Strolls in Venice and art at Accademia

The morning pipe is lit by the Grand Canal at seven thirty. Two waterbuses meet in the soft morning light. They have no passengers at this hour. I go for a walk in the side streets, have a cup of coffee at the baker's and we say "arrividerci" as I leave.

Accademia

With wheelbarrow to ship

On the way to the vaporetto stop workers shuttle back and forth with wheelbarrows. From one ship they transport sand and cement, and into another they unload rubble. Transport is difficult in this city and although still early the men sweat profusely.

We take the waterbus to Accademia and visit the art museum. The number of paintings is overwhelming. We quickly pass 'Mary with child' in countless variations and reach the paintings with motifs from the painter's own time.

You could stay close to one of the groups that has an expert to interpret and explain what they see. Or you can use your own senses and dwell when something captures your interest.

On the vaporetto back there are many tourists with luggage. It's in the direction of the railway station and Piazzale Roma, where the buses are. When we get off it rains lightly, although the sun is shining. We seek shelter at Bar do Portes in the alley from San Silvestro to Campo s. Aponal.

Locals chat and greet others who pass by. In Venice you don't just meet in the parking lot or the supermarket. The postman passes. If there is no letterbox, he drops the letter on the doorstep and kicks it through the crack below the door.

After a short rest in the room it is time for a lunch-panino at Bar ai Nomboli. Helle goes home for siesta, and I go to Scuola Grande di San Rocco. This is where you can use a mirror to watch the paintings on the ceiling.

Back in our own neighbourhood I find Circolo al Buona Forchetta in Calle Perdon 1295. The restaurant is recommended in "Chow Venice". It is open for lunch, and I make a reservation for tonight. I try to be more specific and suggest eight thirty, but she just says that they are open from seven and indicates that we can come when we please.

I enjoy a pipe by the Grand Canal before the siesta. A big seagull rests a moment on a pole before flying. Beautiful bird.

A Walk to Dorsoduro

Gondola

At four I walk towards Dorsoduro. A bookstore near the university has many books in English. They are mostly classics, and Marco Polo's travels seems appropriate.

The sun has burnt the clouds away, and the translator's introduction to Maco Polo's old story is enjoyed with refreshments in Campo san Polo.

Supper at Circolo al Buona Forchetta

Ee're going home tomorrow and pack what can be packed now. After an aperitif at Bar ai Nomboli we're at restaurant Circolo al Buona Forchetta at eight. There is nobody around, so I pop my head into the kitchen with a "Buona sera!".

Fish soup for starters, fegato alla veneziana for me and scaloppinni alla fantasia for Helle. The house red turns out to be a bottle of Valpolicella Classico.

The food is ok. The soup has both bite and bones. The portions of the main course aren't big, so the meal will probably be expensive. The coffee (espresso) is horrible and sweet, and having had a sip I leave the rest as hazardous waste. I ask the waiter why they have sweetened it before serving. They haven't, he claims - it is from a machine. In other words: 2 x 3 + 12 % = 6.72 for some instant ready-mix. At least the grappa is good.

We are charged 120 , of which the 18 plus 12 % is for the wine and 6.72 (12 % included) for the instant waste. Another couple has got wine in a carafe, so to call the expensive Valpolicella the house red ("Vino rosso della casa" she actually mumbled when going through bottles) is, well... The wine was nice and probably worth the 20.16 , but I don't like being cheated. On the other hand: maybe I should be grateful she did not pick a Brunello or Amarone at 80 as the house red.

We walk to Canal Grande in the dark evening. Five gondolas flow slowly side by side and turn synchronically. A man sings 'O sole mio' accompanied by an accordion, and flashlights go off. Distilled romance.


Saturday 23.06.2007.

Home Journey

The baker on the corner

Today it is the multi-coloured cat's turn to sleep in the flowerbox on the wall. It purrs a "good morning". We are going home today, but as a kind of promise I say "Arrividerci" to the baker when I have had my espresso.

We go to the cheesemonger and buy Parmesan. He hands out samples for tasting and says proudly that his Parmesan is 2 years and 8 months old. It is delicious and has so much more aroma than the plastic wrapped immigrants in Danish supermarkets. A mature Parmesan is also drier and harder.

At the deli we buy pancetta, Italian bacon. The lady kindly cuts a piece of the indicated size and vacuum-wraps it.

Demonstration in Venice

The last is packed, the hotel bill is paid and we get on a vaporetto for Piazzale Roma. After a few stops we're stuck because of a demonstration. A demonstration in Venice is (of course) a lot of small boats sailing the Grand Canal with banners, flags, signs and megaphones.

I never learn exactly what the demo is about, but I guess they are hunters protesting against a reservation, where they are not allowed massacre the birds. Then one can wonder how that fits with their slogan, which is something like: "No al parco - si al ambiente" (No to the park - yes to the environment). The demonstrationen causes a 10 minutes delay, but that doesn't matter, because we have plenty of time.

To the Marco Polo Airport

From Piazzale Roma bus nr. 5 goes to the airport every 15 minutes. There is lots of room and our suitcases are not in anybody's way.

At the airport however there is not lots of room. It is crowded, and there are too few seats. SAS' check in counters (#16 and 17) do not open until 1 hours before expected departure. It takes forever to check in.

It is so slow that I time some: it takes up to 10 minutes for a couple with only two suitcases. Some are quicker, but the slow procedure is the reason we depart with a half hour delay. Why check in does not begin earlier (as with other airlines) is the big question.

Fortunately we pass security quickly and get back home with no more trouble.