Seasons Greetings from Milan & Venice - December 2017

Hi friends and family, 

After returning from Germany and Mitteleuropa we didn’t think we would be moving far from home for a while; then our dear friends the Wilds, Michael, Jill and David, made us an offer we just couldn’t refuse: a room with a view and en suite bathroom on the Grand Canal in Venice for the holidays. Almost impossible to resist. We found tickets on British Air from SFO direct to London and then on to Milan. All sounded and was fabulous until we started feeling odd on the plane and then felt more strange and disoriented than the usual jet lag at the airport and on the train into Milan, and then by the time we got to our wonderful rental in Milan we realized we were both really sick. We went to bed, which thank god was comfortable, and slept for days. We saw almost nothing of Milan in our 4.5 days there. Very strange and surreal to be that sick when you are accustomed to more or less robust health, but there you are.

Did get out a few times to move our bodies around, and have a bite of something, pretty much so we could go back to sleep. 

The ethereal Milan Cathedral

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Our super stylish Milan apartment; the loft, with the bedroom and office, has a glass floor.

Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore with its Roman columns. 

The interior was very cold. Now you’ve seen about as much of Milan as we have.

We debated whether we should stay in Milan another day to truly rid ourselves of all traces of our illness, as we certainly didn’t want to pass this bug on to anybody, especially our good friends. The internet said you are only contagious up to 24 hours after your fever disappears, and another site said you are contagious only the first couple days after coming down with the flu, so we warned the Wilds no kissing or hugging and that we were on our way. 

Vaporetto (boat-bus) down the Grand Canal.

Era, David and Jill stepping out for a hunter gatherer provisions trip.

A local bakery for some special panettone

Welcome to Venezia! Have a seat. Won’t you join us for some veal roast, risotto with artichoke hearts and a lovely salad. (Michael, Jill, David and Don)

Next day, Christmas Eve, Michael and Era coming down our shabby chic stairs.

This is not the weather we expected, but it’s great.

Michael, Jill and David Wild

Glorious weather

From Punta della Salute in Venice, looking towards San Marco.

Heard on a podcast that Venice had much stronger ties with the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople than it did with Rome or Milan or Florence or the rest of Italy, thus the Turkish architectural influence.

Deck/dock at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Mirror-like canals

Few people around the back roads

Men in black.

Catching some rays with kitty

Line crew. Preparing cotechino and lentils, a traditional holiday food. Delicious.

Christmas Eve. The cotechino sausages have just the perfect note of umami gaminess. 


Christmas Day - another day dawns, crisp and sunny.

Men in Black II

I don't know how we missed getting a photo of our Christmas goose; carried by hand (by David) from a farm in the Venetian countryside, then roasted by Michael in our Xmas tradition. Not as luscious as the Parisian goose, which we are told spent the last week of its life on a diet of milk; much more tender than our Bay Area goose. The Venetian version is certainly very tasty and its innards were very tender. 

Jill had managed to take this photo of the chef with his goose. As they say in Italy, clean meat. They told us at the charcuterie that the reason our mortadella didn't taste anything like their mortadella is because our American meat is dirty. I'm afraid it's true. 

This color is not touched up, a view from our apartment.

Ciao and Happy Holidays from Venezia,

Era and Don