I get the picture message of my mom at Logan, ready to check her things and board her flight to Venice. One large suitcase, a large personal item, a purse and one large fragile canvas packed up in cardboard accompany her. Yayyyy she's really coming!
I woke up early to catch an Italo train to Venezia Santa Lucia. Walking to the station, I chuckled at the man who was happily riding his bicycle, 66cl Peroni, cap popped off, resting in his water bottle holder. Yes, siamo in Italia.
|Our German Friend|
From lunch, Mom and I meandered our way through the countless canals and bridges. Stopping at a few churches we ended up at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. I went into the church across the way and found a bar for a cappuccino while my mom went into the Scuola Grande. Afterwards we wandered to a Vaporetto stop to take one down the Grand Canal to St. Marks Square to see if it was necessary or not for Mom to bring the rainboots. Fortunately and unfortunately, St. Mark's Square was no longer flooded, so the extra 10 pounds of boots my mom lugged on the plane did not serve useful. However, we had both been excited to experience a flooded Venice, so it was kind of a let down, but at least we were dry! From there we walked to the esteemed Daniele Hotel to have a hot chocolate before returning back to our hotel to rest up quickly before dinner.
For dinner we went to a small family run restaurant. The 50 year old hostess seemed to be doing all of the restaurant duties from hosting, waiting, preparing antipasti, and washing dishes. Our food was relatively good, but the quaintness of the restaurant was perfect for us and we enjoyed the overall dining experience.
Nearing lunch time we wandered toward the streets behind St. Mark's and got utterly lost. We stumbled upon two old italian men grilling sausages by a canal for lunch. What a site! Then when trying to find a place to eat we walked towards the area where we thought the Ospedale and Chiesa di San Giovanni e Paolo would be. We stopped at a very small, rustic wine bar that had a variety of fishy antipasti and a dog waiting at the bar with its owner. Another good meal with another excellent glass of wine. After lunch we found the right road to take us to San Giovanni e Paolo. We scoured every corner of the church, then I returned back to the hotel to nap and study for my presentation while Mom headed to the Ca D'oro.
|Wine bar that we loved the look of!|
|muscle man turkey|
|Tiralli e pepperoncini|
I still had class all day, so I let Mom do all the thanksgiving preparation, per usual. After class she sent me hunting for a large carving knife and a can opener. Good thing it was Thursday afternoon! In Bologna, as Toni and I discovered as we arrived on a Thursday, on Thursdays, all stores close at 1 for the rest of the day. So I ran around Bologna in hopes of finding one store open to buy both the items, but the only places open were supermarkets and they were both knifeless and can opener-less. Oh well... we expected it should be an interesting Thanksgiving dinner with a lot of typical American delicacies missing anyway!
Thanksgiving dinner was a blast. Alonso, Li Ang, Lavinia, Maria and Amy joined us around my tiny table. We drank quite a bit of wine. Mom made us parade around the table with the Turkey like they used to do in my Dad's family. Once all the food was done and on the table, we all sat around it (myself on a suitcase because of lack of chairs), the non-Americans in awe, and we each went around saying what we were thankful for, then MANGIAVAMO!! WE ATE!! Everyone loved the turkey and all of the typical American dishes, but the GRAVY was the biggest hit of all!! All in all a lovely evening in lovely company!
Saturday was Mom's last day in Italia and we headed to Florence to meet Claudia et al for lunch. It was a beautifully sunny day in Florence, and we had a lovely time catching up with Claudia and the rest of the crew. When we returned home, we had one last evening to find a delicious Wine Bar. I remembered there were always seats under the portico that connects Piazza Maggiore to Via Rizzoli, and there we found Al Voltone, which turned into our favorite by the end of the night. We enjoyed our glasses of Pignoletto (a local white wine) and indulged on the fantastically delicious tiny sandwiches that were served along side the wine. It was simply a wonderful outdoor drinking experience, and the icing on the cake was the man trying to sell us a toiletbowl lighter for 10 minutes, Mom couldn't help but laugh... and he wanted 10 euro! The plan then was to find dinner. I thought, how about Spacca! So we walked there, and then I realized oh its Saturday, Spacca is obviously PACKED, so we continued on... restaurant after restaurant down San Vitale was packed, along with Osteria Broccaindosso which had great reviews and has been on my list. So we decided to return to Al Voltone, this time, bring on the food! I had a delicious brodo con tortellini, Mom had tortelloni, and Al Voltone has my vote for Bologna's best chocolate cake. Cakes, brownies, cookies etc. are hard to find in Italy, let alone GOOD ones, and that chocolate cake was just FANTASTIC!!! We strolled home slowly taking in the rest of Bologna together, I called to reserve a cab for 4:30am, and Mom's short week in Bologna was over :( We certainly accomplished a lot, but not enough, so she'll be back!!! I'm looking forward to exploring more wine and food on her next trip!!!
Prague details up next!