November 1, 2014 – A slow start in Venice

Today I wake up with my face swollen. I kind of look like Popeye from the nose down but without the pipe. I’ve been battling some sort of auto-immune reaction to some unknown allergen for a couple of years. Been to the allergist and basically he has no idea what the allergen could be. It’s ideopathic. Probably the exhaustion from yesterday brought it on. Anyway it is not usually life-threatening and a couple of big doses of benedryl does the job. However, benedryl makes me sleepy so our day gets off to a slow start. We manage to get ourselves out for a while in the afternoon.

Our apartment in the Dursoduro section of Venice is on a little canal with some boat and gondola traffic. We have a sitting room that faces the canal and we can watch the people and boats go by. There’s also a little kitchen, bath with a shower (yay! for enclosed shower), and a bedroom. The internet works most of the time. We are in a perfect location for doing all the things we enjoy – close enough to walk to most things fairly easily and far enough away from the crowds that fill St. Mark’s Square.

Here’s the little bridge which is right outside our door.

Bridge over the canal
Bridge over the canal

John in the kitchen
John in the kitchen

Delivery boat out front
Delivery boat out front

In the afternoon we take a walk along the large Guidecca Canal. It’s a beautiful day and Venetians are out with their families walking, skating, sitting in the sun and in the many cafes along the canal. We head to the Church of St. Sebastian built on the site of an older church in the 1450’s. St. Sebastian is thought to have saved the city from the plague in 1464. He is usually pictured tied to a tree and shot full of arrows. He was able to survive from this effort to kill him.
The Church of San Sebastian
The Church of San Sebastian

Just inside the door there is a painting by Titian of St. Nicholas. He is recognizable by the three gold balls by his feet and his bishop’s garments.
St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas

There’s also a nice bas relief of St. Jerome with his cardinal’s hat, lion and rock so he can beat himself.
Bas-relief of St. Jerome
Bas-relief of St. Jerome

The church is most famous for its Veronese paintings. Unfortunately most are undergoing restoration.

Back out into the sunshine we go to help get over jetlag. I am not sure if I am tired from the time change or from the benedryl. We stop in another church, the Gesuati. This church was also built to replace an earlier one in the late 1400’s. It has an impressive ceiling by Tiepolo.

It’s getting late in the afternoon so we decide to stop in a little cafe/bar just at the foot of the Accademia Bridge. We order a small sandwich which comes, Italian style, on crustless white bread. John orders a negroni. Whoa, what’s this, a mixed drink? Actually we had been to this bar at Christmas last year and the owner had fixed a complimentary negroni. This one is entirely different, though. We find out later that there are variations on this theme. The one that John gets has gin in it. The one we had last year had champagne instead of gin.

Meat? and egg sandwich on white bread
Meat? and egg sandwich on white bread

John and his very bitter negroni
John and his very bitter negroni

Later in the evening at proper European dining time, we go out to dinner at Agli Alboretti, a restaurant we’ve been to many times before. Amazingly all we hear is Italian. Usually there are Americans everywhere.
The dinner is okay, not great. It’s a little too nouvelle for my taste. I was hoping for something a little more traditional. We look at the menu and order. All around us the Italians carry on long conversations with the waiters concerning the food and the tweaking of dishes and where the products come from. We are not brave enough to do this.

Finally we walk home through the silent passageways.
Our canal at night
Our canal at night

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