El albergue

El albergue

Friday, April 5, 2013

Seeing Venice

It’s rather nice taking a break from the rain and the cold and getting inside among all these beautiful rooms in the Correr Museum. I’m also immensely enjoying looking at rooms, architecture, and delicate designs rather than halls and halls full or oppressive paintings and statues. The colors in the rooms of the Imperial wing (the museum is in what used to be a very important palace) once used by the newly wed Austrian empress “Sisi” are fresh and soothing. I wouldn’t half mind just sitting here with a good book and reading for a while, taking breaks to study and sketch the intricately feminine designs on the walls and ceilings.

As we were about to leave the area in front of an amazing ancient map, a big group of older tourists came in. As their guide started pointing things out about the ceiling of the room, we turned around to see a little old woman leaning on her cane, her eyes peering up from underneath a white beret demurely topped by a shower cap. That’s what beats the rain, I guess.

We splurged and got ourselves coffee in the first café
 to serve coffee in Europe

After the Correr Museum…
We’re hungry, so we take a back street behind St. Mark’s Square in search of a quiet restaurant in which to take refuge from this freezing cold. Oh this place looks decent! Let’s go here. We unwrap our layers a bit, searching for warmth to help us release a little bit of the cold clamping down in our toes. Hm… it’s going to be a tad more expensive than we typically go… Ah well! Let’s not worry about it, embrace the extra cost with open arms and enjoy this meal, dang it! I mean hey! We’re in Venice, for cryin’ out loud! …umm… good plan. This gnocchi is absolutely amazing. Slightly chewy with an incredibly creamy and savory gorgonzola sauce that doesn’t overwhelm. Wow. The soup was perfect – warm and hydrating and light. The artichoke sauce on the ravioli goes with the wine to perfection… Pure perfection.

What a funny hat you have, dear Doge
For some reason, I expected the Bridge of Sighs to be big and open, but it really makes more sense for it to be as small and closed-in as it is – it was for moving prisoners from the justice rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the prison, after all. But that prison. Wow! If we, in our several layers of clothes, still feel insufficiently protected against this cold, what must the poor souls locked away in these small stone cells with even fewer clothes have felt?

After minimal wandering – it’s pretty cold after all – we head to the grocery store as best as we can with our soggy map to grab some things for a simple dinner at the hostel. Our rambling and gazing through the small aisles filled with fun things we can’t get in Spain is cut disappointingly short by the business-like worker informing us that “we’re going to close in 5 minutes.” We head out into the night with our spoils, infinitely relieved that we know exactly where we are and so aren’t going to have to study the maps every 30 seconds to avoid getting lost in this maze of a city. As we quietly check our emails and drop onto our beds to work on our trip journals, we are happy, a state made infinitely more profound when we find the kitchen free and open for us to cook our dinner unmolested by noisy guests. Sigh. How deliciously calm and warm we are here inside and not out in the cold. We cook and talk and listen to Jack Johnson sing us crooning lullabies. We sit down to our steaming pasta - zucchini with balsamic, corona beans, fresh tomatoes, and pesto - and are happy, sweetly and quietly happy. 

We both really liked the clock tower in St. Mark's Square

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