One sandal in the suitcase

  • 28 March 2022
  • Prue Scott

There is one sandal – the left – in my suitcase. The right is clearly back in NZ. Did I mean to pack both, or did I remove one and forget the other? I think it’s an indication of my distracted mind when packing, despite having six months to plan what went into the suitcase.

The weekenders have departed, there is little hair tossing, although the selfies are still running at a premium. The gondoliers did good business over the weekend, but I do have to wonder at the six young people with their faces glued to their phones. Yes, I am getting old and curmudgeonly. Friend Nicholas says, remember the days when they had cameras and did the same thing; it’s so they can show their friends back home. Rather than live the experience, they report it to their friends. Is that less than what I do? Hmm.


Many of the weekend girls wear what we’d consider a lot of makeup and have clearly been to hair tossing lessons. Many have also been to pancake makeup and eyeliner classes. Some have been to high-end shops and are dressed so beautifully and simply. Children wear leggings and baby Doc Martens. The padded jacket/coat is very popular. Nonnas in fur coats abound. One Nonna today, all of about 4’5”, in studded, hand painted leather bomber jacket at least 30 years old – rocking it.

The wearing of masks on ferries has put a halt to young people kissing; it just doesn’t work with a mask. This may be why there’s more makeup and hair tossing going on.

A weekly pass for the ferries is €60, or about $96. Only every fourth #1 ferry down the Grand Canal stops at San Samuele – my stop – so it’s a hop across the bridge at Accademia, avoiding the selfie crowd and the sunset crowd (very poor sunsets so far) and the “Hmm, I should stop here in the middle of the bridge and ponder for some minutes, forcing people to make last-minute changes in direction so they ricochet left and right” lot.

My hotel is still the same. It’s a converted monastery and spartan but comfortable. The bed seems designed for doing penance - very unforgiving. I’m over the roll/ham/cheese and croissants for brekkie. Should have bought some muesli. They used to offer muesli, but it’s just sugar these days – plain or chocolate Rice Krispies. And, of course, cake.

I googled “brunch” and found the Brunch Café in San Polo, just across the Rialto Bridge and down several impossibly narrow streets. It’s a lifesaver and includes an excellent egg/bacon (ok, Italian bacon) and avocado on toast, and good coffee. It seems to be run by three or four young Japanese women, one of whom admits to four languages! I feel so inadequate. The piatto principale (piece de resistance) is the Japanese souffle pancakes with maple syrup and a blob of vanilla ice-cream (note that: ice-cream, not gelato) on top. Like eating warm, not-too-sweet air. No lasting benefit and one has to have lunch as well.

Quick bites

  • If you’re going to put an Italian SIM card into your old iPhone, then you must remember to bring the phone with you. Oh, hang on. My existing iPhone will now take a Vodafone SIM card and I can get everything I had at home. I'm back to running two phones.
  • Do not head out without checking camera batteries. It’ll always be the day when you want to shoot lots. Blazing sun and blue skies aren't all that good for taking photographs.
  • The ferries require an N95 mask, although some are lax. I only had a blue surgical one and Signor Ferry was not going to let me on. A nice chap gave me one of his. They’re individually wrapped here, cheap, and freely available. You can get them in a dozen colours, including the always-classic black, white, and navy.
  • Prices have gone up – and that’s without the Russian scenario. A pide sandwich with edible muffin (and we all know how rare that can be) and espresso lungo was about $14.00. Espresso lungo (more than an espresso but less than an Americano) runs from €1.10 to €4.50 at Illy near San Marco (good, but not that good).
  • I’ve had one plate of fritta mista – fried seafood – and I must stop there.
  • Ditto the gelato.
  • Resisting the cannoli. Soooo attractive but after eating I have to much a few Gaviscon indigestion tablets and lie down.
  • The same tat is still on sale in the souvenir shops.
  • There are many small dogs – Jack Russells, rough-coated dachsies, tiny poodle mixes – in winter coats. Many of them are very vocal in the “let me at him” style.
  • Just as you get aqua alta – high water – you get low water in the canals. The water is around 1-1.5m lower than normal, exposing weed and barnacles to sunshine…hence the rather ripe smell.

Even on busy weekends, the Grand Canal is still rather quiet, although we had some excitement when the Alilaguna boat didn’t move away from the pontoon in time. Our chap just pulled up alongside and gently swung left, giving Alilaguna a bump. It was like watching beasts test each other before the fight.

Discovered Venice’s top cicchetti cafes. Cicchetti are an Italian form of tapas and when made well they are divine. I lunched on Aperol spritz, a very good pizza and a coffee while watching people on the other side of the piazza queue for up to an hour to get their plate of cicchetti. By the way, anything after 10am is considered ok to order una birra or an Aperol. V sensible people, the Italians. Drunkenness still frowned upon.

My international Covid QR code scans here without a problem. When I found St Evangelista by accident the nice man scanned my pass, remarking that it had been a long time since they’d seen a New Zealander.

My silicon lady is still here. I first saw her on Delancey St in New York in 2012 and then in Venice in 2015 around the time of Biennale. Here she was again, in a tiny courtyard.

British Woman In Fur Coat: Oh she’s too big for my garden.

Me:  I find her rather scary. Her fingers are too long.

BWIFC: She’s probably a piano player.

There’s nothing you can say in response to that.




Share this post


  • Shelley Chadgidakis
  • 28 Mar 2022
  • 1:48 pm

Very envious! Wouldn't mind being in Wenice myself!

  • Josie Rainer
  • 29 Mar 2022
  • 2:34 pm

All sounds Fabulous!

Leave a comment


Email address

This is never shown to the public.