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Published: September 27th 2008
Venice has captured our hearts. When the daytrippers have gone for the evening, the cafe life becomes more prominent with full tables and chairs outside the ristorante, and clusters of merrymakers congregating outside the bars, with glasses ( & cigarettes) in their hands. The calle & fondamenta (streets) and campo or piazza (squares) can take on an eerie feel after dark. Not that you feel insecure. You don't. But the sound of your solitary footsteps on the basalt flagstones echoes down narrow alleys, and light globes shine dimly above anonamous doorways. Its quite cool in the evenings now. Temps vary from about 10 degrees and reaching 21 degrees during the afternoons so we are rugging up against the evening breezes. Of course that has meant doing some shopping for winter woolies since we packed for the end of summer, not a Queensland winter, which is what it feels like at the moment.
In the two full days that we have had to explore Venice we have checked off another couple of lifes "must dos" such as having a beer while watching the world walking and sailing by from our cafe on San Marco. Sitting in the Cafe Florian, sipping a
wine and watching the orchestra playing 'Volare'. Standing thru every song from Sound of Music as played by another band on the other side of San Marco after dinner at 11:00 pm. A gondola ride that glided us under the Rialto Bridge, out onto the Grand Canal, and back into the quiet canals at dusk. Watching the local kids kicking their football across the pavement in a quiet piazza after school in the afternoon, while locals strode purposefully toward unknown destinations. Sipping our €2.00 glasses of biancho vini, surrounded by tables of cigarette puffing youths, guzzling vino and playing cards in Campo Santa Margherita on Friday afternoon.
We thought that we were going to have a gastronomic couple of nights in Bologna, known in Italy as la Grasse, or 'the fat', but in fact one cafe where we orderd spagetti Bolognase and lasagne was very disappointing when we realised that the meal was a prepacked frozen dish "microwaved to your liking"
In Venice however, Superbo !! We ate in one tiny ristorante two nights running because it was such a great experience. The food was great and cheap by Venician standards, & on both nights we had to
share our table with other diners due to the popularity of the place. Lunch on Friday was pizza from a real pizza bar where the chef was having trouble keeping up with demand from the passing trade at the front counter, as well as the dine-in crowd that filled the 4' x 10' eating area. You stood shoulder to shoulder with the other patrons with only a narrow counter around the wall to rest your pizza slice and drink on. A slice was €2.50, it was big, hot & fresh.
Some parts of Venice are busy and some are very quiet backwaters. We have enjoyed the contrast and felt very contect and happy here. We have even been strolling along for hours absorbing the atmosphere( and cigarette smoke) rather than striding out at our usual break-neck pace. We now have a 4 hour train ride ahead of us to our next destination, Como.
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