Of Canals and Cars

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You may be wondering why I’m posting a picture of birdseed.

But, it’s not birdseed, it’s actually…Choc-X!

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And I realize I just sounded like an infomercial lady. My apologies. I just love finding dessert masquerading as a meal. See? “The crisp roasted Swiss muesli with chocolate” – or, in other (my) words, chocolate with a few granola pieces thrown in. Love it. I found it at my hotel breakfast this morning, and tossed it in my bag to eat while waiting for my train (to Venice!!!). I just wish I had found it sooner. Guess my hotel caught a lucky break there.

Anyway, as stated earlier, today I arrived in Venice…and so did my dad! I know, I know. I write a whole post about traveling alone and then my dad just shows up? Please, hold your horses, your pigs, your puppies. My dad is on summer break (the perks of being a professor), so he’s coming to vacation in Italy for only a few days. After that, I’ll be continuing on to Santorini solo. Plus, I think you’ll quite enjoy hearing about him.

Fun Facts of the Day:
1) Today, my dad showed up wearing a lovely black cross-body man purse (more affectionally known as the murse). I’m sure if I stopped here, you’d have a pretty accurate representation of him. But, I do have to cut him some slack. The murse seems to be quite the trend around here. In fact, the other day, I saw a man toting my exact purse in red!…and I will openly admit that I was just a teensy bit jealous.
2) My dad also accepted a ride in a stranger’s car to come pick me up from the train station. This is much less OK by me, especially since he likes to constantly remind me of safe traveling habits. Can you imagine the headlines if that car ride had gone south? “American man gets robbed after jumping into stranger’s car” or “Absent-minded professor is mysteriously absent.” *Shudder*
3) My dad decided that the man most likely to pickpocket him in St. Mark’s Square was an older gentleman in a suit doing a Sudoku. My dad also likes to do Sudoku, so I’m not exactly sure what that means.
4) My dad also has an insane sweet tooth, so get ready for lots of pastry excitement! Speaking of which…

On the way to Rialto Bridge today, we first stopped at Tonolo Pasticceria for some sustenance. We picked a very chocolate-y looking sachertorte, and a cream puff known as a bene…something (I didn’t quite catch the last part, sorry!). The cream puff was absolutely divine – very light, eggy (Does that sound weird? It’s very tasty), filled with both vanilla and chocolate pastry cream.

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I had pretty high hopes for the sachertorte, as I generally do for anything chocolate. I bit into it and started to smile, when suddenly, halfway down, I tasted…the apricot.

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Now (since I have used google search to educate myself), I realize that sachertorte traditionally has an apricot center. But, I am a just a bit of chocolate purist. Give me some chocolate, add some…chocolate…then maybe a smidgen of chocolate sauce? I think I’ve gotten better over the past years – I can appreciate a good chocolate dessert with raspberry sauce. And, I really love cracking those chocolate oranges that seem to pop up every December. But sometimes I just can’t get behind these chocolate/fruit combinations…especially when I am (stupidly) not expecting them.

To recover from the sneaky sneaky fruit, we decided to stop at a gelateria (really, it wasn’t that bad…this is clearly just an excuse for me to eat another dessert)! Maybe you thought that I’d be done with gelato after yesterday. But, I think now is a great time to tell you the statistic that Francesco shared with me yesterday: 90% of Italians eat at least one scoop of gelato a day. NINETY percent! Not one to spurn tradition, I decided on a very unique Noce e Fichi (Walnut and Fig) gelato.

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I’ve recently become quite enamored with figs – dried figs, organic fig newtons, figgy fig fig. This gelato was no exception.

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I loved the sweet base flavor with just a hint of walnut, peppered with actual bits of fig fruit. See, I can appreciate the fruit when I know it’s coming!

After a train trip, car danger, and multiple bus rides, Day 1 in Venice is finally over. Tomorrow, check in as I attempt to master the art of making tiramisu!

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