Italia in 40: Day 17…Art, Wine, and Rats (*pictures added to Day 16)

Sorry for the delay in publishing yesterday’s blog, but night before last the server for the internet here at my hotel went down and logged me out of WordPress. When I started to log back in last night, it asked me for a backup code from Google Authenticator and I could not find where I had saved my codes. This morning I went through my entire picture library from this year, found the screenshot of the codes, and was finally able to log in. I generated new codes, updated my mobile number and connected to the mobile app-so, long story short, that should not happen again. Thanks for your patience.

Yesterday was a lot of fun!

I walked from my hotel to the Arsenale where the Venetian navy was based. I met up with my friends again, but they were eating so I went next door and had a glass of wine and then walked down the street to Majer and found my new favorite food: Arancini. Majer is by far the cleanest place I have eaten in Venice. The staff was nice and they serve desserts, hot dishes, snacks, sandwiches, and alcohol! There are several locations in Venice, so be sure to check them out if you are ever here.

I got a wine spritz, a bottle of water and two Arancini for 7 Euros.

So far, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio and Arancini are the cheapest foods I have found in Italy. As I explained before, the former is just spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes, but Arancini are balls of rice filled with a little dollop of minced meat, spinach, peas, etc. They are about the size of two golf balls and are usually only a Euro or two a piece…definitely a great deal and super tasty (although, not very healthy). I got two Arancini for lunch (one with minced meat and another with spinach) and then met back up with my friends.

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We took the vaporetto all the way from the Arsenale to the Accademia. The vaporettos here are SO crowded, so I would highly suggest not taking luggage or large bags on board. There is no such thing as an occupancy limit and I have never seen a life vest or any other safety precautions on board, so they make me a little nervous, but outside the peak hours they are a really easy way to get around (although the schedule and map are ridiculous).

Once we got to the Accademia I realized my Venice Unica pass did not work there, so I had to pay 15 Euros for entry. There is a discount for students of the Fine Arts (Art History included), whether you study in the U.S. or abroad. I did not know this, so I was just honest and had to pay the full price.

*you can’t take pictures in the Accademia and they watch you like a hawk, so I have nothing to show*

It is a really awesome museum though. If you like art, specifically paintings, it is the best museum I’ve been to in Italy, so far. There is also a large Modern Art collection at the Peggy Guggenheim museum, right near the Accademia and it includes a piece by Salvador Dali. I believe its 14 Euros to get into that museum, so for under 30 Euros you could have a full day of art in Venice!

After the Accademia I walked to the other side of Venice with some friends because one of them wanted to get their hair done. All of the salons said they closed at six, but by 5:15, the doors were already closed.

That is one thing that takes some getting used to here in Italy, closing and opening times aren’t really set in stone (unless it’s a museum and they will kick you out right on time, ha-ha).

After not being able to find a hair salon, we stopped at a bar close to my friends’ hotel, got some dinner (two more Arancini for me) and a drink, and then went on a wine run. We finished our wine around 8:30, then I went out for more. By then it was starting to storm, but I made it to the store and back in about 10 minutes!

People always say I am the worst at navigation, but after yesterday I really think I’m secretly good at it. I was able to navigate from the Accademia to their hotel on the other side of Rialto bridge, then from their hotel to a wine store and back, and then from their hotel to my hotel-all without a map! I think the reason I suck at navigating in America is that I always with people I trust, so I do not pay attention and I am never that scared of getting lost. Here, I am super attentive to details because I am so scared of being alone and getting lost, so I guess that helps. Also, I’m better at navigating by sight and with physical maps, rather than using street numbers or GPS (although, I would die without the GPS on my iPhone).

After we finished our wine, we went down to this little bar that had just opened by their hotel. The bartender was named Otil (sp?) and he was from Bangladesh and his boss (the owner of the bar) was there and he was an old Italian man named Francesco. Otil was AWESOME! He took the aux cord out and let us put our phones on the bar speakers and play whatever music we wanted. I got a beer to split with a friend, but we hung out there for a while. When they started to close, Otil started cleaning and blared the music. He played All the Single Ladies and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. We all danced out in front of the bar and it was hilarious! I love meeting nice people when I’m traveling, but it also makes me sad because I know I won’t ever see them again. I think Otil was training and just learning how to pour, so he practiced with us. If you want to find it, it’s in a street stall in or around the Campo San Giacomo di Rialto

Otil bustin’ a move to All the Single Ladies
Francesco being a boss!



My friends were going to walk me home, but we ended up parting ways after we crossed the Rialto bridge. One of my friends said she had a dream about me near this supermarket we passed last night. I took pictures of it, so I know where to go. I’m going to go check it out before I leave!

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Last night on my way home from my friends’ hotel, I did get the crap scared out of me though and I saw another giant rat. The three of us split three and three-quarter bottles of wine and then I split a beer with my friend, but they all started taking shots and that’s when I decided to peace out. Well, it was about 11:30 and I had to walk back to my hotel. I got about half way there and was exiting this dark alley into a open spot when someone on the ground in my peripheral vision yells out to me. I screamed SO loud and said several cuss words, before I realized it was a gypsy man pandering for money. He thought it was the funniest thing and started laughing and saying something in Italian or Roma or whatever language he was speaking. Then about 50 yards later, a giant rat scurried along the wall and went into a crack. I think they must come out around dusk and when it rains. So nasty!

I got back to my hotel and then discovered the problem with my blog so I just gave up and went to bed…

Today it is supposed to storm again (at least I think so, I hear thunder), so I am going to shower and go eat and then try to find a place to do laundry.

Talk to y’all tonight! 🙂

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