Italy – Day 2, Sunday

Today we woke up easily. We quickly dressed and went out to greet Ricarrrrrdo with a welcoming Bojourno! We chatted a bit over coffee, orange juice, yogurt, and croissants with jam and jelly and Nutella. After he assisted Debbie with a language lesson, he pointed out that he is a “full service B&B” to his single travelers (wink, wink), he helped us plan our day. He recommended the Doge’s Palace, the Friar… church…museum…we don’t know, and one other place I also forgot. We again prettied up, (since we had dressed quickly for breakfast….can we say “WE NEED COFFEE!!”), and then we headed off with our map to visit these wonderful cultural icons, starting with the Doge’s Palace. Finding our way thru the maze of street, we arrive to find LINES!! We don’t like lines. Also, it was cold and breezy and we were without jackets. So we slip into some boutiques, lots and lots of boutiques. We start wondering if the cultural icons hold a candle to all this shopping.

To eliminate Debbie’s “travel problem” we stop into a wonderfully smelling Italian cafeteria because she spotted some apricots and cherries…if you know what I mean. This should prove promising. We Ooooo’d and Ahhh’d over all the wonderful food on display and decided we might come back here for lunch. However, B10 was rude at the counter. He got a double Bingo but we made deductions for his rudeness. They couldn’t give us a bag to take the promises to go and were forced to seat ourselves at a table with no napkins. One of the workers walked by, a mere B5, and Debbie tried to get a napkin. He hastily brought napkins to some people in the garden. Trying again to get a napkin, B5 who was now reduced to a B3, still would not bring her a napkin and instead pointed her to the garden. Finally a B4 brought her a napkin.

INSERT EXPLAINATION: Rather than be obvious every time we see a handsome Italian man, we decided on our own private system of ranking the men by calling out Bingo numbers and if we agreed the other one yells out Bingo! So there you have it, the tacky American tourist hottie rating system.

We shopped for a couple of hours and came upon a little shop selling cookies. Debbie bought a bag of cookies and decided another cup of cappuccino was in order. We found our way to “our spot” and had our cookies and cappuccino.

We decide to find the Friar’s….church….museum…whatever it is. On our way towards the Rialto Bridge….we shop. Shop, shop, shop, what else are two women gonna do? As we approach the Rialto Bridge we see a canoe event going on. Lots of different teams of boaters going by on the Grand Canal. We spot a little restaurant right at the Rialto Bridge along the water’s edge. The waiter quickly seated us in premium viewing spots. We decide to grab a light bite to eat for lunch. Debbie ordered the Mussles and Clam chowder, I ordered the Fish soup, both coming with tasty wheat rolls, and this time we only ordered the half-carafe of vino. PERFECT LUNCH!

MUSSLES AND CLAM CHOWDER – was more like a bowl of steam mussels and clams in a tasty broth for dipping the bread in. It was awesome!

FISH SOUP – a mixture of muscles, clams, prawns, fish in a vegetable broth including some carrots and celery with little toasts on top. Yummmo!

We were seated “accanto” (next to) a lovely couple from Austria, whom we chatted with a bit. The wife pointed out the hotel that George Clooney stays at. We all drooled on about Georgie baby for awhile….and then Antonio and Matthew too. Seems our Hollywood hotties are the universal language.

We walked back to our room thinking the apricots might be working on Debbie. I laid down for a quick 20 minute cat-nap and when Debbie came out with an exciting report and she laid down for awhile also. Ummm yeah…..we woke up five hour later!! I guess the jet-lag was still with us. We never did make it to any of the museums….but we were okay with that because we had an amazing day in Venice. We then decided to go have a late dinner at 10:30pm and discovered it had not only rained, but most of the restaurants were closed or only offering drinks. We hit the jackpot when we happened upon “Al Mondo Novo”. Not only were they welcoming us in, the waiter Dennis, a mere B2, got upgraded to a B3 because he was such an awesome waiter, even at this late hour. We started with a Bellini aperitif…a peach champagne spritzer of sorts. We then ordered a lovely green salad that included not only lettuce, but some fresh herbs, shredded carrots, extremely tasty tomatoes and the most delicioso olive oil dressing.

SIDE NOTE: Debbie is NOT helping me write this post because she is standing on the antique desk trying to see what is on top of the enormous antique armoire. She’s discovered a spackle tool and she’s trying to convince me that there is a secret passage way behind the armoire.

BACK TO OUR DINNER: Dennis, aka Dennisioso to us, brought us 3 bottles of vino to choose from. We decided on the one with the governmental guarantee, a perfect Chianti. We both ordered a seafood risotto and it was awesome. Dennisioso poured our wine, being sure to keep the glasses even, (we want our fair share ya know?). This is something Debbie and I have been doing for years (keeping our glasses even) so it was particularly charming to see him do it as well. We are easily amused. We ended our meal with a very light berry topped crème brule.

We strolled back to our room to re-charge the camera battery. We went down many twists and turns, many of them no wider than Debbie’s arm span. Me….I couldn’t touch both walls because my arms are so much shorter. Did you know that her arm span is over a foot longer than mine! It was so quiet at night without all the annoying tourists (we aren’t tourists, we are world travelers ya know), so we went back out to Piazza San Marco at 1pm just to see it in the moonlight with all the peace and quiet. It was very romantic. We strolled arm in arm soaking it all in. Okay, so we weren’t arm in arm, but it sounded sweet, right?

We saw this pretty young girl tap dancing in the middle of the square, on cobbled stone pavement, wearing 3 inch high heels. We realized she is extremely intoxicated when she twisted her ankle and fell down. There were about 10-15 other people around, mostly men. Luckily we come to realize they were police men keeping their eye on her because apparently she was Russian with no identification on her, and she spoke no English or Italian. I guess she couldn’t remember where her hotel was. They finally took her to the hospital to sleep it off. It was sad actually, a pretty young girl all alone. Where the heck were her friends??

Anyway, a handsome Italian man, a B7, was sitting in a chair and he chatted with us a bit. He was very charming and told us some history of the area. Debbie wanted some coffee and he said he would walk us to a place that might still be open. It wasn’t, but we did have some good laughs at Debbie’s attempts at speaking Italiano. His name was Giuseppe and he seemed to have a crush on Debbie. She was enjoying the attention tremendously though guarded, not wanting to be taken advantage of by a Casanova. He assured us he wasn’t, lol, uh huh. But he was very pleasant with a good sense of humor and provided us some good laughs. He made many attempts to hold her hand and take her aside for a “special moment” but she would divert him by asking how to say “crazy Italiano” in Italian. In the end, we finally ended up back at our room and he was left disappointed to go home alone.

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