Venice

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.

Venice Water Taxi

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.”

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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.”

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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.

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