After 30 hours of X sleep, but plenty of thinking, I arrived in Venice. I got my passport stamped, admired the industrial design in the bathrooms, and took a swig of duty-free Russian vodka.
Googs instructed me to get off a water taxi at Ospidale. Meandering through the hospital and across myriad canals I was led to a final tiny alleyway. The only people around at midnight were smooching each other.
A door with an iron handle demarcated what the map said was my hostel. I buzzed and the door opened into a dark room with a marble floor and a single chair. Further on, there were stairs – also dark. I used my airplane-mode-phone-flashlight to ascend 3 flights, at the top of which I found a closed door. It was unlocked and I was greeted by a well-dressed young man. The hostel room had six beds, a sparkling floor, and panoramic views of Venice rooftops. In the morning the well dressed young man gave me a small pitcher of coffee and a basket of pastries. I noted to facebook: “So far the only thing I have said is “grazie” because all Italians are psychic and just hand me what I need.”
A vendor handed me an umbrella as I walked through the rain looking for lunch. At a tiny restaurant I asked what was vegan the owner said “anything you want.” Then, because he was also psychic he said: “If you feel like a pasta dish I can use smoked seitan and a spicy tomato sauce.”
It was valentine’s day, so it’s possible that the amount of people smooching was higher than normal, then again maybe that’s how it is in Venice. For dinner I went to Pinzimonio and laughed about being the only english-speaker and the only person not on a date. An appetizer of carrots, celery, cauliflower and some sort of fuchsia turnip were placed on the table along with a creamy sauce. The vegetables alone were astounding. Before leaving for Italy I had joked about trying pasta there for the first time and realizing everything I love is a lie. It turns out I went to Italy, tried vegetables for the first time, and realized everything I love is a lie.
I selected a Saffron rice dish with seasonal vegetables and crumbled nuts. I was pleasantly surprised by the addition of juniper berries, whose bitterness blended artfully with my IPA. When asked about dessert I ordered a slab of cake with rose petals and heart-shaped chocolates alongside a perfect espresso. By the end of the meal I found I could speak Italian.