Sunday, January 31, 2010

Venture to Venice Round Two

I just got back from Venice. I was there with friends for about two days. We stayed at an awesome hotel in Rialto called Hotel Malibran. It was just a short jaunt to San Marco Square and just around the corner from what seemed like thousands of shops. It was wonderful to get out of this little Paderno bubble that I live in for an extended period of time. Once we got settled in our room and dropped our backpacks we were off, off to find the Patisserie that was wafting the delicious aroma of fresh bread through our shuddered window that is. I got what Sarah, my roommate, and I have come to call "balls". They are these mini-doughnut-hole-esque pastries with nutella, fruit, and custard fillings. They are insanely good. Then we set out to see the monuments in San Marco. We saw the Rialto Bridge, the Basilica of St. Mark’s, the Bridge of Sighs, the Bell Tower of St. Mark’s, and the Doge’s Palace. After that we shopped, shopped, and shopped some more only stopping for an hour to have sandwiches. I ordered a simple cheese, prosciutto, and tomato panini and a cappuccino. It hit the spot. Newly energized we found the strength to shop again. After a quick nap the group of my friends I was traveling with met up with another group of CIMBA students, staying in our hotel that we caught the train with, for dinner. We decided to go off the beaten path and try a more local restaurant. We found "Trattoria Casa Mia". It was filled with locals which for travelers meant one thing: It had to be good food. The prices were a lot cheaper than they would have been in more of a tourist setting. I had gnocchi. Now I know I got it at a restaurant in Venice the last time I was there, but this was a whole new experience. It was served entirely different. It came out steaming hot on a large plate and engrossed in a four cheeses white sauce that almost had a gravy like consistency. Needless to say I finished the entire plate. We all shared calamari and a few liters of Prosseco. We left this afternoon after a croissant filled with custard for breakfast, some last minute shopping, and a nutella and white chocolate gelato that had been calling my name. One train ride from Venice to Bassano, and a taxi ride later, where the driver gave out free lessons in dating, and I'm back in my dorm. Back to reality...and class.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Venice: Che Bella!

My dad and I spent three days in San Marco, Venice before I came here. We stayed in Hotel Bisanzio, which was, "over three bridges and to the left", or so the lady at the tourist stop told us after I persuaded my dad to ask for directions because we spent an hour waiting outside starring at a map because he thought he knew where he was going. We got settled in, and warmed up. Then we were off we walked the through the Piazza San Marco and down the pier. After a much needed nap to recover from our jet-lag we got a recommendation for dinner from the concierges. The restaurant was smaller but nice. We stood out like a sore thumb as Americans. First we started with the calamari. It tasted like they caught it that morning, which they probably did, and was only lightly battered compared to the American way of saturating it in batter. For the main course we split the calzone pizza. It was stuffed with mushrooms, feta and mozzarella cheese, and prosciutto, and covered with a house red sauce. We each enjoyed a delicious glass or two of wine and finished with a cappuccino. We took the "do it yourself" tour which consisted of getting lost in tiny, narrow backstreets overrun with shops for two hours. But hey, who really minds being lost if you are lost in Venice? At the Basilica I got a rosary with rose beads, that smells like rose petals still. We shopped for loved ones at home who had sent wish lists, enjoyed cappuccinos and pastries at the cafe next to the Ponte di Rialto, and ate more wonderful food. Then it was just a water bus, train ride, and taxi fare and I was in Paderno.