Our apartment, which by the way I love more and more, is just a few doors from a pasticceria called Tonolo, one of the best in town apparently, and luckily for us. Closed when we arrived yesterday, it was jam packed this morning but we sidled up to the bar and we're waited on by a smiling woman who made an excellent cappuccino and gave me what's known as a brioche.
Now this is much closer to a French croissant than to a French brioche but not exactly like either one. Italians seem to like their breakfast pastries much sweeter than either we or the French do so I was pleased to overhear an Italian woman asking for a savory pastry. Tomorrow it'll be the one with prosciutto and cheese rather than honey inside.
Properly fortified, we went off to try to find the Fenice opera house with the idea we might buy tickets to La Boheme for this Saturday. Although the route seemed relatively straightforward on the map, or as straightforward as is possible on a Venetian map, we managed to get lost twice and make a stop in several churches and a music museum along the way. My kind of sight-seeing.
One can take an audio guided tour of La Fenice for a few euros. One cannot buy a ticket for Saturday's performance for less than 165 euros. We chose the tour. It's a lovely auditorium, nearly as tall as it is wide, but the virtually exact reproduction that opened after the fire of 1998 was a missed opportunity for the modern audience, as many of the seats have either partially or totally blocked sight lines. If all you want to do is hear the music, there are seats available for as little as 15 euros. Although not this Saturday, even if we wanted them.
A stop for pizza and a coffee in Campo San Barnaba and we passed for the second time today the vegetable boat pulled up next to the Ponte dei Pugni. On all my previous visits this boat was operated by two brothers who looked like twins except that one smiled and the other didn't. This time there are new people and it all looks a bit more upscale. I gathered my courage and asked the woman sweeping up whether there hadn't been two brothers, twins, running the boat some years ago. Not twins, she replied, and three brothers, not two, who had retired . She and her husband had taken over two years ago. Nothing special, right, just confirming my recollection, but I have to admit I'm proud because we conducted this little conversation in Italian!
I've been studying Italian since December, hoping to be able to use it on this visit, but I wasn't sure how much would stick from the once a week lessons. So far so good. Except for the times I've stumbled over the simplest words in the simplest of situations. I only tell you about the good parts.
Photos are at www.instagram.com/shellioreck