Maurisimo! Fame (‘hungry’ in Italian) !!

1st dec- 3rd december Porto Viro/Venice

(apologies for no photos for this part as my two trigger happy friends have not sent me anything and all 3 people taking photos all the time is just really strange unless it’s a photo club)

We arrived in the evening, in a nearest train station to Porto Viro. Our host came to fetch us in a car as her house is still a good half an hour drive away. We said hi to Svetlana, whom we discovered in broken English and gadis rempah’s scrap of Italian, that she is Russian and had come to Italy for love and stayed since. Her daughter came over with her and is now a teenager, and Svetlana also just recently married her long term Italian lover. She taught us to say ‘fame’ which means ‘hunger’ in Italian, so when dinner was ready and Maurizio reached home, he was received by a chorus of ‘Maurizio, fame!!’ from a bunch of Malaysias in his warm living room. He laughed and we proceeded to dinner, Italian way. There was lovely homemade bread, served with olive oil, fresh tomatoes and cheese for starters. There was spaghetti with mince pork for first course, roast chicken for second course and lots of wine that I now don’t remember if there was any dessert, just remember us learning Italian from Maurizio, with our favourite phrase being a combo word of his name and bellisimo (beautiful, wonderful) ‘Maurisimo’, laughing lots and at one point, I was dozing off from the wine and waking up to discover more food being served. The weary travellers, crawled into bed, satiated from laughter and tipsy from food.

The next day we caught an early train, early for this bunch is about 9am, to Venice. We reached an hour later, to a drizzling but still packed of tourists island. Other than Paris (which each of us have been to at a different time), Venice has to be the most popular destination we travelled to. Mostly because we wanted to see it before it sinks. Although I have been here before with my family, I was too young and silly to appreciate cultures and people that aren’t familiar. This time, the three stooges took the less tourists path, getting lost in the labyrinth of pathways behind the shops and between people’s residents. Once we even followed dinosaurs footpath that led us to the Natural History Museum, who knew that Venice has that too? We brought bread from the local bakers, and drank overpriced wine at a local bar. We reached the stars of Venice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_St._Mark) around sunset, which makes the buildings even more magnificent and ethereal than ever. What do we know about art or architecture? We paused, we held each other, we sigh. Then we took a slow stroll back towards the train station, pausing for another round of wine (i’m mostly sipping off my fellow travellers as I have a low alcohol tolerance that is renown in my genetic ancestry), and this time, it was a truly local pub that Venetian go to, wine was around 1 euro a glass and according to my travelling experts, very good indeed! We also bought a bottle (those big mineral water bottle) from a wine-seller (the kind that sells wine whole sale from the barrel) back for our lovely host. Then we happily wave goodbye to Venice and all its glorious capitalist history towards a home-cook Italian meal.

On the third and last day in Porto Viro, we cooked kari mee for our hosts. Then they got us bicycles, 2 theirs and 2 from their neighbours and we cycled around this small town. There’s a heavy mist about which somehow led us to feel like we’re cycling in cold Russia. It was my first time cycling in Europe, it was such a lovely ride! I must get a bicycle when I settle somewhere. Then in the evening, very reluctantly, our host sent us off to the train station and we said farewell to this amazing family, quaint little town and very delicious country. Next up, the Balkans!

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