A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Gripnostril

A Welcome Break

Visits with friends, fantastic food and wine and Rural Italy.

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The trip to Rodello wasn't planned ato catch-up up with the history and tourist sites of Italy like we'd done to date. But rather a 2 day break from the tourist rush and most importantly to visit good friends now living in Italy.

We got there with three train trips on the 12th.

Venice - Milan - 2.5 hours
Milan - Tortona - 50 minutes
Tortona - Asti - 53 minutes

Each train was a little worse than its predessor. The final train was also a local trsin so we had to buy tickets at Tortona station. With the queue we weren't going to grt a ticket on time (we had 20 minutes) so we tried one of the ticket machines. It was good, pretty easy and had an English option. Tat said somehow we managed to but 3 adult tickets to Asti. Oh well covered us up for having to put our luggage on the seats. It wasn't wery full, thankfully.

We got to Asti and Deanne met us and drove us to our motel, Cà del Lupo, based in Montelupo and overlooking both Rodello, Montelupo and able to see the alps on very clear days. Brilliant and a great motel as well, definitly recommend it. an - Tortona - 50 minutes
Tortona - Asti - 53 minutes

Each train was a little worse than its predessor. The final train was also a local trsin so we had to buy tickets at Tortona station. With the queue we weren't going to grt a ticket on time (we had 20 minutes) so we tried one of the ticket machines. It was good, pretty easy and had an English option. Tat said somehow we managed to but 3 adult tickets to Asti. Oh well covered us up for having to put our luggage on the seats. It wasn't wery full, thankfully.

We got to Asti and Deanne met us and drove us to our motel, Cà del Lupo, based in Montelupo and overlooking both Rodello, Montelupo and able to see the alps on very clear days. Brilliant and a great motel as well, definitely recommend it.

Most of the time we spent catching up with Deanne & Davide, which I won't bore you with. However a few points to note in the area.

The views: There are many small towns about. Alba being the main hub for places like Rodello. Most have great views, reall great. The camers does not do these justice.

La Coccinella: We went out to dinner on Monday night to Trattoria La Coccinella in Serravalle Langhe. We fully recommend this, both food (my rabbit entree was really nice, despit Alison's protestations about a pet she one had) and atmosphere.

It was also nice to be out of a the city for a change and see green. The temperature up there was a couple of degrees cooler as well.
enice - Milan - 2.5 hours
Milan - Tortona - 50 minutes
Tortona - Asti - 53 minutes

Each train was a little worse than its predessor. The final train was also a local trsin so we had to buy tickets at Tortona station. With the queue we weren't going to grt a ticket on time (we had 20 minutes) so we tried one of the ticket machines. It was good, pretty easy and had an English option. Tat said somehow we managed to but 3 adult tickets to Asti. Oh well covered us up for having to put our luggage on the seats. It wasn't wery full, thankfully.

We got to Asti and Deanne met us and drove us to our motel, Cà del Lupo, based in Montelupo and overlooking both Rodello, Montelupo and able to see the alps on very clear days. Brilliant and a great motel as well, definitly recommend it. an - Tortona - 50 minutes
Tortona - Asti - 53 minutes

Each train was a little worse than its predessor. The final train was also a local trsin so we had to buy tickets at Tortona station. With the queue we weren't going to grt a ticket on time (we had 20 minutes) so we tried one of the ticket machines. It was good, pretty easy and had an English option. Tat said somehow we managed to but 3 adult tickets to Asti. Oh well covered us up for having to put our luggage on the seats. It wasn't wery full, thankfully.

We got to Asti and Deanne met us and drove us to our motel, Cà del Lupo, based in Montelupo and overlooking both Rodello, Montelupo and able to see the alps on very clear days. Brilliant and a great motel as well, definitely recommend it.

Most of the time we spent catching up with Deanne & Davide, which I won't bore you with. However a few points to note in the area.

The views: There are many small towns about. Alba being the main hub for places like Rodello. Most have great views, reall great. The camers does not do these justice.

La Coccinella: We went out to dinner on Monday night to Trattoria La Coccinella in Serravalle Langhe. We fully recommend this, both food (my rabbit entree was really nice, despit Alison's protestations about a pet she one had) and atmosphere.

It was also nice to be out of a the city for a change and see green. The temperature up there was a couple of degrees cooler as well.

Posted by Gripnostril 09:30 Archived in Italy Tagged italy rodello Comments (0)

The Romance of Venice

Ok, so it's crowded, very tourist orientated and the food is meh...else, pretty cool !

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Started the day with a dose of Giddy, have no idea what happened but was struggling to stand vertically without swaying and as for bendng over....that just wasn't fun. However we managed to leave the apartment and grab the train for a two hour trip to Venice.

On arrival we got out the map we'd been given and started the look for our contact, Mr Diego and the apartment. We had been warned about the nuances of Venice and to expect to get lost, unfortunatly we started that way. Though I must admit, I don't see it as our fault. We followed the map precisely and found the number we were looking for, 3080, but not 3080/R....we did find.A, B....F. We rang Mr Diego as instructed and got a lovely messaga service in Italian (later to find out that it was telling us that his inbox for voice mail was full), bugga now what. We foud a couple who offered to help, but in the end thought we were in the right location according to the map. They also did indicat Venice is a bit weird (understatement !) in its house numbering conventions. This left us with 2 bags at the end of the street, no apartment and a missing contact. So we rang the booking agency, hoping someone would answer on a Sarurday.....no luck, despite it being diverted to another line after a while. Alison then remembeted the original contact for the apartment, Roberta. We tried that, it was partially successful, she answered, but her english was not great and as a result we really were no better off.

So applying all the best clichès of insanity we tried ringing Mr Diego and the Apartment organisers again.....oh surprise, no luck.

At that point there was a niggle starting, had we been caught in an internet scam ? However a lady and her son came along, we asked her for help. She was great, she ifentified the full voice mail issue and then spoke to Roberta for us, problem solved. A 30 second walk around the corner and there was a cafe for us to collect the key. Phew.... The lady at the cafe showed us in and we were finally in Venice.

Never heard back from Mr Diego and the map was bloody wrong !

Now with that dose of stress all over, unpacking done, it was 2:40pm, so we shot back to the information booth by the train station and picked up a map. From then we were set to explore, map in hand and the knowledge that we would get lost we slowly made our way to the Rialto Bridge. It was great. A busy bridge with an inner bridge within, I think the inner bridge is the bridge of Sighs. The whole brige crosses the grand canel so we sat and enjoyed the the view and masses of tourists. Then drifted back to our apartment, following signs to the ferries/train station rather than rely on the map.

The apartment was the biggest we've had to date. 90 square meters, Rome was about 70 and Florence 45.

Buggered I think was the technical term by then, so a takeaway pizza from the cafe down the road was enough for tea.

Day two in Venice now beckoned. Big day ahead, knowing that tomorrow we were off to Rodello.Rather than walk to St. Marks square we decided to get one of the ferries there and see sime of the island(s) as we went. It wasn't ideal as things were a bit foggy in the morning. However we got the ferry, stopping to drop off people at a number of places for the days work we eventually made it to St. Marks square.

Although initially foggy it's still pretty impressive with churches, towers etc. Even at that time the crowds were pretty big. We tried to get into the main cathedral but I wasn't allowed with a backpack and despite the signs, at the time there was no where to leave bags. So with a number of other tourists we frustratingly missed out.

We then starting a long ang and wandering tour of various parts of Venice, IN PARTICULAR many shops with small shiny things (many !). I think I'd call this Alison shopping heaven. We did attempt to buy most of Venice as a result ;-). In addition to this we managed a few sites as expected. (yup photos later sorry).

One interesting point was when we decided on a coffee in St. Marks Square. There was a small quartet playing so we decided to grab a seat, listen and have coffee. That was until we fount out that the cost of sitting and listening was about €6 each..then the coffee was going to require a second mortgage. Bugga tgat, we moved on, could have got a takeaway coffee and stood and listened for about €6 all up.

I noted in another post the very tourist nature of the restaurants so won't repeat that here.

In effect that was Venice for us. Ideally we should have got out to some of the islands, especially Murano, but we didn't have enough time. I think we really needed another 1 - 2 days. Would we return, perhaps, but only if time after Florence and Rodello.

Posted by Gripnostril 08:04 Archived in Italy Tagged venice italy Comments (0)

Florence a City of Beauty

Of views and walks

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We arrived by train, now seasoned travelers, for a short (way to short) stop of in Florence (Firenze) of about 2 days. Our apartment was just around the corner from the train station, so a nice short walk.

The day of arrival, we spent mainly resting, taking some short walks and meeting the apartment owner (Barbara). She gave us a quick run through of the major things to see, in Particular the Dumo and the Piazzale Michelangelo.

So we wandered, actually grabbed, as recommended, a Gelato and had it on the Ponte Vecchio:

2011-09-08_16_50_14.jpg

It was nom, then wandered up the road to Piazza di Pitti, didn't go it, looking crowded, but sat outside and people watched.

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These two interesting sculptures were outside the main building at the Piazza. After that, it was basically grab a meal and off home. I think sleep was needed, ready for the next day !

Day two in Florence (and the last day) pwas up and at em. Off to see David at the Accademia Gallery. In short and unfortunately without photo's, he is pretty magnificent. The workmanship and detail is really great. Though I think Alison spent an inordinate amount of time looking at his butt ! There is a crack down his right hand side, not really noticeable, but they have fibre monitoring on the statue monitoring every movement.

The rest of the Accademia was pretty good, especially the old musical instruments.

Once out of there we grabbed a taxi and headed upto the Piazzale Michelangelo. WOW. Great view up there.

There is also a bronze statue of David as well. We sat up there enjoying the view and had a cup of what turned out to be the worst coffee we would have in Italy. After that we wandered up to the church above the Piazzale. It was great, really peaceful, againg a magnificent view of Florence and some terrific archecture and items inside as well.

After that it was a walk bake down to Firenze. Really nice on a tree lined road, we were surprised more didn't take the walk. Since it was close we wandere back to the Piazza de Pitti and had a Gelato.

From there it was wandering the shops, grabbing a bite and eventually making our way to the apartment. Tomorrow was Venice.

The time definitely wasn't enough for Florence, perhaps next time a week and a trip to Pisa and Sienna.

Posted by Gripnostril 10:16 Archived in Italy Tagged italy florence firenze Comments (0)

Little Keyboards

big fingers, small keyboards and an inattention to detail

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Just noticed, when using a PC that the blog had a number of typos, repeat paragraphs and other cock ups. Sorry about that, seems regular blogging from a mobile can have a few problems, mainly me.

As an FYI I have added a number of photos to previous enteries (and hopefully tidied up mistakes).

Posted by Gripnostril 09:50 Archived in France Tagged blog Comments (0)

The Eating of Italy

How we found the food in Italy

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In short the food has been varied. Where possible we've tried to eat a local places and have Italian food.

We've found Rome the best of the cities and have scored our marks taking in to account options, ambiance and variety as follows:

Rome: 8/10
Florence: 5/10
Venice: 3/10
Rodello: 9/10 (I'd actually give it 10/10, but never been comfortable doing that).

I think the scores may reflect us not searching more further afield rather than the locations.

I'd not like to be too harsh, though a few people have said Venice is like that. Very commercial. Even Italians we spoke to, find it hard locating a good restaurant in Venice that is not biased to a "tourist palate or approach". A lot of the Venetian restaurants had USA type posters and signage for the menus. Even the lunch we had, had what felt like American salad and chips. It did seem harder to spot more local places in Venice.

Rome we've discussed before, I think the key there was our accommodation was close to the local Piazza, and with 3 close Pizzeria's. Zarro's, which we used for breakfast and one dinner looked out over the Piazza, with it's fountain and people congregating. Additionally, the food was simple, really nice and with quantities that were satisfying, rather than too much (perhaps many places in NZ could learn a bit on this, I know I have).

Now for Rodello, not counting the food Davide made for our Dinner on Tuesday night (it was excellent) we wend out to dinner at La Coccinella, in Serravalle Langhe, Italy. It was great. I think we were there about 4 hours (or more), with great food, excellent atmosphere, really great hosts and a good night. It's well known in the area for a great meal, that isn't over the top with cost. In addition, I started my "Italian wine course" from Davide as well, so had some good Italian Reds (that was continued the next night, with some really nice ones).

Posted by Gripnostril 12:27 Archived in Italy Tagged food italy Comments (0)

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