13 June, 2006

21. Café Chioggia

"It would be hard to imagine a better location for lunch than this", we said to each other one day in London. From our window seat in a restaurant called 'La Strada' in St Paul's Churchyard, we were looking straight up the steps to the main entrance of that magnificent domed cathedral.

In Venice we found somewhere at least as good. This picture shows that from our table in the Café Chioggia we looked directly across the Piazzetta, the ceremonial entrance to the city, to one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the world, the beautiful Doge's Palace.

It was late afternoon in winter, just on dusk. The warm yellow lights of the restaurant were contrasting with the cold blue twilight out in the Piazzetta, and as the piano behind us inside the restaurant gently played, we sat and enjoyed a simple glass of house red, a glass of house white, and a small bottle of Coca-Cola.

I wasn't expecting the drinks to be cheap, but when I settled the bill for the three beverages, I was startled by their cost. For the same amount of money later that same evening we were able to buy three delicious meals at our favourite Taverna in Dorsoduro. For the Coke alone, we paid exactly 89 times the amount we would have paid for a similar amount of that Cola at our local supermarket at home.

It was worth every penny just to be there.

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