Veging in Venice

Friday, September 28, 2018 Permalink

I mentioned in a recent post that I’d had a few places in mind when I eventually made it to Italy. Venice was never one… though there was that seen in the 1979 movie, A Little Romance.

Anyhoo, when planning the trip I threw it in at the last minute as everyone said it offered something a bit different.

And amazingly, it’s actually been one of my favourite places (though admittedly I’ve said that about almost everywhere!). 

I should mention I had a crappy day getting TO Venice… In fact I’ll pause here if you’ve not yet heard about my fall from grace the train steps.

Anyhoo… that ended as I arrived at my Venice accommodation which was everything I’d hoped for.

Frighteningly I’d had a call earlier in the day to tell me the toilet was blocked in the room I’d booked but that they were upgrading me for free to a ‘better’ room. That worried me a little as this was the first time I’d used Airbnb and I knew the room I’d booked had a bath. (I’ve been over two weeks without a bath[tub] and I miss my baths! Plus after the aforementioned fall from grace the train steps, soaking in a bath would have been delightful!)

The palazzo was just as it’s pictured on the Airbnb site, which was an excellent start. I’m a bit murky on the details but they rent out rooms to help with some art project. My new room was amazing…. incredibly high ceilings and ornate decor – the new stuff matching the old stuff. In fact it had the kinds of doors you see in period dramas on TV. (Making up for the lack of bathtub in my new room!)

There’s a shared dining space (though not sure anyone dines there) which overlooks the canals so you can see (and hear) the gondolas going by. We were very literally ‘right on the river’. Or canal. Anyway, the whole building was amazing and either being restored or at least kept in beautiful condition. I think the guy who met me mentioned something about the 1400s but I wasn’t sure. It might have been the 1700s…. either way, a long time ago.

The reviews I’d read on Airbnb talked about living like a local. And it’s true. Albeit one from several centuries ago, but with plumbing and electricity and upmarket bathroom fittings.

Anyway…. because of my inability to move about much (refer to aforementioned topple off the train steps!) my plans for Venice changed. I’d actually done minimal research but the whole – two nights in each place thing (leaving one day of touristing and a day of travel to the next place) was getting a bit old, so I made a conscious decision in Venice to just ‘be’.

After my late afternoon arrival I hobbled around the streets near my palazzo and it seemed far more logical in its layout than Florence (ie. I did not get lost). I came upon several plazas / squares and a stack of fabulous looking restaurants.

I ended up choosing one (Ristorante La Feluca) solely based on the mention of gluten-free options on their menu and – after way too many carbs lately – decided I should have the steak. And in all honesty it was kinda disappointing.

Steak with parmigiana and pepper. Served on a bed of greens. I didn’t order a side dish because I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat it all… plus the steak was 30Euro (which is translating as about AUD55). So…. not cheap. Of course they’ve shoved me out of the way so I was determined to eke my meal out and had a prosecco beforehand and a chianti during / after.

The wine prices were fine but it was the first time I’d really come across the 12% service tax. A lot of places have a ‘cover charge’ (for water and bread I guess). Interestingly I noticed in Venice (and now less so in Rome) people tend to stand and dine (or take their coffee) at counters and wonder if that’s to negate the service / table tax. I remember experiencing something similar in Portugal a couple of decades ago.

On my ‘full’ day I was up earlyish as planned (I’m mostly having early nights on this trip) and decided I would potter about on the water buses (what we would call ferries). They traverse the main waterways as would ummm… ferries.

Of course because of we tourists they’re packed; though I was out and about early again so missed most of them.

Like a good European I returned to my accommodation for a siesta (and to write my blog post about the steps). And then I was out and about again. More exploring and it was a bit more like Sorrento… I could essentially wander up and down cross streets and take detours without getting too lost.

I found a little out of the way place (Wine Bar Teamo) for an early gluten-free tortellini dinner. (It’s been the first tortellini / pasta with filling I’ve found here.) It would have been quite pleasant to sit outside the bar to do some people watching but I’d arrived at the time of aperitifs so the outside tables were busy. And then I went back to my room (well, palazzo thingy) where I perched on the balcony and watched the gondoliers and their passengers.

I mentioned it on Instagram and Facebook, but I tried to memorise that time as it was lovely. (Although not all of the gondoliers are as reverent about their craft as I expected. One was wearing crocs and a couple chatted loudly on their mobile phones. Hmph!

Also, am I the only one who thinks about Stephen King when I see / hear / use the word gondolier?

* Couldn’t decide whether to spell vegeing-out as veging or vegeing. My spellcheck hates both but I decided I didn’t care.

I’m closing comments as these posts are probably to document my travel as much as entertain readers with my insightful prose. (Which I’ve most likely failed to do anyway!) I also don’t want people to feel obliged to read my drivel or leave a comment. Feel free to stop by my Facebook page for a chat instead however.

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