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Italy, Here We Come!

ITALY | Friday, 19 June 2009 | Views [813] | Comments [7]

Do I fit in?

Do I fit in?

We blew back across Hungary in one day, spent a night in Graz, Austria, then pushed down South to spend four days in Padua, Italy.  The first afternoon we explored Padua on foot, and had our first exciting restaurant episode in Italy:  Anita expected artichoke hearts on her pizza, but got anchovies instead.  After exchanging pizzas with Vinnie, we headed staright for a bookstore and grabbed a copy of "I Speak Italian", which has come in pretty handy (Bernie now claims fluency in the language...yet...- he is still belching octopi and the cheese log he ordered).

First thing the next morning, we jumped on a train to Venice, got an all-day ticket for the water taxi, and wandered and looked among the throngs of other tourists.  Bernie got some cool new glasses (see photo), we drank extremely expensive coffee (see Bernie's expression) on the Piazza San Marco, and we wandered down more pedestrian dead ends than we thought possible.  Anita dining disaster #2:  ordered "Four-cheese gnocchi".  Safe, right?  How about if one of the cheeses is gorgonzola?  Traded with Vinnie again.  Bernie went out on a limb and ordered yet another pizza.  After lunch, a visit to the doge's palace, lots of good art, and lots of fun history tidbits (lots of sore necks from looking up).  That night, ate a late salad and gelato back in Padua (10 pm...still digesting).

Next day, washed the car and took a relaxing drive in the countryside, crossing the Po several times.  Had a good meal back in Padua.  Bernie finally went out on a limb and ordered carpaccio, expecting thinly sliced beef.  Instead, he got thinly sliced octopus, eating it all while Anita quietly gagged next to him.

Next day, we conquered the Padua tram system (after walking to and from the train station the day before), took the train to Verona, and realized that it was the hottest day yet on our trip.  We saw the Roman arena, still in use for operas and concerts, saw the balcony from which Juliet teased Romeo, and ate pizza for lunch (very brave)! 

Today, we drove from Padua (it was really a great hotel, they gave us a couple of bottles of wine to be saved for Scotland), drove south to the coast east of Genoa, along the coast, then north into the hills to the tiny town where we will spend two nights.  We stopped for lunch in a busy little restaurant...turned out that no one spoke english and the menu was given to us verbally by the waitress...we were pretty successful: Bernie ordered Lasagna al forno, Anita ordered spagetti ragu and Vinnie ordered Rissoto Marinara which consisted of slimy octopi and wet looking shrimps...but he ate it anyway.  Pizza again for dinner...I think we have all learned a valuable lesson.



Are you going to head south to Pompeii and Herculaneum?

  Vicki Jun 20, 2009 7:49 AM


Your food stories are amusing (the four-cheese gnocchi sounds killer-- sorry, Anita!) Sounds like the Italians like their fish. Was the octopus carpaccio raw?!
Weather looks beautiful from the pix. V and A, you'd better soak up that sun before heading north.
What's the name of the town you guys are in now?

  Philip Jun 20, 2009 11:16 AM


1) Food dramas LOL
2) Don't they have a McDonalds?
3) Does Bernie wear those cool sunglasses on the outside of his regular glasses like Mom used to do? That look will definitely reel the Euro babes in!
4) Are you males wearing the traditional speedos when lounging on the beach to fit in?
5) Bernie, are you still being asked for vague directions by sketchy females?
6) I'm thinking V wrote this latest entry. Fun to determine authorship. How did I do?

  Stephen the Excited Jun 21, 2009 2:49 AM


Vicki, we are staying up north. We are in Cassine (very small) and tomorrow head to Lake Maggiore. Then back to Germany.
The octopus was cooked but...
No speedos, no directions, lots of pizza and Fanta, and I now know that a baguette in Italy is a large log of mozzarella wrapped in pizza dough.
And, yes, V wrote the last entry - with editorial touching-up by A. And, unfortunately, they both are in control of the photo selection...

  Bernardo Jun 21, 2009 3:27 AM


Their is a simple solution so most of these food oriented problems. Start sampling the local hot sauces. Have you come across any good ones worth recommending?

  Brad E Jun 21, 2009 5:35 AM


Good idea with the hot sauces...however...none of their food is spicy and we didn't bring any hot sauces with us! Pizza, Pizza, Pizza...the new food group!

  anijensen Jun 21, 2009 5:38 AM


How does one get "thin slices" from an octopus? I'm guessing you'd have to start from the head down. Blech. :P
Mom- I'm with you on the Gnocchi. Grrrrrosss.

  Beth Jun 21, 2009 9:45 PM

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