First stop: Venice !
After a grueling flight with a stopover in Dubai, an hour-long journey from Aeroport Malpensa to Milan Centrale and then another (thankfully, business class) train ride from MC to Santa Lucia Venezia, we were finally in Venice.
The first day we arrived, the weather was pretty amazing – bright sunlight, about 22 degrees, tops, and a nice cool wind that came along now and then to offer respite from the sun.
Thus emboldened and encouraged (we had prepped for miserable, rainy, cold weather), we sallied forth in search of our apartment.
On my previous trips to Venice and Italy, I have only stayed in hotels (and once, a hostel). So the four of us decided that we’d try out an apartment – we wanted to do some cooking of our own and have a common area to just hang out.
That’s how we became the Doda family. ^^
Our home for the week – leased by the Dodas to Grimaldi Apartments:
It was full of Venetian-style furniture and crystal chandeliers in very pretty colors. The kitchenette was clean, cosy and well equipped, and there were two rooms as well as a pretty spacious toilet and living room. I was really charmed by it – even after we discovered that the beds weren’t that comfortable (a few broken springs) and … no WI-FI. But being the gung-ho Asians we are, we decided it may have been a good thing – having no Internet would help us enjoy the city better and besides, there were so many cafes and restaurants nearby touting free WIFI access. >.<
Located in Misericordia, it was about a 20 minute walk to the Ponte Di Rialto (major tourist attraction) and another 15 minutes to the Piazza San Marco, a.k.a tourist central of Venice. Contrary to what you may think, we actually rather preferred to stay off city centre – amongst real Venetians/Italians. It was safe, quiet, free from touts but still located well – near a supermarket and Vaporetto (water bus) stop. ^^
Speaking of supermarkets, Mints and I were absolutely blown away by how fresh and delicious the produce from the humble Billa supermarket was !
On the first day:
Using some large, unevenly sized eggs (oh how I have missed these adorable, organic eggs that actually look like they came from a happy chicken not pumped full of hormones) with bright yellow yolks and good heft, and some delicious tomatoes still on the vine, I whipped up some tomato-scrambled eggs which barely needed any seasoning at all !
We ate them with toasted sweet croissants and unbelievably fresh melons (only 99 cents for half a melon) bursting with cooling sweetness without any of that cloying after-taste. It was actually thirst quenching – most melons we get in SG make me thirsty instead.
Coupled with fragrant cappucino, that simple breakfast was just the thing to get us kick-started the next day.
Mints and Justin also took their turn at the kitchen, with delicious results 🙂
Using just simple Tuna canned in olive oil, penne, bright red peppers and fresh button mushrooms, Mints whipped up a really savoury and addictive pasta K couldn’t stop raving about ( a little Asian style ). ^^
To seal the deal on a great start in Venezia, our first meal ever as the Doda family at a little Trattoria nearby. We had low expectations as it looked a little like a tourist trap but a huge pot of freshly cooked crab stew bubbling near the door drew us in like bees to honey.
It was quite a perfect evening. We were tired but our minds full of the promise of a full 10 days of being footloose and fancy-free, with the cool wind, soft sunlight and our growling tummies, made for a very intoxicating combination indeed.
K and I chose to share the Pesto Spaghetti, whilst Mints and J went for the Seafood Spaghetti. Both were simple but oh, so delicious. Delicious in the way that you know there is no magic but only super fresh ingredients cooked by memory to an old, tried and tested recipe. The pesto was herby, smooth, and mildly garlickly and the pasta al dente, while the seafood in M and J’s pasta was succulent and coated in a bright, sunny tomato confit.
We downed all that with a bottle of sweet, fruity, bubbly Moscato, and it was almost like a party.
Tired but happy people !
Luckily we had such a great uneventful start – the drama only begin the next morning !
Here’s a deceiving looking photo of me at one of our floor to ceiling windows overlooking the canal outside, seemingly oblivious to the natural disaster (I exaggerate) about to descend upon us all.
Till the next post !