9 November 2015

This will be my last entry before returning home. Tomorrow's entry will be written from Davis.
When we looked out the window this morning, it looked like the world was disappearing.


Looking across the lagoon, you would not know there was anything out there anywhere.  But the shuttle boat got us to the pier safely and we had to decide what we wanted to do.  My friend Laurie Feldman (who started her career as a 5 year old memorizing all the lyrics to G&S operettas and has gone on to become an opera director for such little companies as the SF Opera, the Met, and La Scala, had told me about a restaurant we must find.  Acqua Pazza, which is off the beaten track, so that was our goal today, but first we had to walk there, and that involved some detours.

I must say that I am extremely grateful to the IDA (is there an Italians with Disabilities act?) responsible for this:


This has resulted in ramps being added to many of the bridges along the promenade.


They may not look as picturesque as the steps themselves, but today I had to walk up a few small bridges without ramps and realized that this would have been quite a different trip for me if I did not have ramps to walk on.  Of course, the ramps may have cut walk-in customers to some small businesses, but we helped take care of that at this one lovely glass shop.


It was the last day, after all, and those of us who had restrained ourselves in purchases suddenly threw caution to the wind and perhaps made the shop keeper's day in the process.  There were just gorgeous things.  Most very expensive.  I did NOT buy these, for example, though they were very cute.


Purchases made, we hefted our bags and wended our way across a couple more bridges (with ramps) to where we could buy tickets for the vaporetto, the water bus, to take us to San Angelo station, from where we could walk to the piazza where the restaurant was.  I was excited.  Laurie had made this restaurant sound SO wonderful and I was happy to be actually following her directions.  Additionally, our adventure was taking us out of the main part of Venice and into the less traveled parts, which was nice.

The vaporetto was jammed to the gills.  This woman seemed to feel that she and her child deserved the seats reserved for the old and disabled (Bob and I qualified on both counts).  The child looked to be a bit older than Bri and decidedly able bodied.


We got off the vaporetto and wended our way through tiny streets until we finally founded it.  Acqua Pazza, right on the plaza where the web page photo shows it to be.  Closed on Mondays.  Arrrggghhhh!!!


However, there was a place next door, and we were its only customers.


I don't know what Acqua Pazza has to offer, but this place had really good pizza, my last in Italy.

Nicely sated, we asked the waiter for directions to La Fenice, which Laurie said was a theater where she directed and was nearby.  Like really nearby.  This out of the way, unassuming looking theater is apparently one of the oldest and most respected opera houses in Venice.   It is one of "the most famous and renowned landmarks in the history of Italian theatre", and in the history of opera as a whole. Especially in the 19th century, La Fenice became the site of many famous operatic premieres at which the works of several of the four major bel canto era composersóRossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi were performed.


Its name means "Phoenix," and like the famous phoenix, it has risen up from ashes three times. In 1774 the house was destroyed and rebuilt, but not opened until 1792; the second fire came in 1836, but rebuilding was completed within a year. However, the third fire was the result of arson. It destroyed the house in 1996 leaving only the exterior walls, but it was rebuilt and re-opened in November 2004.

The result is magnificent


More of my dwindling Euros were spent here.

From here Walt discovered it was just a "hop, skip and a jump" to St. Mark's square.  And it truly was.  Quite an easy walk.  What a difference on a foggy Monday than on a sunny weekend day!


We were in need of gelato, so we found a place which was right in front of a place where musicians were setting up.  We each got a cone and settled into the tables.  Suddenly a waiter came out and told us we had to leave.  We said we just wanted to finish our cones.  He said that no, we had to leave.  Bob asked if he could order something from the menu.  The waiter said no, we had to leave.  So we left.  I guess he was expecting a large influx of people in the next 10 minutes.


The musicians began playing to an empty house and we headed back to the shuttle boat and back to the hotel.

In the hotel we rested for a bit and then met at 6:30 for our last supper.  We all wanted something light.  I ordered foccacia, remembering that wonderful bread of my youth, which my mother would buy in North Beach.  It came with olive oil, a little tomato sauce, and scallion greens on the top, I remember.  That was what I expected here, not an Italian veggie burger!


I could only eat half of it and gave most of my chips to Walt.  Char who wanted something light, ordered prosciutto and melon, which sounded like it would fit the bill nicely.  Uh...not so much.


Enough prosciutto to feed a small army.  Even with my help, it didn't get all finished.
But eventually we had to pay the bill and head back to our rooms.  Linda and Bob aren't leaving here until 6:30, so we have seen them for the last time.  The rest of us will be staggering down to the lobby at 3:30 a.m.  If the weather is OK, we will go to the airport by boat, a 30 minute ride, they tell us.  That will also be an adventure.  If it's as foggy as it was today, they will probably send us by bus.
So this ends the Mediterranean Odyssey and I'm already realizing that I have to actually plan and cook dinner when we get home tomorrow.  One does return to reality with a bang!

"The Best People I Know"



The first "course" was the ubiquitous bread with olive oil and balsamic.
My dinner was lamb chops in a delicious sauce, with accompanying vegetables.
Walt's dinner was pasta with rice and gnocci and a truffle on top.
We shared a Pavlova (what they call meringues in Australia) for dessert.
The whole meal was wonderful.
Thank you, Char!

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