Monday, August 29, 2005

Weekend Highlights - Venice

Well, there really were no highlights this weekend. That's not to say that the weekend sucked, just that it was a bit uneventful. I got to Venice Friday afternoon, dropped my stuff at the Bovolo apartment, and then met Theresa, Denise, and Denise's mom Judy for a cafe and to catch up since we hadn't seen each other in a while. After that, I went to the Devil's Forest to get a pint of Kilkenny Cream Ale. For some reason, the KCA tasted off. In fact, it tasted nothing like a KCA. So I went to the Fiddler's Elbow and ordered another pint there. Same thing. So I switched to the old standby - Guinness. The Fiddler's Elbow was not happening for me so after a couple more pints I headed to the Bacaro Jazz where I knew Mary would not disappoint me. Sure enough, the rest of the night was enjoyable and not without it's comical and strange moments. The funniest moment came when I started chit-chatting with an Irish guy who had come in with his girlfriend. He was at the bar ordering and we started talking about Ireland, then about soccer. After about 5 minutes, his girlfriend slams her hand down on the table, gets up, and walks out the door in a huff. Me, the Irish guy, and Mary all kind of looked at each other. After a tense moment or two, the Irish guy goes after her and they proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes arguing in the streets. After they came in, I didn't say a word to either of them so as not to risk another episode. When the girl went into the bathroom, the Irish guy came plopped down next to me at the bar and told us that his girlfriend was Croatian and very jealous of anyone else taking his time when he was with her.

Anyway, the rest of the night was spent chatting with just about every person who walked through the door, since 95% of them were Americans. I also met an Italian guy who lived upstairs and who was originally from the Piedmont region, which touched off a lengthy discussion about wine. In short, I'd have to say that Bacaro Jazz is becoming the place in Venice to go for a fun night of meeting people from all over. And of course if you ever go, be sure to bring an extra bra.

Anyway, I spent Saturday at the Devil's Forest again watching the Tottenham-Chelsea match (sorry Wayne). It poured almost all weekend so I got pretty wet. This also prevented me from walking around the city as I always do when I'm in Venice. But, as usual, I managed to pick up a few new tidbits about the city I love so well. Among them:

* Venice is becoming more and more Chinese. Seems like everytime I go, I notice one or two more bars and cafes run by Chinese people.

* The African guys selling knockoff bags are no more. Apparently the city decided to get serious with the problem and impose a 10,000 euro fine on anyone caught buying counterfeit bags. It's working too, I didn't see a single person selling any. Refreshing.

* I found a new favorite little out of the way wine bar to go to for some cicchetti and to sample a glass or two of wine. Wanna know where? Then you'll have to come visit. I refuse to publicize it. Rick Steves be damned.

* While known to me for its draught beer, the Devil's Forest is actually a decent lunch option. I had a plate of penne pasta with calamari, shrimp and mushroom for about 8 euro - cheaper than most restaurants and absolutely delicious.

I only took a handful of pictures since it was raining all weekend. I put them on my Venice picture page HERE. They're on the last row of color photos.



Dutched Pinay on Expatriation said...

The Chinese have invaded a lot of cities with their entrepreneurship and cuisine. When I was in Fuerteventura (Canary Islands near Africa) I was shocked to see rows of Chinese restaurants! Wow.

Do you also get those Japanese tourists with their cameras?

Rik, I think the Irish guy is gay and the Croatian gf knew that.

I am going to check the Venice fotos so I get tempted.

Rik said...

DP - The strange thing is that the Chinese in Venice aren't opening Chinese restaurants, they're actually opening Italian related businesses. Who wants to order Italian food or wine in Venice from Chinese people? It just don't feel right.

Having said that, there are a TON of Chinese tour groups there constantly so maybe it does make sense.

And if the Irish guy was gay, I think he would have chosen to stay and chat with me. Not that there's anything wrong with that...