The Literary Tour Guide, with whom I am traveling to Venice, insists on taking a coffee break at the Marco Polo airport when we arrive. Taking Luggage To The Hotel By Bus Is The Most Painful Part Of The Trip. She says. So. First. You. Have. Coffee. Recognizing the determined set of her face, knowing better than to argue, I comply.
But oh what coffee. And rectangles of pizza; and square-shaped calzone. I see sprigs of rosemary, slices of Serrano ham, grilled zucchini. Don’t even get me started on the pastries.
And so begins our vacation in Venice.
We float to our hotel on The Lido via vaporetto, Venice’s water bus, which I have dubbed The People’s Gondola. Fifteenth century pale terracotta facades with ravaged shutters; pillared mansions teetering over water, and domes of churches float by.
Once we check into our hotel it’s snack time again. The Literary Tour Guide and I like to eat every few hours. We find a mediocre restaurant where even the most banal of salade nicoises sings with fresh sweet baby tomato, anchovy, and gorgeous arugula. I have peach gelato with flavours as rounded and sensual as summer. A delicatessan down the road from our hotel is arrayed with exquisite salads, meats, and cheeses.
The Blue-eyed Stranger asked me recently, How. Do. You. Indulge. Yourself. (I had just told her about yet another pair of delectable shoes I hadn’t purchased).
A slow stroll along narrow Venetian streets as the sun begins to set.
A simple appetizer of warm cooked shrimp, calamari and sardines coated in olive oil and lemon.
A stolen jazz concert at a café on St Mark’s Square: we can’t afford the 8 Euro coffee so we install ourselves further down the arcade, eat Italian chocolate and talk about our mothers, our work, and the next day’s art excursion, as rain drizzles down, illuminating ancient cobblestones.