Surprise! Ryan and I went to Venice on our weekend (reminder: that is Wednesday and Thursday). It felt like it was too long since we had traveled and began discussing where we could go. Venice was a last minute decision. We did the little bit of planning that we did on Monday night and left directly from work on Tuesday. Tuesday turned out to be a short day for each of us at work and we were on the road out of town a little before 3. Venice is five hours away, so we looked at it just like when we would drive from Oregon to Bellingham for a weekend. It was so great to get out of the mountains, but the drive through them was beautiful. We saw probably more castles than I could count on both hands up on cliffs along the road. We also saw oh so many vineyards. But these vines had been here for much longer than the the oldest I've seen in Oregon. They looked like tree trunks they were so thick.
Parking on Venice (an island for those who may not know) is very expensive, so we parked in Mestre and took the 7 minute train ride onto Venice. When we arrived and walked out of the train station what we saw was a truly spectacular view. In front of us was the grand canal lit up with the passing of boats and a couple very nice and I'm sure expensive hotels across the water. It was the most perfect "welcome to Venice" I could ever imagine receiving and made me so glad we arrived at night. Although I've also decided arriving places at night can make things more difficult and confusing, but it just adds to the adventure.
We bought "Rolling Venice" cards which got us unlimited water bus transportation for up to three days. That was great and ended up saving us a lot of money. Everything in Venice is a boat. The buses are boats, the taxis are boats, the police vehicles are boats, even the ambulances are boats. It was awesome! It was so wonderful to finally be near water all the time. Ryan and I have both missed water since being in Garmisch. I could totally see Ryan living in Venice with a boat and driving all over the canals with it.
I am not sure how to break up our trip. I feel like I could do it in so many different ways. I think for now I'll start with the food. It was absolutely fabulous. Being an island off the eat coast of Italy Venice is known for seafood. The night we arrived we were pretty hungry, so even though it was late we went in search of dinner after we settled into our rooms. We found a cute little restaurant just around the corner from where we were staying. It looked deserted from the front, but once we walked in there were several tables of people in the back room. I thought it odd they sat people in the back of the restaurant instead of the front where passers by would be able to notice and possibly be intrigued to come in. Now many people know I love food and others may know I especially love seafood, so Venice and I got along very well. This first night I had Tagliolini, a pasta that is flat like fettuccine, but much narrower and sort of reminded me of a cross between a wheat and a rice noodle in texture. With the pasta there was a crab sauce. I was a little leery of a crab sauce because often in the State they are creamy and don't taste like crab. I have made a personal conclusion that cream totally kills the flavor of seafood when you pair them and they do not belong together. Back to my dinner... it was fantastico! The flavor of the crab came through so strong and the noodles where magnifico! Oh I was in love with Venician food this first night. The next day breakfast consisted of a lot of bread products and coffee. It was included where we were staying. Throughout Wednesday we had gelato three times. Although the 3rd time it was sandwiched between two biscuit cookies. And I'll add we shared every time we did not each have our own. Ryan had his first piece of pizza in Italy on a side street off the Piazza. I might have had a bite, or two.
Dinner... ahh the memory of such a delicious meal. I loved that on the menu there was a fish course. I think we should always have a fish course. Since we were in Venice though Ryan and I both had seafood in each of our courses, except dessert. Please feel free not to read this if you are not into food details like I am. My antipasti was boiled octopus sliced incredibly thin in a single layer on my plat drizzled with olive oil with a nice hunk of lemon on the side for me to squeeze. It was oh so good. Ryan had scampi mixed wtih a ton of onions and a slab of white grilled polenta. Also very good. We shared everything but especially our first courses because we both could not decide on just one. Ryan had tagliolini with spider crab not unlike what I had on Tuesday night, but different and equally as good. I had spaghetti with a marinara sauce and mixed seafood including scallops, squid, shrimp, mussels, and clams. Both our first courses probably could have filled us for a meal, I was surprised how large they were, but we were done yet. My Fish Course was grilled tuna with "rocketsauce." I don't know what that was, but it was green and it was good. The tuna was cooked perfect and left extremely rare. Ryan's fish course was actually probably my least favorite part of dinner and I almost ordered that. It was angel fish with balsamic vinegar, but really didn't taste like vinegar, so Ryan added more. And we shared a slice of Tiramisu for dessert because we were in Italy for the first time and I decided we needed it. We also had a nice Cabernet/ Malbec red wine. From Italy of course and only about an hour from Venice. We were planning to go to a concert after dinner of Mozart's Four Seasons, but dinner was a bit over two hours long and when we were leaving the concert had already started and it would have taken a it still to get over to it. Instead we wandered the streets of Venice which were a bit quieter. We came across a Crepe vendor, so we shared a crepe. It had sugar, cinnamon, and grand marnier. They seriously have alcohol everywhere and use it in everything in Europe. You can buy liquor in the gas station. I actually didn't love the crepe because she put so much alcohol on it, I bet there was at least a full shot. Next time nutella and banana I think. And as we headed back to find our beds there was a fruit juice bar open and handing out samples. But all the fresh fruit juice was then turned into fruity alcoholic drinks (like I said alcohol everywhere, but don't worry about us). We shared a glass of sangria, which was delicious and I don't think actually had a ton of the wine in it.
I'll have to post about Thursday morning later, which does include a little food. We did have breakfast again where we stayed. And for lunch, our last Italian meal we had pizza from a place it seemed all the school kids went to eat and hang out after school, I think because it was so cheap. After the pizza we also shared one last gelato. I miss it already.
That sums up our food consumption. It was so good. I highly recommed tagliolini if anyone can find it in the States. We looked at the German groceries today and weren't able to. I knew we should have bought some while we were there, but we didn't. Bummer, we'll have to go back. ;)
It is late and I do have to get up for work, so I'm going to lay down the computer for the night. I have more to share that hopefully I can finish, or at least work on tomorrow. I still need to catch everyone up on our last weekend. We went snowboarding the first day and to Innsbruck, Austria on the second. And then there are other things I'd like to post on too. Sometimes during the day I think of titles for blog posts, but we seem to stay pretty busy and in down time usually catch up on missed episodes of the Bachelor (which will free up time after it ends next week), One Tree Hill, Ryan and 24 and now I've been trying to work on my German with Rosetta Stone that I get to use online for free from the military. So I apologize for not posting for so long, but if I can get to it in the next day or two I might give you enough to keep your reading for the next week or two. For now, goodnight.