We cross our little bridge because it’s 10am and we’re hungry.
We’ve slipped easily into the pattern of life here. 8am, the church bells ring and we’re roused from sleep; we crawl out of bed and light the stove for coffee; time to check e-mail and browse the news, both personal and political; we shower, dress, and walk out the door toward breakfast; at lunch we stand at small bars and eat half sandwiches, there is a 2 euro charge to sit; we eat dinner now at 8:00pm or later, antipasti and one course with a half liter of wine, sometimes we split a dolce; we climb in to bed at midnight and slumber until the bells ring again.
It’s our fourth morning in a row at Pasticceria Rizzardini, a bakery in San Polo. We have a routine now; two espressos with a touch of steamed milk and two pastries filled with vanilla custard, “Due Macchiati and due Crema, per favore.” Our repetition has earned us a warm welcome this morning, ”Buongiorno!”
We catch the Vaporetto, at our usual San Toma stop. We nudge and squish our way to a spot near the open air. The boat is full. One, two, three; an American man to our left snaps a photo of his young daughter. Uno, due, tre; an Italian man snaps a photo of his beautiful girlfriend. Humidity paints shine on all of our cheeks and foreheads.
We look around at our fellow passengers; we can tell the ones who arrived today. They stare out in awe, their mouths gaping. Soon their faces will be buried in maps. We feel sympathy for them; now, we are lost only most of the time.
Ca’ Rezzonico - it’s our stop. We’re headed to our fourth museum of the day – it's disappointing that most don’t allow photos. We pass a man selling produce from a boat: tomatoes, zucchini, chanterelle mushrooms, artichokes. We point at the artichokes, “Quanto costa, per favore?” He quotes a price, but we don’t understand. “Mi dispiace, non capisco”, we say. He repeats himself, now frustrated. He’s not interested in explaining. “Ciao!”, he says. We turn and disappear into the sea of nomads.
Minds full and feet aching, we stop for a cold beer and a glass of Prosecco. It’s worth the charge to sit today. We sit and watch.
A little rest and it’s time to walk home. We’ve had our fill of pasta and pizza this week and plan to dine at home tonight; cantaloupe with prosciutto and Insalata Caprese: tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and a pinch of salt – two antipasti we see on every Italian menu.
Along the last narrow passage to our little red house, a man is singing. Embellished by ancient walls his voice soars, and we’re so happy that we came to Venice.
Tonight we’re packing to leave; tomorrow we’ll travel by train to Bologna. A new adventure.