Central Europe 2008: From The Czech Republic to Poland to Austria to Croatia to Slovenia to Italy
Day Twenty Seven – A Near Slip Up, By Giorgio What A View, No Abbot In Castello, Who Is That Masked Man, Alas No Cat Puppets, Up On The Rooftop (part two), Intimate Canal Dining, Not So Wild About Harry’s And Battle Of The Bands (San Marco Style)
There is nothing quite like having your breakfast on a sunny, Venice morning overlooking a canal, but that is just what the four of us did at La Calcina. After my requisite number of espressos and cappuccinos (perhaps I should invent intravenous caffeine), it was on to the nearby Vaporetto (we purchased the two-day pass), and after a quick little ride, we arrived at our first destination of the morning, San Giorgio Maggiore. Somehow we had missed this on our previous Venice excursions.
It was so beautiful that Tracy wanted to have her picture taken near the canal. Over the years, I have taken numerous “Tracy in Peril” pictures throughout the years, much to the consternation of her mom. Of course, she’s not really in peril, but we just make it seem that way in the photos.
As Tracy feigned falling into the canal in front of San Giorgio Maggiore, she actually lost her footing on the slick surface, and starting slipping and sliding on the pavement and for a briefmoment, I thought I might have a real “Tracy in Peril” photo of her floating (hopefully) in the canal.
After zipping through the downstairs interior, we bought our tickets to visit the campanile. We were directed to the elevator. “Elevator?” I said. Yes, there would be no stairs on this journey.
The views over San Marco and all of Venice were fantastic, and out in the distance we saw a huge church. As we perused our guidebook, we determined it was Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Castello, so we decided that would be our next stop.
He gave us a lesson on how to differentiate between a mask made in Venice and one made in China. Obviously, I had killed too many brain cells, because five minutes afterward, I didn’t remember, but we did buy a mask, which the shop owners signed as a gift.
I don’t know if it was because of our sadness or the store didn’t have as many choices, but Cat Puppets would not be purchased on this trip. Instead, I opted for another Café Corretto, meaning I was now ten times over the caffeine limit for the day.
We took a circuitous route back to La Calcina (the recommended way to visit
Venice) and stopped at another mask store in Dorsoduro (they said they had made some of the masks for the movie “Eyes Wide Shut”). Since I had never seen (nor ever will) the movie, I took them at their word. I did have my picture taken with a masked man and had my eyes wide open (under the shades).
We were graced with yet another beautiful Venice evening, and we wanted to take advantage of it. It was the type of weather that made it the perfect evening to participate in the Venition tradition of “walk and get lost,” so the four of us leisurely wound ourselves through the alleyways, every once in a while coming upon another little gem of a canal.
As we got near the Piazza San Marco, we walked by Harry’s Bar. Since we were going to plunk down a wad of Euro in just a few minutes, a $40 martini seemed a tad extravagant. Plus, we had other mwrhods to spend too much money.
This was our fourth visit to Venice and we had never wandered over to Piazza San Marco late at night to hear the “Battle of the Bands,” but that would change this evening. We made our way to Caffé Florian, which has been here for nearly 300 years, and sat down at one of the tables, which means even before we were served, we were officially destitute.
For the next hour and a half, we enjoyed a couple of champagne cocktails each and the delightful orchestra. Of course, we paid way too much money, but enjoyed every minute of it. When “our” orchestra took one of its breaks, we could hear the orchestra playing from the other side of the piazza at the Caffé Quadri.
Am I glad we finally decided to experience this Venice tradition? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Only if my portfolio gets back near to where it was when we were in Venice. We navigated our tired bodies back to La Calcina and went to sleep knowing our epic trip was nearly at an end.
Next: Day Twenty Eight and Twenty Nine – Some Like It Not (Not Us), A Day At The Opera (House), Sighs Matters, Stoppa The Grappa, The Last Supper, I Shutter To Think Where His Camera Went And Arrivederci Venezia