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Black gondola with gondolier on a canal in Venice

Shore leave Venice

August 4th, 2018 | Landgänge

The early bird catches the Venetian worm. Between 6 and 10 am, the lagoon city shows up the most beautiful – before the endless tourist-lindworm rolls over the Rialto Bridge and overflows the famous St. Mark’s Square. “Early in the morning and late in the evening, you can enjoy Venice’s morbid charm and unique atmosphere the best,” the captain recommends.

Shore leave Venice Shore leave Venice

Once the ship has been moored, we make our way. We walk. But of course you can also take the vaporetto boat directly from the cruise terminal or from Piazzale di Roma to the centre of Venice. On foot you are up to St. Mark’s Square about 40 to 50 minutes on the way. My dearest captain always goes on foot.

Before 10 am, Venice is most beautiful

Early in the morning we walk through the awakening Venice. Glorious. The restaurants and shops are just beginning to open. Goods are delivered by boat. There are hardly any tourists on the way. One could call it almost contemplative. The fish market near the Rialto Bridge will bring you to life. More and more Venetians are coming towards us with shopping baskets or bags on wheels. This is the real Venice, we are happy.

Sweet breakfast and Mercato del Pesque

Before we visit the market we enjoy a small breakfast in the Pasticceria “Dolce Vita” near Rialto Mercato. Yes, life can be sweet, no question. At the sight of the seductive, sweet sins in the display, our mouths water. We choose croissants with pistachio cream filling. As usual in Italy, you drink your coffee standing in the tiny sales room. The room is full of Italians rushing to work or to the market. A wonderful mess!

Strengthened, we turn to the market. The fish market is extraordinary! All the delights that the sea has to offer are displayed there in abundance. Lobster and scallops, scampi and crayfish, sardines and monkfish, snails and octopus are fresh and appetizing next to each other. Flowers, vegetables, sausage, cheese – this market leaves nothing to be desired. Very sympathetic is that the fish rests open on tables and not in huge sales cars behind glass (so-called “spit protection”). Our markets in Germany sometimes resemble wagon castles, the goods very far away from the customer. Fortunately, that is different in Venice.

We almost leave the market a bit sad. How much we would like to buy some fish and seafood, especially, because we know that a dash of lemon juice and some salt would be enough, everything so fresh. But anyhow, on board we do not have to starve…

Trattoria alla Madonna - hospitality for more than 60 years

We have an appointment for lunch and meet again with our Italian ship’s doctor. Admittedly, we cannot enjoy the way to the restaurant as much as our early morning walk to the market. Venice seems to be barely able to breathe under the weight of many, many tourists. Of the 54,000 Venetians living in Venice today, no one seems to be around the door at this time. The balance between tourism and normal life has long been tipped.

At the Trattoria alla Madonna, we immerse ourselves in a quiet and wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. Our friend, the doctor, has known this restaurant since 1967. At that time he had operated one of the waiters, who invited him into the restaurant to say thank you. Since then, the doctor has been a loyal guest again and again.

The guest room is traditionally furnished and decorated with old paintings. The invariably male waiters wear white jackets and are extremely attentive and accommodating. The menu offers everything that makes seafood and fish lovers happy. Including a number of Venetian specialties. We opt for raw scampi, cockles (vongole) and mussels as a starter. In the main course we chose the grilled monkfish and the squid in the ink with white polenta. The latter is optically quite special, but the taste is unique. The unsolicited conclusion is home-made vanilla ice cream with Frutti di Bosco. Gorgeous!

We start the way back to the ship and drink a small, strong coffee on the way. The footpath does well after the opulent meal. We agree that for Venice, this sleepy beauty, it’s worth getting out of bed early.

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