10 December - Fairly Ridiculous

Crystal got up at 08:00 and Justin at 08:40 - both of us had slept well, finally.  We got ready to go out slowly, charging electronics, checking emails, etc.  We eventually wandered over to Piazza San Marco.  Along the walk we saw lots of glass shops, clothing shops, some random knick-knack stores (Jesus bobblehead), and so so many Captain Candy stores.  We also finally got to see the narrow canals, the litany of bridges, and the narrow streets.  It was pretty much as advertised; we just wish the weather was better.  Then again, with better weather the streets might have been even more crowded.

Piazza San Marco was a bit of a letdown, as much of the square was covered by several inches of water.  People were walking around in these brightly colored plastic boots that went on over their shoes, with bright blue, bright orange, bright pink, etc.  It looked fairly ridiculous, both the people and the whole scene.  Justin commented “I think the Vegas version might be equally authentic.”  We agreed the Vegas version would also be dry.  Over by Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) there was a giant Christmas tree, not far from the two famous columns.

After getting our fill of the area we walked back towards the Rialto Bridge area, not on any defined path.  On our walk we saw a puppy trying to socialize with an adult Frenchie - it was slow going.  We tried in vain to find a good vantage point for the Rialto Bridge.  We crossed over the bridge onto the west side, and Crystal saw two young women on a gondola, but they were just looking at their phones instead of the scenery - how very 2022.  The sun almost peeked out, but then it started raining instead.  Around that same time, we saw what we assume was a funeral, and a funerary boat (instead of hearse). 

We had lunch reservations at Osteria da Alberto, and we got there a little early, so we just (carefully) walked in a circle, trying not to inadvertently get lost, killing time until Dewey and Clarita showed up.  Basically the whole menu was seafood, with the exception of two steak dishes.  But the server told us that the steak dishes were replaced with a steak special today, so Justin had basically one choice.  We all split a cheese plate to start.  Instead of a bottle of wine, we got a liter of house wine, like in Puerto, with the tiny glasses like in Puerto.  Clarita ordered cuttlefish, Crystal got seabream, and Dewey got seabass.  Both of the fishes came out whole.  Everyone liked their dishes, but the seabass got rave reviews.

After lunch, we split up again.  We walked around a bit, then took a boat to the Hilton Stucky, which was supposed to have a nice bar with a great view back towards Venice.  We waited 30 minutes for the boat to take us over there.  Once we got there, we went up the elevator to the bar - it wasn’t set to open until 17:00, and it was only 15:30, so we just turned around, dejected, and headed back to San Marco on the boat we’d just gotten off.  Crystal asked if Justin wanted to watch the World Cup (Portugal v Morocco), and we decided to just do that.  We found a random bar that we’d walked by earlier in the day that looked cozy and not too loud, Hey Rich.

There was a Portuguese couple a couple tables over, and then another Portuguese woman and her daughter came in.  There were a couple other people in the bar, but we couldn’t tell whether they were supporting Morocco or Portugal.  We wanted Morocco to win, just because it’s incredibly rare for any country outside of Europe or South America to make the semifinals.  Given the other folks in the bar, however, we weren’t too vociferous in our support.  Morocco scored a goal just before intermission, and almost immediately thereafter there was a near-amazing goal from Portugal that instead hit the crossbar.  

The second half was a nonstop attack from Portugal, with probably 90% of the possession in the Morocco half of the pitch.  There were a couple close calls, both ways, but no more goals.  A Morocco player received a red card with about 8 minutes left, which made things even more interesting.  To our surprise the Portuguese guy in the bar got up and paid before the game was even over, which was shocking to us, especially since Portugal was down only one goal and Portugal was now playing a man up.  Ronaldo was crying after the loss, presumably because this was probably his last (and best) shot at a World Cup.  The proprietor put on some music after the game ended, and it was Stevie Wonder - how coincidental.

We didn’t stay too much longer, walking back to the hotel and getting ready for dinner.  We met Dewey and Clarita and had a short walk to Alle Corone, avoiding getting lost this time.  Chatting about our respective days, Dewey and Clarita hadn’t had any issues at St Mark’s, and we surmised it was the tides - we had not considered that as a possibility.  The restaurant was fancier than we expected, with options for an 8 course dinner, a 6 course dinner, or a la carte.  Since Justin couldn’t eat the stuff on the multi-course menus, we just did a la carte, as the multi-course meals had to be for everyone at the table.

We all got an aperitivo (a Campari spritz or something along those lines), then ordered what we thought was a Carmenere - in hindsight we are not sure if it actually was a Carmenere varietal, or rather a different varietal from the Carmenere region, but it was was excellent.  [Looking it up after the fact, the wine, Ca' Orologio Rel√≥gio Rosso del Veneto, was indeed a red blend with Carmenere grapes.]  As for the food, Crystal got pork belly, Dewey got either lamb or a turbo filet (we can’t remember), and both Justin and Clarita had ravioli with duck.  We ordered another bottle of wine, but had to get a different bottle since we’d finished the last Carmenere, so we tasked the sommelier with finding us something as close as possible.  To his/her credit, the second bottle did taste very similar.  We chatted about a variety of topics for a couple of hours, and had probably 1-2 more glasses of wine than was optimal, but overall it was a very good dinner.  We went back to the room and went straight to sleep, we’re assuming around 22:30-23:00 or so.

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