We allowed for an extra day in Venice because we were hoping to get lost and explore the back alleys. Despite waking up early again, I fall back asleep and we end up missing the hotel provided breakfast entirely. Note quite ready to resume touring, we decide to brunch inside our hotel room.
Remembering the Billa supermarket we discovered near Zattare on our first day in Venice, I let Mrs. A|T continue lounging and head out to pick up some nummies.
The Billa lived up to all of my expectations. Walking though the produce section I picked up some fresh vine tomatoes and a quarter of a watermelon. Continuing through towards where they sell prepared foods I also pick up two small baguettes, perfect to go along with the cheese and salumi that I’m hoping to acquire.
When I arrive at the prepared foods counter I find that it is surrounded by a small crowd of middle-aged and older ladies. I cautiously wander into the middle of things and take a number. While waiting I start looking though all of the food and settle on some grilled peppers, squid salad, and salami. As my number gets closer I double check my English-Italian phrase book to make sure I know how to order 200 grams each of the peppers and squid as well as 100 grams of the salami.
My number is called and a little old lady behind the counter looks suspiciously at the Asian guy dressed like a tourist. I blurt out my first order in what must have been very bad Italian and she lights up, clearly satisfied with the fact that I have made an effort. I also begin to feel the eyes of the rest of the crowd burning into my back, but make my next requests with more confidence.
And then we hit the snag when I ask about the salami – exactly the item I least expected trouble with because I already use the Italian word for it. She says something to me that I don’t understand. Suspecting that she wanted to hear again which particular salami I had asked for, I repeat my order, and she asks me the same thing again. Awkward pause. Stalemate. Luckily, after what felt like a whole minute, another nice older lady beside me intervenes. She says the word more slowly, and then stops to think a minute and says “garlic” with a thick accent. Ahhh! “Si, si, va bene” I say, and my order is complete! I make sure to smile and give a grazie to my translator. Walking around the rest of the store I also find some packaged prosciutto, a container of buffalo mozzarella, and some drinks.
Back at the room we feast. The tomatoes are as good as the nicest ones we get from the farmer’s markets back home and the prepared foods are incredible. Despite the fact that the 3 euro mozzarella came in a prepackaged tub from a supermarket cooler, it was as good as anything we’d ever had in Canada.
The rest of the day is spent slowly exploring Venice. The only item on our to-do list is the archaeological museum which houses many exhibits showing the incredible history of Venice.
We walk around to try finding some of the restaurants that I had previously identified as places to check out, but end up eating at a tiny little restaurant called Cantinone Storico right around the corner from our hotel. It’s on a pretty quiet street, but is still reasonably full of people speaking Italian every time we walked by – a promising combination that ends up easily meeting my expectations.
After dinner we head back to the hotel and I manage to just about finish up work I had to bring with me. After all the walking and eating I have my first full night of sleep in Europe. Next up is Bologna.
London and Italy 2010 Posts:
- Day 8 (Part 1) London and Italy: Coop Caseria Castelnovese
- Day 7 London and Italy: Venice to Bologna
- Day 6 London and Italy: One Day in Venice
- Day 5 (Part II) London and Italy: Touring Venice
- Day 5 (Part 1) London and Italy: First Morning in Venice
- Day 4 London and Italy: Arrive in Venice
- Day 3 London and Italy: Borough Market and Fifteen
- Day 2 London and Italy: London, Beer, and Curry
- Day 1 London and Italy: The YVR-LHR Journey