greatly appreciated!). We brewed some coffee in the Mozo and headed off to explore before it got too hot.
Basically, we went out into Venice and got lost for the day. The place is a maze of narrow alleyways, dead end corridors, and small piazzas that don’t really have any logic to how the place was laid out. So, other than using the HereWeGo maps, we had to remember what stores we passed by and in what sequence we passed them by in order to get back home. We remember seeing an episode of the Amazing Race in Venice, and this would be a big challenge as they had to deliver suitcases from a water taxi to a hotel. You totally could get lost, both on your way to your destination and back to where you were going to start.
There were some interesting points about Venice that we noted everywhere. The lion is the patron of Venice, so there are lions everywhere, and flags (as we were told) that had a lion holding a book was a sign of war. Those were everywhere, but I didn’t see any war anywhere.
Venice is well known for their masks and period ball dress that they wear for Carnivale. Kind of like a fancy Italian Mardi Gras. No boob flashing here as they would have to undo their corsettes and get out of their fancy dresses to do so. Not much of a surprise kind of display that happens in New Orleans. Haha!
We stumbled upon the local hospital, which was opulent with marble floors and pillars, a large cathedral inside (the whole place used to be a religious building), and beautiful courtyards sprinkled throughout the inside of the structure. Maybe I will see if the Huntsville hospital will put up some marble pillars at the entrance, but maybe a couple of tree trunks to keep with the Muskoka theme…haha. Muskoka isn’t really a marble kind of place… We found the oncology clinic, and saw the Venetian ambulances and the ambulance bay, right on the water. We even saw an ambulance heading out with their sirens and lights a blazing… cool!
We made it down to Santa Marco Piazza where there were evil pigeons by the hundreds, and the basillica in all its glory. The mosaic murals on the outside were incredible, I can only imagine what the inside looked like. The line to go in was too long to even consider going it.
As it was a nice day, and we knew that rain was coming, we decided to take our gondola ride which is a must in Venice. Like taking a yellow cab in New York…it is just something you have to do.
Our cabbie, or gondalier, was not the kind of guy to sing opera like I thought they might off…rather he gave us a brief tour while he had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. This is where you close your eyes and get the foggy mirage about what you see in the movies…. Here is a Ventian traffic jam…haha. Turn signals are the gondaliers yelling something out in Italian and the sound bounces off the walls and around the corners.
We picked up a couple of interesting tips…like it takes a year to get your gondola license, and you can only own one gondola at a time.
The canals are 2m deep, and you don’t want to swim in the water. It looked clean, but I can only imagine.
We got out after our ride and round a little fountain tap that we topped up our water bottles with and dunked our heads under to cool off. That was a nice reprieve as there were no fountains or spurting water jets to run through.
I will leave part of the story for today out for Deb to inform you of, but needless to say, she and Lulu are very lucky women…
We all headed back to the apartment where Wilson, the chef, and I, his sous chef, made an Italian dinner of farfalle al diavola while Italian opera was playing in the kitchen and we had a bit of vino (as every good chef has when they are cooking). It was very good, but spicy, and the women loved their meals prepared by their pseudo-Itaian-for-the-day men.