And here, in front of our bow, the mooring pier. The day is coming to an end, it’s about 6 o’clock in the afternoon. After doing sunbathing, swimming, preparing a quick lunch on the flybridge of our houseboat, a nice ride on a bike and going shopping, it’s time to slow down. Silence replaces the chattering, and the friends go below deck to have a shower.
It’s almost here, the moment for our happy hour, the worldwide tradition, which in Italy reaches its highest levels of competitiveness. You can ask any Venetian about their opinion on a happy hour, they will say that Venetians are the champions of the world.
Some love wine, others prefer a beer, others again like a Gin Tonic: depending on their town of origin. But of this be sure, if there is a Venetian on board, he will extract, just as a magician form his top hat, 2 sacred bottles, a red and an orange one. Those who do not know them, and believe me: there are still a lot, look at them with mixed feelings of suspect and curiosity.
Then we break through the hesitation. From the kitchen on board they go upstairs to the panoramic patio, in random order: 8 stumpy and stable glasses (they must not tip over), chips and snacks, the commander sits down on the largest and most comfortable seat, and then the music, that starts softly, then grows.
It’s no longer time for an aperitif… it’s time for Spritz
The mixture is made of 3 elements
- Sparkling white wine (the best would be a Prosecco),
- Fizzy water (the best would be Selzer)
- Aperol, or Campari (the purists prefer “Bitter”). In 3 equal parts, a chunk of citrus, ice.
This magic potion, the Spritz, is very much loved and appreciated. Here in the Veneto Region it represents a cultural heritage.
We must inevitably pay homage to history, which teaches us that the legendary name “Spritz” stems from Austrian origins and dates back to the times of Austrian domination in Veneto, in the eighteenth century. Back in the days, the Austrians did not appreciate the alcohol content of the wine and they watered it down by adding fizzy water. (hence the name Spritz, from the verb “spritzen” – “splash”)
This would be a really evocative anecdote, if it wasn’t for the fact that even the idea of watering down wine is considered a crime. At least here in this area.
Anyway, how it so happens, unwitting madness became unintentional genius. And in the shadow of the bell tower of San Marco this genius took roots.
The long-awaited moment of the Happy Hour with a god spritz, on board, overlooking the lagoon becoming fiery red in the sunset, when the boats stop sailing, is just heavenly.
After 6 o’clock it is quickly 8 o’clock and it’s time to get ready for dinner.
There is a cosy little restaurant 200m further on, not far from here. What do you think, shall we go there?
To be honest I’ve already eaten quite a lot of “sfurizzi” (another story for another time) and I’ve had enough to drink, I’m not really in the mood of going there…
You know what? This evening I’d rather stay here, rocking a little longer ; let’s finish these two bottles and go to bed early. We will go to the restaurant tomorrow, when we are done with rocking.