All posts filed under: Travel

al merca rialto

Hidden Venice with The Roman Guy

In Venice, it’s never too early for an aperitivo. Especially at the weekend, when spritz o’clock chimes at around 10am, and the campi fill with locals drinking and putting the world to rights. So it was without any qualms that Dom and I knocked back a prosecco at 11am last Saturday, in a cichetteria tucked away just off Rialto. We were on the first stop of the Hidden Venice Food Tour from The Roman Guy – a tour company that specialises in taking visitors off the beaten track, and feeding them pretty well while they’re at it. And in Venice, that’s an honourable challenge. You see, in a city with the highest ratio of restaurants to people in Italy, it can be tricky to sort the wheat from the chaff. Faced with so much choice, skipping the gloomy bacaro in favour of a well-lit restaurant a few steps from St Mark’s Square is a tempting option. But of course, it’s almost always the wrong one. Instead, just as our tour guide Rossella advised us, follow Read More

Day Five: Crickets

It must be a funny thing, to live with the constant hum of crickets – like tinnitus, I suppose. A long time today I sat listening to those crickets, under the shade of the old olive trees in the garden. We’ve been slow and sluggish today – fragile from devilishly strong wine, bottled like vegetable oil and sold for €2 a piece. We tried to drive up Mount Aenos in the morning, but it was hot and we kept on getting lost on roads that turned into gravel tracks. Up in the hills we passed a crumbling village – little left but walls falling in on themselves and one stark white church – its garden swept and walls freshly painted. I wonder how many people ever hear its bell, considering the only inhabitants we found were mountain goats and a skinny dog. In the end, we gave the day to the heat, and only when the sun began to set did we venture to our cove for a swim. Hair still damp and skin salty, we Read More

Day Four: Skala

Skala reminds me of holidays as a child, in Spain, where you pay €6 for a pair of sunbeds and stay there all day. We do just that. The sea is calm and flat, and the salt hums like crickets. Shoals of silver fish swim between my feet, so perfectly blended into the ripples of the water that I wonder whether they’re there at all. There is something very still about this place, almost lifeless. I wander round the souvenir shops and find all the pieces of beloved tat that lined my bedroom shelves as a kid. Gifts brought back from places exactly like this – a too small pair of slippers (pom poms and all),  a puffa fish hanging from a piece of string, a tiny ceramic pot decorated with pictures of the gods – I already know what the perfume balm smells like before I open it. Part of me wants to buy it all. Even the slice of Kefalonian Kataifi – a type of baklava – takes me back to a holiday to Turkey aged six, Read More