Dinner in a Convent, Trieste Day 1

—  Larry?  —  Uso un tono professionale.

—  Non diremlo, —  l’anticipo lui.  —  Quando mi chiami “Larry” con quel tono inamidato da neurologa

After two weeks in Italy, self is so genius she speaks Italian fluently.

Not!!!

The above quote is from a book she pulled at random from the shelf in her little apartamento.  The book is from Capitolo XII of Henry Denker’s Un Caso Di Conscienza (in all probability, with a title like that, a mystery).

She had dinner (and a glass of red) at a place called Antico Convento, in a narrow alley off the main street.  The owner of a pasticerria (She had two chocolate eclairs in lieu of lunch —  gaaah, she will be a regular Porky Pig if this keeps up) gave her three restaurant recommendations, but upon seeing the name Antico Convento, self was absolutely tickled and determined that she would have dinner there.

She ordered a Primi Piatti (first course) of soup.  The waiter said it was a kind of specialty of the region, called yota.  Then, she ordered a main course of pork with porcini.  Even though the pasticerria owner told her that seafood was the thing to eat in Trieste, the restaurant was so unadorned that it reminded her of Louie’s in Bacolod.  So, since Filipino food is mostly about pork, she decided to try the Trieste pork.  Of course, it arrived second, after a HUGE —  and self does mean HUGE —  bowl of bean soup with sauerkraut (The waiter thoughtfully provided a bottle of olive oil to sprinkle over the soup) and pieces of ham.  Oh Mama Mia, self should have restrained herself, she should have known the second course would be unmanageable after the soup, but no.  Self plowed through the soup, leaving only two tablespoons at the bottom of her bowl, and then — TA RA! —  out came the second course, steaming, piled pork and porcini accompanied by a kind of side dish of sauteed potatoes (Sauteed in bacon, but not served with bacon, the waiter proudly informed self) and it was soooo delicious!  Self could hardly see straight after that.  She stumbled home, inwardly cursing at how tight her jeans were.  At the door to her building, she encountered two young people crouched right before the entrance.  Self’s first thought was:  Finally!  What The Man always warned self to expect:  A Proper Mugging!

But no, one of the two young people was a slender young woman, and she smiled at self and said Perdon or Scusi or something like that, and moved about two inches to one side, just enough for self to get her hand on the entrance knob, and give it a good (and somewhat hasty) push, and self nearly fell over a pristine, white baby carriage that looked as decked out as a gondola, and there was a baby inside it, sleeping, and self put two and two together and realized that the baby’s parents were right outside the building, right there pressed against the door, enjoying a few illicit hours of peace in the Trieste night.

Self, you stupid twit, if you’d woken up that peacefully sleeping infant, you’d never have gotten over the shame.

Grazie e Arrivederci, dear ones.

Trieste Day 1

And now, dear blog readers, self is in Heaven.

No, not in Heaven.  She is in Trieste.

La Serenissima is hours away.  Here, the Adriatic is cold, pewter.  There are boats lining the harbor.  And a giant aquarium.

The taxi she took to her new digs (for at least three more days) cost 7.5 euro (about $10).  The man refused a tip.

Ah, thanks much, Alexei J. Cohen who wrote the Moon Handbook:  Italy.  Because of the five-page section he included about Trieste, self was determined to get there.

For a brief couple of minutes, she wondered if she were in her right mind, for every available seat in her train compartment was taken up by a group of very young, very athletic-looking men, who were oh so bursting with energy and high spirits.  And self had the mean thought that if these young men were all bound for Trieste, she would have to return to Venice bright and early tomorrow morning.

But, lo and behold, the young men all stayed until Trieste, and just when self was reaching up for her roll-y, one of the young men swung it down for her without having to be asked.  Ah, grazie, grazie!  He smiled and said, It was nothing.  So there you go, another of her mean assumptions exploded.  Traveling is certainly good for self, as it forces her to abandon her old thinking.

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At the moment, self is unwinding in her all-white room (with its rather florid chandelier) and waiting for the kettle of water to boil so she can have some tea.

A Sweet Little Kitchen

A Sweet Little Kitchen

There’s a TV (Perhaps self can get caught up in “Game of Thrones”!), but she has not turned it on just yet.

There’s a shelf of books:  John le Carré’s A Most Wanted Man, Jo Nesbo’s The Redeemer, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, and a travel book:  36 Hours:  125 Weekends in Europe, by The New York Times.

Self pulls down 36 Hours:  125 Weekends in Europe and browses through the Table of Contents:  London, Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh are all in a section called “North Atlantic.”  Paris, Lyon, St. Tropez, Madrid and Pamplona are in a section called “Southwest.”  Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna and Salzburg are considered “Central.”  Rome, Naples, Capri, Florence and Milan are considered “Southeast.”  And Copenhagen, Moscow, St. Petersburg and all of Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Finland are of course “Northern.”

Time to stop posting and start rejuvenating!

Arrivederci, dear ones.  Stay tuned.

Venice Love: Scenes From a Vaporetto, and an Island

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Could this be a sundial?  (Seen on the island of Torcello)

Could this be an ancient sundial? (Seen on the island of Torcello)

Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, on Torcello (No pictures were allowed inside -- sigh)

Outside the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, on Torcello (No pictures are allowed inside — sigh)

Most of the pictures self took yesterday were grey.  True to form, she decided to bring her umbrella, for the second day in a row.  It is quite an annoyance, this bringing-along-of-an-umbrella, because she is already so laden down with maps, guidebooks, her travel notebook, and the book she is currently reading (Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses; good thing she didn’t bring The Portrait of a Lady.  That book weighed a ton.  More to the point, she wouldn’t have gotten to it:  since arriving in Venice, she’s only gotten halfway into Petterson’s novel which incidentally, she found out from googling, received the Dublin IMPAC Prize).

Yet another contest announcement today, this time from Flyway.  True to form, self doesn’t even remember joining.  What is interesting about the announcement, however, is that a Filipina named Catherine Torres has earned second place.  According to the Flyway announcement, Torres is “a diplomat and writer, and her work has appeared in magazines and journals in the Philippines, the United States, and Singapore.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Venice Day 12 Part 2

A Wee Birdie Savoring a Bite from Self's Croissant This Morning at the Hotel Rialto

A Wee Birdie Savoring a Bite from Self’s Croissant This Morning at the Hotel Rialto

Early early this morning, self crept out of the apartment (in a pretty steady rain) and made it to the Hotel Rialto, where she had a cappucino (5 euros; a kind young waitress slipped her a croissant for free).  She was hoping she’d have further sightings of that Extremely Rare Bird, the Filipina Overseas Worker.  And indeed, she saw two young lasses walking along, and self jumped right up and called out, “Hello!  You must be Filipinas!”  And the two stared at self open-mouthed.  And self cajoled them into talking with her for five minutes.  And they told her they worked as maids in a Venetian hotel.  They provided her with a name, but when self googled the hotel from a bar, she found that it did not exist.  Good One, oh Demure Filipinas!

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But, anyhoo, the morning was not a complete wash, because self was able to take many blurry pictures of people walking by with their umbrellas.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Other (Mostly Discouraging) News

Once in a while, self gets the strange feeling that she is on a boat, and that the ground is moving up and down.  She felt it just a few minutes ago, in a bar where she was checking e-mail messages.

Self, get a grip!  Even though Venice is resting on ancient wooden pylons, it is not a ship.  You’re going daft.

Since arriving in Venice, self has received  a total of eight rejections, and one announcement of contest results.  The contest was the one by New South.  Why self thinks she Read the rest of this entry »

Venice Day 12: The Vaporetto and Saint Mark’s Square

This is self’s fifth cappucino of the day.  She’s all wired up.  Every time she finds a bar or a café with wifi, she sits down.  Of course, when one sits down, one must order.  And the cheapest things on the menu are espresso, cappucino, caffé latte.  Hence, all the coffee.  She won’t be able to sleep tonight.

Saw a man fall off his wheelchair in San Marco.  It happened right beside self this morning.  She gasped and tried to help him up, but he was at least twice her height.  That is, he looked to be about six foot.  There he was, lying face down on the rise of the bridge near the Doge’s Palace.  Help, help!  self shrieked.  Eventually, some men came to his aid.

On the vaporetto to Ferrovia (where she bought a train ticket for Trieste), she saw a church.  Well, what’s so exciting about that.  One is always passing churches on the vaporetto.  About one every few seconds.  But this church said, OMG:

ad maiorem dei Gloriam (For the greater glory of God)

Which is a quote self remembers hearing quite often from Dear Departed Dad.  His professors in the Ateneo had all the students write it on the top of every test and every written assignment.  His professors were Jesuit, just like the current Pope.

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Self takes it as a sign.

Well, everything these days is a sign (at least, to self).

And here’s what a vaporetto stop looks like when one begins one’s peregrinations early enough in the morning:

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One must never even think of coming to Venice in May.  Or June.  Or July.  Or August.  Or September.  With every passing week —  no, with every passing day — there have been more and more tourists.  The line to get into San Marco Cathedral is hundreds of people long.

Today, self had more random sightings of Filipinos.  The last encounter was with a woman chatting enthusiastically (in Tagalog) on her cell phone.  Self approached and asked if the 4.1 vaporetto went to Ferrovia.  She pronounced it Fer-ruh-vya.  And the woman put up a finger, finished her conversation, rang off, then turned to self and said, in perfect English:  “OK, what was your question?”  When self repeated it, the woman said.  “Yes.  And it’s pronounced Fer-roh-vee-ya.”  Self’s next question was going to be:  “Do you work here?”  but the woman didn’t look all that enthusiastic about self having identified her as a fellow Filipina.  She scuttled off.

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Self is still fascinated by the pigeons in San Marco Square.  She remembers feeding them as a child (She was last in Venice when she was 11).  Margarita says feeding them is now illegal.  But the last couple of days, self has seen dozens of people feeding the pigeons.  And no carabinieri in sight.

Anyhoo, she has fun just watching the throngs.  San Marco Square always has interesting people, decked out in all manner of clothing.  Today she saw a women in a tight, electric-blue dress, families of Indians (all the women wearing saris), and also Asian tourists clicking away.  She wanted to ask someone to take her picture next to some pigeons, but after yesterday, when she asked a Chinese couple if they would mind taking her picture and they hurried away from her as if she was contagious, she hasn’t been able to summon the nerve.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

And Still More of Venice Day 11: Fun in Burano!

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We met in a restaurant and exchanged stories and contact info!

Self met these two young women in a restaurant and exchanged stories and contact info.

See, self was hoping the constant moving about would help her lose weight, but she can never lose weight —  not, at any rate, in Venice and environs —  because the food is just too good!  The two young women with self are from China.  They both went to France to study (what else?) French and were in Venice on holiday.  One of the girls spoke very good English; she told self her father was a university professor in Beijing.

Here's the dish both self's new friends ordered:  pasta in squid ink!  The girls said it was delicious!

Here’s the dish both self’s new friends ordered: pasta in squid ink! The girls said it was delicious!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

La Serenissima! Venice, Day 11

The Sweet Shop Around the Corner

The Sweet Shop Around the Corner

Today self thought that she should probably start thinking of things to bring home from Venice.  She went into this bakeshop only a five-minute walk from the apartment, and the young salesgirl very eagerly informed self that they have gluten-free products!  How fab!  That is sure to be a big selling point with American tourists!

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And here’s a picture of a gondola stand, which is one of those that are lined up all along the lagoon in front of San Marco Square.

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And here’s what everyone is doing in San Marco Square.  This Chinese guy, by the way, actually refused when self approached him to ask if he could take her picture!  Go figure!  He and his wife almost ran from self, as if she was the bearer of some infectious disease!  Self should have told them that the reason her face was so red was that she had spent all day exploring the islands of Burano and Torcello!

Filipinos in San Marco Squar!

Filipinos in San Marco Square!

And these were the first Filipinos self has had an opportunity to converse with, since arriving in Venice!  She heard them talking about her, using the term “Inchik” (Chinaman/or Chinawoman).  So she went right up to them and said, “I am not Inchik!  I’m Filipino!”  Then self invited them to have dinner with her.  True to the pattern of the day, they refused.  But not before self was able to worm out of them that they were domestic workers from Milan who’d gone to Venice for the day.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Venice Day 10: Doorways, Pigeons, Boats

A Few Doors Down From Ours

A Few Doors Down From Ours

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What adventures await today?

It is cloudy.  Perhaps self will head to San Marco Square.  She still hasn’t been inside the Cathedral, would you believe?  From there she might take a vaporetto to the Naval Museum in Arsenale.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Venice Day 9: The Neighborhood

San Toma’ is a quiet neighborhood; it feels home-y.  There’s a small supermarket just around the corner, where early this morning self bought a loaf of bread and a thick wedge of Asiago.  Venice restaurants are not cheap; the Billa Supermarket is a godsend!

Down the Street

Down the Street

The Street A 5-Minute Walk From the Apartment

The Next Street Over (About a 5-Minute Walk From the Apartment)

Self wondered what the sign meant and decided, after closer inspection, that the building must be some kind of bed-and-breakfast.  She’s always on the lookout for such places, everywhere she goes.  One never knows when such information can come in handy!

Today, also, self spied a poster at the entrance to a café in San Toma’.  It was about the photography of a man named Gotthard Schuh.  The exhibit, called L’Ultima Venezia (The Last Venice), is on display at the Palazzo Loredan, Campo Santo Stefano, seat of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti.  (Where is that? Perhaps Margarita can find it; she can find anything!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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