Venice is a ridiculous idea and its realization is indescribable. The throngs of tourists (including us, of course) cannot defeat the city’s basic architectural rhythm: Street, alley, passage, up a bridge, down a bridge, street, passage, open space.
And jeez are there are lot of tourists here! Even though it’s cold enough to have me buy a scarf and gloves (at surprisingly reasonable prices), the place is packed. Aside from the sheer number of people in the street, a small percentage of whom are in various revelers costumes, you’d hardly know it was Carnevale.
This morning we took the hotel’s shuttle boat to San Marco, the piazza where foolish seed-bearing tourists have their photos taken as pigeons flock around them; our children went through two bags of seed. Then we wandered. And wandered. It’s a scientifical fact that at any moment, 90% of the people in Venice are lost. The city is so confusing that even the concierge at our hotel couldn’t find some addresses. Way-finding works using the Internet routing technique: People point you to the next waypoint where you ask someone else.
We strolled and wandered all day. Venice is newly beautiful at every turn. We were driven by small goals: Find a photo store that doesn’t charge 9 euros for a roll of b&w film (try S. Lio, if you can find it, which you can’t); find a place for lunch where we could sit and eat something other than a panino or pizza (Hint: Don’t try the place we ended up where the pasta arrabiata was ok and the pommodore was not), find a gift for the girls next door who are feeding our turtles.
We staggered back to the hotel around 5pm, quaking with fatigue. The temperature had topped out at 50F and we had walked a long way. We fell into a sleep the depth but not the length of a canal, except for my wife who had been told by the synagogue in the Ghetto area that she had to come before 5:30 with her and our son’s passports if they wanted to be admitted on Saturday. So, she made her way there and back, lit candles and said prayers over a couple of local rolls.
Then we went out to dinner with Paolo and Monica Valdemarin. They took us to La Zucca (Santa Croce, 1762, phone: 041 5241570), a tiny restaurant with as many meatless dishes as ones with meat. The food was fabulous and the prices were reasonable. It was also wonderful to catch up with the Valdermarins. Thank you!
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