Saturday, September 18, 2010

Venice flowers and gondolas

I've been lazy, but have a bit of time on this, our last night in Florence, so will post some pictures I wanted to show you.  We've just returned from supper at Quatro 4 Leoni, our favorite restaurant.  We have bookended the trip by eating there on our first and last nights, plus my birthday and another time in the middle.  Because we don't have a phone here, we are not able to make reservations, but have been successful in getting a table by getting there early at 7 or 7:30, often inside because the outside tables are all reserved.  Tonight it was threatening rain and has been dripping off and on all day, but all the indoor tables were reserved.  They warned us that we'd have to leave if it rained; their canopy is not entirely over the outdoor area.  Anyway, we found a mostly-covered spot and had a great supper, sharing their special salad, a pasta with black truffle sauce, and a broiled swordfish fillet with spinach.  Just as John was paying the bill, the rain started, we put on our rain gear, and headed home.  The timing was perfect.

Venice seems to have many more flowers and trees and gardens than Florence.  Lots of window boxes, and walking the tiny streets, you can often peer into beautiful courtyards and gardens.  Our hotel room looked out over such a courtyard, and I enjoyed watching the older gentleman from the across the way walking his beautiful garden paths early in the morning, pulling a few weeds, and making sure everything was perfect.  His wife hung up some laundry, and meanwhile, another woman on the third floor began to clean her windowsills and polish her huge windows.  We don't have a picture of that courtyard, but these are from our walk later that day.

The other scene that was fascinating to watch was the gondola repair yard.  It's one of only three left that builds and repairs gondolas in the old fashioned way.  At the time we arrived, a couple of gondolas needing repair "pulled up", and watching the interactions between the workers, gondoliers, and bosses at the boat yard was quite absorbing.  A virtual soap opera, particularly if you let your imagination run wild.  One of the customers was a stereotypical big-mouth grouch who alienated the first workers he encountered and then had to wait his turn while they pulled another boat out of the water ahead of his.  By the end of our time there, however, they all seemed to be working together, the boss had given estimates on both boat repairs, and the grouch was even smiling once in awhile as he chatted with the workmen. 

Chaio and arrivederci from Italia ! 

No comments:

Post a Comment