It wasn’t until we arrived in Bologna that we realized Italy really is closed in August. Our first hint was when a Couch Surfer wrote to us asking why we were coming in August when everyone is out of town on holidays, tourists fill the streets, and many of the shops and restaurants close their doors for the month. Well, we certainly didn’t plan for it. The reality of the situation came crashing down when we arrived at Stefino Veg, an all vegan ice cream parlor, only to find the door closed and a small sign saying the staff would be on holidays from August 6 to 18.
In my post about Venice, I mentioned that we didn’t stay in the city but took the train from Padova. The Couch Surfing hosts in Venice are pretty maxed out with requests. Some will host you but in exchange for meeting their crazy demands, like entering into a video taped wrestling match. Seriously. Given this, we were very happy to have found a friendly host in nearby Padova who was eager to show us the city, share home cooked vegan meals, and introduce us to a variety of Italian beverages.
Falafel…in Venice?!? It’s sad, I know. But what else were two budgeting vegans to do? There are no vegetarian restaurants in Venice, a city that feels more like a theme park than a place where people live. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful, if not magical, city and a great place to get lost for a day or two. There are expensive tourist restaurants where we could have found pasta with tomato sauce, pizza without cheese or a salad, but we decided against that route. Instead, we ate breakfast before commuting to Venice from Padova, and returned home for dinner.