mardi, juillet 17, 2007

Venice and Lotte au Curry Jaune Thaïlandais

Hubby took the day off and we set out all 10 of us to Venice for the day.

I've not been there since the Carnaval in February 1996.

And this was the first time that we visited the city as a couple.

But we were angry with each other in the car as we've forgotten the strollers. Fancy visiting a city in this hot weather WITH the babies WITHOUT at least a stroller...

And we were a little disgusted with the news that we received on our way driving there vis-à-vis the insurance premium that we would be expected to pay for the house : 1000 euros versus the 120 that we used to pay in Germany! Once again, how do the Italians cope? So many things are so much more expensive than elsewhere here.

Luckily Hubby used to visit Venice on business when he was working in Germany and had experience with parking in the city. For no cars of course are allowed in the city. Prices really vary depending on the parking even though the buildings/lots are next to one another. The one we went to was better for just a day trip, e.g. for 4 hours we paid 9 euros. It's next to the bus depot. Opposite to the parking we went to was another parking, but this one would be more suitable for overnight parking.

Once you've gotten rid of the car, you'll have to decide how you wish to visit the city. If you are strong and courageous (like I used to be), I would strongly recommend visiting Venice on foot. It's a lovely city with loads of little shops, museums etc in little alleys, walking would allow one to catch a maximum of what the city has to offer.

Otherwise, you'll want to hire a means of transportation which would have to be on water. Best not to be seasick-prone like Yours Truly. There again unless you have a loaded purse, you'll have to check out prices before you proceed. We were 10 and the first boat (small one) wanted 90 euros one-way for the trip to San Marco. The second we went to was the public ferry which would cost 6 euros per person one-way, 13 euros for a 12-hour validity period and so on. But you'll have to squeeze with loads of people on the ferry. The 3rd boat (another small one) asked us for 60 euros and that, we decided, was a deal. I would suggest that if you were not too numerous to hang around the public ferry counter and try to form a group of at least 10 with a few other tourists so as to hire a small boat together.

There is also the famous Gondola. For romantic couples with money to spare and a desire to risk the dirty waters of the canals. My opinion, of course.

Venice is lovely (I repeat myself) even though it is sinking and can be quite inconvenient. It is now also home to François Pinault's private Art Collection (Palazzo Grazzi). We will have to visit it another time though as we had 6 kids with us and too little time.

One of the shopping highlights besides the ubiquitous masks was jewellery made of Murano glass. I bought a little pendant for Baby Girl and could find nothing for myself as my fingers are too fine for the usual ring. Once we're no longer on a tight budget maybe I'll get some of those vases. Pretty and pricey.

Lunch though was nondescript. As a very touristic city, restaurants are usually tourist traps meaning that the food usually sucks. We ate a few rubbery paninis and some gelati forewarned being warned, making a mental note to return and spend a night so that we would be able to find a good restaurant and enjoy it the next time.

Hubby and his brilliant God-daughter C

It was fortunate having the Schwarzes and their extra arms to help catch or carry the babies. Us being the not-too-organised tourists, we were lucky to have the other couple armed with 2 city maps and telling us all where to go. We walked from San Marco back to where we parked our cars. Took us nearly 4 hours with the heat and the babies.

Originally we planned to go to the beach (maybe the one near Ferrara) after Venice, but as usual that was too ambitious. Especially when I had promised everyone a Lotte (Burbot) au Curry Jaune Thaïlandais for dinner that evening.
Picture taken in a hurry in the dark, but the burbot is a good fish for making a curry with as it is firm and consistent but not tough and chewy. I had it marinated quickly in Ground Turmeric, Mustard Seeds, Salt, Fenugreek Seeds and Anis Seeds before frying the pieces of fish quickly, setting them aside and then preparing the yellow Thai curry. Pineapple, grapes, cherry tomatoes (usually added to a red curry) etc add a touch of sweetness and acidity to the dish which was not unpleasant at all.

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