Today is the day of the milonga! We brought Tango shoes and nice outfits. Ive told Don about this for the past year. This year I brought my own partner and we will dance. Last year, as a beginner, I got only one dance and watched. This year will be different!
So Tuesday morning we first browsed the Rialto fish market, now in danger of extinction. Historically this parcel of land was always owned by the fishmongers, and there were 30-35 market stalls selling fish. Now there are 5 remaining, as others have died off, gone out of business due to rising costs, etc. The City of Venice is doing nothing to support or help the remaining marketeers because they know that once these final ‘mongers are gone, they can claim this valuable piece of real estate which has not been available for over 1,000 years. So, get here while you can because it could be high rise condos in a few years!
Truly, there was such beauty in the frutti di mare, and I honestly wished that I had simply grown up here and knew what to do with these creatures and how to cook them in the most succulent and palate-pleasing manner. But, ahimè (alas), all I could do was ogle.
We sought out All’Arco, another cicchetti spot which opens daily at 7\30am and caters to the fishmongers. Phil, of “Somebody Feed Phil,” came here and raved about it, and we were close by, an outside table was available, so perché no. . .why not!
Why now? I’ll tell you why not. . .The cichetti are beautiful, on toasted bread, they have a few tramezzini but in NO WAY do they compare with the cicchetti at Schiavi. Lesson learned.
So now it was time to scout out Livio Sanudo, the gym where the tango dance would be held Tuesday night. Off we went, confidence in hand, walked toward CAmpo San Polo. With an address of 2360 San Polo in hand, we couldn’t go wrong.
Errrrr. . . This IS Venice. Venice, the one of labyrinths, addresses that don’t match, the streets that go no where or lead you right into water. We walked and asked for an hour. Honestly, I WAS HERE LAST YEAR, and surely I would recognize something. Street signs have been repainted. I can do this!!
As I became more grumpy and Don became more silent, we finally admitted defeat and decided to return to our apartment. I considered a short dive off the Accademia Bridge but hey, I have too many tango shoes and need to dance in them before I die!!We would do reconnaissance; we would look at the map, use Google maps, use Apple maps, write out each twist and turn, we would do screen shots of maps, and would return, shoe bags in hand for the milonga. We can do this. We are smart people.
A nap, a pizza, and an attitude adjustment later, we set out, shoe bags in hand, disembarking the vaporetto at San Silvestro. We diligently followed each twist and turn. We asked directions at the Birraria from a young man who grew up in the area. “Oh, it’s a difficult place to find. Someone else asked one time and I never saw him again.” He directed us, sort of, and what he described matched my recollection. We can do this!!
One and a half hours later, and four direction-seeking questions asked of locals, waiters, and young teens, watching and hoping for anyone else carrying a shoe bag, and at times, imagining we heard tango music which we did not, we returned to the Birraria.
With aching feet and hips, and knowing that even if we found the location we were too exhausted to dance, we hung our heads and found our way back to the vaporetto.
Abbiamo sconfitto a Venezia.
We were defeated by Venice.
We love your charm, we discovered some lovely and quiet back areas and trattorias, and you completely got us this time.