Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 28, 2013

Last Mountain Day

The weather man missed it today! Supposed to be a sunny morning and cloudy afternoon…..NO. So instead of driving to the top of the mountain like Flora suggested, we had a coffee in Arsiero with everyone in town, then headed up the valley again. The clouds kept rolling over us, but it looked brighter on up the valley into the Trentino Alto-Adige region. It was an interesting drive as we climbed in a hurry, again 180 + degree turns. We came back to the Veneto area for lunch at a place we had stopped for coffee Sunday….again, THE place…..it was full except for 1 table….all men and me. From the outside, again, nothing special, but the food was wonderful. The waitress’ helper made a big mistake and tried to deliver the apple strudel to us…..we had already finished and had no intention of dessert, but after I saw it…..HAD to have one to share. Yummy!

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The water just pours out of the mountain here. The noise of this waterfall is LOUD!! This is just a portion of the falls.

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I am sorry it was not a clear day, as the view of the villages down the valley is lovely. This is the best one we have, but it shows the depth of the valley….very impressive.

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Tomorrow we head back to Bologna but since it is only a 1 1/2 hour drive, we will stop in Ferrara for lunch and to see it again. It is to be SUNNY at 68 degrees…..better be! We have had a passenger in the back seat since May 2. It has not been sunny enough for it to get out of the car.

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We are glad we have explored this area of Italy even if the weather has not been the best. All of this country is beautiful, the food is wonderful and the people warm and friendly and are pleased to have Americans visit their area.

Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 27, 2013

Foodie Report

OK, here is the report on the one fancy dinner of the trip….really the only dinner. It was here at Giorgio e Flora where we are staying. Flora is the chef, not even 5 feet tall and a real dynamo. Very interesting menu with lots of flavors. Giorgio wanted to take our photo….we were concerned that just wearing jeans might be underdressed, but that is what everyone else had on too. Whew! But I have a really neat necklace I bought in Bologna for $10 that I forgot to wear; oh well.

20130527-094347.jpgWe shared a first course which was little phyllo packets with Asiago cheese served on dandelion greens with Basalmic vinegar….very good.

20130527-094526.jpgThen we each had a pasta; mine was tagliatelle with white and green asparagus in a leek sauce with saffron and slivered almonds.

20130527-094655.jpgLarry had penne with white ragu (veal meat).

20130527-094756.jpgLarry thought he HAD to try a desert and chose the dark chocolate soufflĂ© with vanilla ice cream, meringue crumbles and a mint leaf. The little hearts were cut out of something edible….do not know what.

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Today we drove to Asiago, just like the cheese. It is over a 3000 foot mountain so there were a lot of switchbacks It is one of the villages that are on a high plain and it is beautiful and pastoral. However, we felt like we were in Aspen or Telluride! Everything was too perfect and the architecture was the same as Colorado….or the British Columbia Rockies villages. I could not get a photo approaching Asiago, but this is another village….they look alike….tall thin campanile and snow covered mountains in the background.

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We ate lunch in an adjacent town and found this little trattoria off the main road….several trucks parked outside….YES! It was THE place to eat. The surprise is that the owner had attended Georgetown University, has been to Houston, and his son went to college in Tennessee….He said a US education is really important. We had a long conversation about politics, taxes etc after the other customers left. The food was delicious….this is Pasticcio….not Greek Pasticcio, but their version. It is made with crepes, asiago cheese and mushrooms. This is a half order!!! We shared one order or we would have been too stuffed to walk! We also split an antipasta plate of meats and cheeses with a surprise of potato salad! Very good.

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Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 26, 2013

Surprise!

Here is the 6 room B&B where we are staying. Giorgio & Flora is the name. She is a fantastic chef and he seems to be the manager. Details of their restaurant on another post.

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Here are 2 views we have from our room.

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At the top of those 2 peaks there really are buildings! How do they do that? We were going to go to one (there is a road that takes one to within a 15 minute walk to the top with a fantastic view) but, before we could get there this afternoon clouds rolled over it. We will try to do that early Tuesday morning.

So, taking the advice of Flora, we drove to this beautiful little place.

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There were a ton of cars parked along the narrow road and we could not understand why. The piazza in front of the church was full of people.

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I asked a man if there was a festa today. He said, “no, they are making a movie about the war.” So, I watched what was going on as I sketched a little bit.

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20130526-104422.jpg There is a lot of time between takes…..I was there for over an hour and they only shot 2 takes of about 30 seconds each!
The man I had asked about it came back to the square and we talked for a while and he told me that the film is about an Jewish Austrian young man whose family had left Austria during WWII and spent the war in an Italian mountain village. He went on to become a jazz musician, Oscar Klein. The man I had visited with left and Larry showed up after he was done sketching. We went to the bar for a coffee and there was the same man! He then read the article to me from the newspaper about the film and then he treated us to a coffee after telling everyone in the bar we were from Texas…..they are amazed that Americans show up in these places.

We had lunch in a slightly bigger town with what seemed like everyone in town. Apparently it was the day for First Communion as there were 3 groups of about 40 people each. They spend all afternoon eating so many courses….just amazing.

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Since the mountain was covered, we drove on up the narrow valley and visited a few villages. Only had a few sprinkles today and THAT is a big deal!

Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 25, 2013

Chess & Yummy Things

20130525-113611.jpgDrove by this today….too early for nachos though, so we drove on to the town of Marostica where we spent most of the day. It has fortress walls that run up the hill completely surrounding the town. There is a large castle at the base and a smaller one on top of the hill. Very impressive.

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This is not the castle at the bottom….it is a bank! The most unusual thing about this place is that in the middle of town is a large chess board. That is what the squares are In front of the bank. Every 2 years they play a game of chess with real horses and people. I made a photo of the poster….it would be fun to see.

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We had a coffee at a pastry shop that had the most amazing display of goodies….and this is just part of them!

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So for lunch we found a small osteria, very plain on the outside, but it was THE place to eat! It was packed so we had to eat outside, which was really nice….no rain!! We had roasted rabbit with polenta and chicken pieces with olives and peppers. This was after we shared a plate of Asiago cheese and meats.

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As we drove to our final 4 night stop the clouds got darker and darker, then rain…..but we managed to find this little B&B tucked away in the hills. The weather has cleared now and we can see the fantastic view. I will get a good photo tomorrow….we are FINALLY going to have nice, sunny, but cool weather for several days. Bravo!!

Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 24, 2013

Surprise!!

Here is part of the view from our room Wednesday afternoon…..see the neat little church?

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Here is the same view this morning!

20130524-110322.jpgYep, snowed last night at just a few meters higher than where we were. Temperature was 39 or so….everyone has told us this May has been very unusual, much cooler and more rain than usual. Great. So, when we left the hotel the owner told us, since the weather was so nasty, go one place for an appetizer, another for pasta, another for meat course….sort of a progressive dinner. Clever.

We drove between 2 groups of mountains (that is what the MAP showed….we could see nothing because of rain!) We arrived in Asolo and it is a really neat little place, but too cold for sketching….not to mention wet. There are a lot of the porticos that would serve as shelter, but the hands would soon freeze up. So we made a few photos.

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So, it was time for lunch, but we only went to one place that we had read about and shared 1 order of antipasta…the meat tray. The white ribbons in the middle are lardo…yep, lard. Fat from the edges of meat and it is delicious! That along with local prosciutto, salami, and another one whose name we do not know.

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The pastas we chose were: a local pasta (bigoli) with smoked ricotta for Larry and I had tagliatelle with rabbit sauce. Both were great!

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Our waitress wanted to take our photo, so here we are…..notice that we are wearing lots of layers.

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Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 23, 2013

Belluno

This is the best shot I could make of Belluno today as we drove in….no where to stop, so this was through the windshield. It is a nice city located on a spine with the Dolomite mountains as a backdrop…..very dramatic.

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As I was standing on a corner, dodging traffic, I heard a clatter and around the corner came a truck with a trailer…..and “animals.”

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We had our daily aperitivo…..but it has no name here in the Veneto….it is ONLY PROSECCO and Gingerino …NOT white wine and Gingerino. What is Gingerino????A lady who made the drinks for us in Friuli gave us 2 bottles to take with us. They are about 3 ounces of non alcoholic goodness.

20130523-125457.jpgThe Bicicletta in Friuli was a great bargain, but here in the Veneto the drink is about 2 times bigger! AND….more snacks…..so the price went up.

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We had a sunny morning, cloudy afternoon and on the way back to the small town where we are staying, the rain started. No wonder the gardens and flowers are so beautiful….they NEVER have to water by hand. Tomorrow we go 1 1/2 hours south to Asolo for one night, but rain is predicted all day, so we may not see much except the underside of an umbrella.

Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 22, 2013

WOW!

Today we left Tolmezzo and the weather was perfect; the eastern Dolomites were spectacular! Unfortunately there were very few places to make a photo as we climbed up to a pass and then dropped like a rock! Here are a few photos we were able to get from pull offs and in towns…

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We are staying near Belluno….had not planned to be here, but decided it was a more interesting area than our original plan…..these photos are part of the view from our balcony….we think it was a good choice!

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This was our greeter today for lunch…..very friendly! He was not on a leash when we entered, he ran up to us and jumped on us…..a very nice greeting!

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Our selection for lunch was rabbit and it was delicious!

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Tomorrow we venture to Belluno for the day.

Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 21, 2013

Mountain Day

We are fast learners….left early today for a circle drive to the north…total miles, 33. We wanted to beat the afternoon showers….and we did!!!! No rain until 5 pm and we were back in Tolmezzo.

Our first stop was in a mountain village called Ligosullo…very tiny and very neat. We also walked the half mile or so to the next village from which we sketched what we saw in this photo. The sun was in and out. Yes, the road is narrow…..but nothing like the next 6 km.

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Our next stop was Paularo….the road was mostly one lane, descending from the 3,000 ft pass, switchbacks that were more than 180 degrees, rock on one side and not always a guard rail on the other. Yikes! Glad we did not meet another car. Here is our first glance of Paularo.

20130521-120017.jpgAnd as we were almost there.

20130521-120126.jpgThe church is really not falling, but the photo was taken from inside the car…in a hurry. From the church, here is the view to the south of the valley.

20130521-120329.jpgThose clouds actually passed right over and this is on our way back to Tolmezzo.

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Keeping with Friulian tradition, we had our noontime Bicicletta, then ate at the trattoria where we had our drink. We were about 4 miles from Austria and we had a choice of 2 kinds of pasta, 2 kinds of beef…..we chose the beef that was like Schnitzel and it was soooo good. Something different. We also,had a bucket of fries and ate every bit of ‘em!

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Tomorrow we leave here and return to the Veneto region….and more mountains. We hope for good weather as we will drive through the area we could not see Sunday because of rain and fog.

Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 20, 2013

The Day…Briefly

To sum up the day:

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…And then all Hell let loose! Heavy rain, thunder, lightening, hail, sleet…..we sat in a parking lot waiting for hail/sleet to quit. We could see it was lighter towards Tolmezzo, so we headed that way on slushy road, car covered with “snow”. Made it back to hotel where there is only rain. What a day, but the drive to Tarvisio was beautiful early this morning….we were almost in Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east.

Posted by: 2 Travelers | May 19, 2013

Sunday Rain

Forecast said rain today…heavy in afternoon, so we left early for a drive into some mountain valleys. Here is what we saw:

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We had our morning espresso here. The bar is run by a older couple, but I could not catch them in a photo as they move quickly to serve coffee and pastries. It was a tiny place. We stood at the bar as both tables were full.

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Then it really started raining; we found what we think must have been a beautiful place tucked between 2 big mountains, but it rained so hard we could hardly see….we may go back another day if the weather improves. So, we stopped here on our way back, everyone was going into this Osteria, (the bright yellow building) so we thought it must be the place to go….it was!

20130519-091633.jpgEveryone was drinking something orangey-pink…..I asked 2 ladies what it was…..they told me and we ordered them too. (yes, we are a lot like lemmings)

20130519-091448.jpgThe best bargain of the trip! They are a mixture of white wine (or rose or prosecco, your choice), ginger something and an orange slice….yummy! and served with sliced baguette and ham with pepper.

We had lunch here in Tolmezzo with what appeared to be everyone in town and pizza was the big deal. This one with arugula, little tomatoes and little mozzarella balls was great!

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It is now late afternoon and the sky is clearing…..the forecasts here are not much better than at home!

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