Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Marco....Polo


Our first stop on our Italian adventure was the city of Venice.  Yes, Las Vegas has tried to capture a slice of Venice in the desert, but in reality there is no other city that compares to Venice in the entire world. The airport's namesake is that of Marco Polo, a famous merchant and traveler that hailed from Venice.   The airport is where we first entered the world of Venezia.  The only option to get you from there to the city is some type of boat.  We opted for the public transportation water bus.  It works much like getting on a public bus, only it’s on water vs. land.  They are crowded and dirty like said public buses, but the glory is that you are on a boat being taken to what must be considered one of the most romantic cities on earth.



We had sketchy directions from the tourist information booth about what stop to get off on and how to find our hotel.  We were both extremely jet lagged and were lulled into a semi-comatic state from the interesting people watching, the newness of this floating city, the gondolas passing by laden with tourists only to be brought back to consciousness when the water taxi abruptly hit the dock with a loud thump alerting us that we were at another pick-up/drop-up point.  Our stop, St. Angelo, came about an hour into the ride.  We disembarked the “taxi” and looked around us with our bags at our feet.  There was no bellman, no taxis, no other option than to pack mule in our bags and our tired bodies.  Ro took the lead and we headed down into one of the narrow streets.  The actual city of Venice can be best described as what a mouse must feel like when put into a maze.  They can smell the cheese in the center, but have to work their way through the maze before being rewarded.  This was us, two tired mice with suitcases, inspired to find a shower and a bed.  We lifted those bags over bridges, climbed steps, pulled them along with us over the uneven cobblestones until finally after some great Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom navigation by Ro and a little luck we found our unmarked bed and breakfast.  The luck ended there, our rooms were on the fourth floor of a very old building with no elevator.  Words can not describe how good that first shower felt.



Our first Italian meal was had in the St. Angelo plaza alongside a big tour group.  The best thing we ate was so simple, cantaloupe and prosciutto.  It’s a dish often served in the U.S., but it tasted different being in Italy.  We saw the tour group next to us get served course after course wondering and marveling really at how much food they were eating.  It was like a fashion show, only with food in front of us.  The finale was frozen jars being brought out and served.  We learned these were different flavors of house infused liquors being served as an after lunch digestive.  There was orange, lemon, hazelnut, but the one that peaked our interest (however, not enough for us to order it) it was made from argula.

When we finished our meal, we were brought one solo bottle, the orange variety.  Orangecello was like a liquid orange creamsicle for adults.  We sat around and enjoyed the ability to self-serve as many glasses of the dessert as we wanted.  It was late afternoon as we finished our first European lunch (let it be noted that we adjusted very well to the two-hour lunch).  



We were motivated to see a bit of the city and stay awake for as long as possible to try to adjust to the time change.  We made it to St Mark’s square and did a quick tour around looking from the outside at the beautiful basilica and the bridge of sighs where prisoners got their last look at this beautiful city and the ocean before going to prison.  We decided to walk back to the hotel and freshen up for dinner.  That’s as far as we made it, our batteries were on empty.  To steal a line from the movie Meet the Fockers, “Focker Out!”  We slept from approximately 5 p.m. local time until we heard the church bell ring around 8 a.m.  What a way to spend our first night in Venice--- sleeping.

Live life with flavor and fun!