Monday, September 10, 2007

Coming Home

Well, I have gotten the cold that so often seems to follow a long air trip. I feel fuzzy headed and as if there was a gray cloud over my eyes and mind--never mind the drips.

But coming home can also be a part of the on the road travel. Travel can be an adventure; but it can also be cosy with its own ritual observances.

Starting backwards with Venice, I stay at the Cipriani one of the world's great hotels. This year it felt a bit sad as the brilliant Natale Rusconi is retiring. H will still be a friend; but I will sorely miss him at the hotel even though he has brilliantly trained a staff that will take over from him. My first night I always go to one of the hotel's restaurant, Cip's. It happens to be at the back of the hotel and is setting on a wooden dock with fabulour views of the rest of Venice and the Piazetta. The food is very good, the wine list fine and the service impeccable. It is a wonderful start to a Venetian stay without feeling harrased or driven to hurry out.

The day starts for me with breakfast at the out door restaurant in front of the hotel. There is a buffet full of fresh fruit and fruit compotes as well as cereals and prosciutto and soft sliced sausage. I am not a breakfast eater--yes, yes, I know one should have a good meal to start the day; but instead I have a banana for the potassium, perhaps some stewed apricots and pot full of excellent espresso.

After a short stop in the room, it is out to the pool which is possibly the best in the world. When I leave my key at the desk before going I work with the superb concierge staff on dinner reservations for the week. There is always one night at da Fiore worth every penny and many at less famous but good places.

The pool is one of the greatest in the world--Olympic in size and filled with a cocktail of salt and fresh water. After a laze, I do my laps which make me feel that I have atoned for all of the meals and wine that I eat aand drink.

Tomorrow, I hope I will feel less foggy aand able to write about the the night time restaurants. Unless it is raining, lunch is at the little terrace that borders the canal and is informal with a salad bar that really has salads (baby arugula, lettuce, endive, tomatoes, chick peas, white beans, hard boiled eggs, olive oil packed tuna fish and much more. Alternatively, there are pastas, a superb club sandwich, a ne plus ultra hamburger and a variety of composed salads. The wine is invariably the house Soave (white) in a glass pitcher set in ice--either full sized, half sized or a darling quarter size.

And now I will take my cold to bed having had my own chicken soup with gluten-free Schar tiny egg noodles. If you have friends who must avoid gluten, do go on line and get some boxes of Schar in different sizes. i find the penne partiularly good.

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