Sunday, July 10, 2022

Roads?! Where we're going we don't need roads!!!

Today we left our sleepy little neighborhood island of Sant'Elena and headed to the big city of Venice.

Jet lag is a thing.

I thought it was fun that this wine had a little chunk of grape vine included. It's sort of a toy in the cereal box type situation but instead of a toy it's a stick.

Even the garbage trucks here are exotic.

It was weird, here the cicadas were really loud at 9am. Generally I think of that as a dusk thing in the US.

You can tell we thought all of the canals and gondolas traveling them were cool because we took about 3000 pictures of ourselves standing in front of them. Each one seemed fun and exciting in its own way.

We wanted to do a ride but we were being choosy with our pilot. I wanted my dude to have a red stripey shirt and the little hat on. Well it was quite warm out so that may have been a factory but I only saw a few hats.

We did some browsing at the Libreria Acqua Alta, or High Water Library.

They had a gondola full of books in the center of the store.

I spotted Gelatoteca Suso and we had a bite. I felt vindicated when more than one tourist walked by while we were eating and exclaimed "there's no line at Suso!"

Some people like to collect coins or postcards as they travel. Lydia has this sick fetish where she tries to get pooped on in every country.

I was impressed by the meat selection in the little supermarkets.

The Flag of the Republic of Venice features a large winged lion.

"The winged lion was chosen as a symbol of Venice due to its connotations with Saint Mark. Venetian tradition states how Saint Mark was travelling from Aquileia to Rome when an Angel appeared whilst he was in the lagoon of Venice and stated 'Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus. Hic requiescet corpus tuum' (Peace be with thee, O Mark, my evangelist. Here thy body will rest). The legend was used in 828 by Venetian merchants Rustico da Torcello and Bon da Malamocco to justify their journey to Alexandria to return the corpse of Saint Mark to Venice and inter it within the city. From that moment Saint Mark became the patron saint of Venice and thus began the association between the city and the winged lion."

Couldn't pass up this sign for an aperol spritz to go. It was a little bit toasty out by now.

I found a fancy restaurant in Piazza San Marco where all the magic of Venice emanates from.

Quadrino had really fun decor. The owners had their own faces hidden in the wallpaper.

I may have gone a little overboard with ordering. I got the
Cicchettata Maxima:
Langoustine crudo with yellow grape tomato sauce, peach, cucumber and basil
Tuna crudo with oyster bergamot sauce and black rice chips
Black cuttlefish arancino with nori powder and ponzu
Baccala mantecato and red beet blinis with fresh Alajmo caviar
Hard boiled egg with tuna belly sauce and bottarga
Buffalo milk mozzarella with capers and coffee
Fried squash blossoms with spicy bell pepper and seeds
Cold tomato soup with black olive powder
Pizza tartlets (2 pc)
Venetian focaccia with hand-chopped beef tartare and curry sauce
Potato cappuccino with ragu alla Bolognese
Hen in saor with fried polenta

It was an interesting decision to plop everything on the table at the same time, but we had a hard deadline to catch a nearby tour so this was good to speed things up.

I believe this was the baccala mantecato and red beet blinis with fresh Alajmo caviar.

It was a fun view with a lot of good people watching while we dined.

Our tour started with entering St. Mark's Basilica. It's the seat of the Patriarch of Venice which caught my eye because that's usually an Orthodox concept, but interestingly Venice is one of only four Catholic patriarchates in the world.

"Many of the columns, reliefs, and sculptures were spoils stripped from the churches, palaces, and public monuments of Constantinople as a result of the Venetian participation in the Fourth Crusade. Among the plundered artefacts brought back to Venice were the four ancient bronze horses that were placed prominently over the entry."

"The Horses of Saint Mark (Italian: Cavalli di San Marco), also known as the Triumphal Quadriga or Horses of the Hippodrome of Constantinople, is a set of bronze statues of four horses, originally part of a monument depicting a quadriga (a four-horse carriage used for chariot racing). The horses were placed on the facade, on the loggia above the porch, of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, northern Italy after the sack and looting of Constantinople in 1204. They remained there until looted by Napoleon in 1797 but were returned in 1815. The sculptures have been removed from the facade and placed in the interior of St Mark's for conservation purposes, with replicas in their position on the loggia."

We then moved on the doge's palace. I'm just pillaging wikipedia today.

"The city was historically the capital of the Republic of Venice for over a millennium, from 697 to 1797. It was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as an important centre of commerce—especially silk, grain, and spice, and of art from the 13th century to the end of the 17th. The city-state of Venice is considered to have been the first real international financial centre, emerging in the 9th century and reaching its greatest prominence in the 14th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history."

The palace stairs feature Poseidon the water god and Ares the war god. Fitting for a naval empire.

We'd been kind of choosey up until this point with which gondolier we'd ride with but the day was growing late so we were forced to make a move.

This is the Aman Canal Grande hotel where George Clooney got married.

The ride was a nice chance to relax and reflect after a lot of walking all over the most serene republic. 

Marco did a pretty good job. His singing was a little half-assed but he was very kind and pointed out some of the sights.

Cantina Do Spade gave me major Spanish tapa bar vibes. In Italy they call the little appetizers "cicchetti" which is actually what we had for lunch as well.

Ordering was a challenge as I had no idea what any of this stuff was and there were no signs. Whatever just give me something to soak up this wine.

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