As has been repeatedly, perhaps exhaustingly, mentioned we didn’t really have much of an agenda for this part of our trip. It was a bit of an experiment; some of you may have seen or at least heard of the truly phenomenal itinerary books that Lisa would put together back in the old days? She may have given those up but we still like to have a good idea of what we’re doing and when. Trying to embrace the spirit of our adventurous new life, though, we’ve been getting all loose-y goose-y with our plans, and this Venice bit is the goose-iest by far, loose-y or otherwise. (honk honk) As such, from a blogging standpoint we’re kinda running out of runway, here. Our hopes for Venice were that it would be an “all vibes” experience, and that was successful beyond any of our hopes. It was a blast. But yeah, it was a blast of a hang. So we’re going to tell you a couple of stories, and share a pile of photos, and that’s the last few days of the trip all at once. Strap in!
One scheduled thing we did still have left was a “secret food tour,” AKA “a tour of publicly available food but we tell you nice stories along the way.” What’s nice about things like this in a city you don’t know is it’s at least a twofer, maybe even a threefer if you’re prepared to say something so silly out loud. First is the food (such as the delightful pastries in the photo to the left). But second, you get walked on a path you most likely haven’t been on, even if you know some of the stops along the way. The local guide will know how to get you places that will fill in some of the fog-of-war on your map (sorry, non-nerds). Sure enough, we took a nicely circuitous route that looped through the Jewish Ghetto for a delicate little pastry before walking through to get to the next stop.
Ok, quick aside (which, yes, could be another name for this whole blog). The Jewish Ghetto in Venice has books written about it. Even I know my limits when it comes to pithy summaries, and that particular dog is sitting very quietly on its bed with its head on its paws. Even it knows. So, yeah. Jewish Ghetto. Look it up. Although, naturally I can’t completely shut up. The picture on the top of this post is from in front of a kindergarten in the Ghetto. Remember, there’s no cars in Venice. It’s an incredibly flat, relatively quiet and safe place. So, there is a parking lot for the kids’ scooters in front of the building!! Adorable doesn’t begin to cover it.
Most of the “secret food” in question is what they call “cicchetti”, which really boils down to finger foods. It’s all over the town, in the bars and cafes and… cicchetterias? I dunno… but if you’re ever there and you see places with a lot of what look like open-face sandwiched with exotic combinations of ingredients, you’re right, that’s exactly what they are. Try a few, they’re cheap. We had several nummies in a few different places; it was an afternoon well spent. We swung back through the Ghetto later because they had some beautiful examples of the fusion of two cultures – Venetian blown-glass mezzuzahs. We picked up a few as gifts and called that a day.
Normally, neither of us is much of a shopper; we don’t go to the mall as a recreational sport, and we don’t usually get attracted to fancy displays. Maybe because you walk through all the narrow streets of Venice and so many of them are lined with shops, however, we actually got a kick out of poking our noses into what was on offer. And that was our downfall in St. Marks’ Square, where we stumbled into a shop with reasonable(-ish) scarves. Turns out we both had been nursing desires for a scarf without quite realizing it, and we both ended up walking out with a double-handful of them(!). This is not an entirely unhappy occasion, but both of us looked like those cows who get stunned right before their date with destiny; completely disoriented and a bit wobbly. Only, you know, alive and with lots of pretty scarves.
And seriously, that’s it. We ate well, but mostly in simpler, trattoria and similar style joints. Our travel back was relatively painless, which we’re grateful for because that rarely happens these days.