GIna, did you fall into a canal? It was raining hard and the streets were narrow, dark and windy. The 5 euro umbrella bought in a moments desperation from a shifty looking street urchin was a bad deal and I knew it. But the rain gave him the advantage. 5 euro’s for 5 minutes … you get what you pay for which of course lead to me looking for Gina in the canal. We were just about to head off to Murano – home of world famous glass blowing. No such luck. 1.5 meter swells in the lagoon and images of news flashes about small passenger boats sinking with tourists desperate to get glass trinkets was enough to put off even the most desperate tourist seek shelter with a nice glass of wine. Which is exactly what we were trying to do. Back to the umbrella for 5 euro’s. One puff of wind and it was toast. Not even good to cover my poor head from the liquid onslaught. Must have been in return for us making fun of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Half blind, by rain on my glasses and a miserable broken umbrella flapping in my face, we retreated back to the hotel. Somewhere along the way I looked back and there was no Gina. Not good to lose Gina in a canal. She would be cranky and her mom would be really cranky. I spun around and started to backtrack. From one of the gusts, came her dulcet voice – Bryan – get your ass over here. She had gotten in front of me somehow. I caught up quickly. Just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse – the sirens began again. Not good. For those of you who have been to Venice before you know what they mean. Its time for your rubber boots! Yup, when they talk about the flooding in Venice, you might think its a random thing. Wrong. Twice a day. Do they warn tourists about it. No, not a chance.
So, what do you do. Yup, strip down and wander through the streets naked. Just kidding – Off come the shoes and socks and you end up walking through the water back to your hotel. You’re already soaked so it doesn’t really much matter. Enough of this, lets talk about food from last night.
Wandering around the Piazza San Marco, we were gobsmacked. Full on gobsmacked. We’ve seen some of the biggest and best the world has to offer. This blew us away. Started in 1050, this amazing square is enough to take your breath away. One could write an entire blog or book on this place. Its grandeur was simply beyond words. It of course worked up a decent appetite. The hotel concierge suggested any place behind our hotel and definitely not anything near San Marco … too touristy. Our random walk back towards the hotel took us past a little hole in the wall place that you couldn’t find with a gps if you were trying. They had the catch of the day proudly on display in the window. As it turned out the chef would walk out, fetch something from it, show you what he was about to cook, and then cook it. Pretty amazing overall. By now, we’ve figured out that you simply cannot do an appy, a first, a second and a desert. Not to mention a bottle or two of vino and a couple of capachino’s. So we are down to a shared appy and either a first or a second each – the portions seem to be the same (huge). Tonight was no exception. We ordered the scampi risotto creama. OMG. Yup, Gina, queen of risotto, needs to master this one. It was also smothered in truffles – just like they were a condiment. Not that I’m complaining. Sublime. Truly sublime. This was followed by fresh sea bass. Gina had the grilled and I had the baked with olives and potatoes. They were cooked perfectly and the young lady did a great job showing us her skills at removing the bones, heads and tails. She did miss a few bones, which is easy to do. They are tiny and amazingly sharp. I punctured my gum with one of them. Just like a sewing needle. You want to pay attention when eating this stuff – a mistake could be fatal.
Desert – yes we were tempted and it was also fabulous. Gina had creme caramel. A delightful and uber soft version of this near perfect desert. Mine was a chocolate cake that paled in comparison to the caramel.
Gina’s Update….fall into a canal? Just trying to get out of the rain and not giggle too much while Bryan fought with his umbrella. The dinner was delightful and the risotto worth replicating. The Piazza San Marco was amazing and the hotel….well I felt like I was sleeping in a museum. The ceilings are 24 feet high and there is enough marble in this place to start a store. We are staying in a suite which overlooks the canal. Two balconies out onto the water which conjures up images described in century old tales. Bryan has been fascinated by the doors and the doorknobs which has resulted in sudden stops to photograph brass lion-headed door knockers and the like. I, on the other hand, have been mastering local customs and drink….SPREETZ….Aperol (orange liqueur) with Prosecco and a splash of soda water, orange wedge and a green olive. Served anytime of the day. I do LOVE Italy.