Friday, July 26, 2013

I'm Back!

Well, I've been back since July 15th.

And man have I been busy (a slight change from my usual "do nothing all day" thing in Italy).

First things first: reacquaint myself with my kitties. Cookie took hold of my computer immediately (that's my excuse for not blogging recently).

He's intent on not letting me use technology.

Next, find a way to have Italian coffee at home. Cue the espresso maker I bought in Modena.

And my adorable espresso cups.

Attempt to hug our kitchen cabinet and end up just staring at it in awe. So much snack food.

And make a trip to Wegmans. This is a real cereal aisle, Italy. (And this is only half of it).

Finally, lots of baking.

A bundt for my brother's breakfast every morning.

I replaced half the lemon zest with orange because I didn't have enough, and it worked out just fine.

Two loaves of bread: one sourdough boule and one whole wheat. YUM. My all-carb diet isn't going anywhere.

This morning, I finally found this baby in the basement.

Get ready for fresh pasta everybody.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lago di Garda

A friend suggested that I get to Lake Garda before I leave. It seemed like a bit too far, but once I did some research, I knew I needed to go.

Of course, to get enough time in at the lake, I had to get up at 6 in the morning to catch a 7 o'clock train that had two connections. Well, it might be hard to see from this picture, but the first train was 30 minutes late, blowing both connections.

Thank you Italian train system.

I was supposed to get a train from Verona to Peschiera del Garda at 9:30, but since I missed it, I had to wait until 12:00 for the next train.

Only bonus--this awesome fruit cup from Verona's center.

Fresh coconut!

In the center of Verona I got to see the usual street performers.

BUT. I have never seen this one. I was so frightened and not entertained by this guy. These performers paint their faces like an animal, put it in a travel case, and hold little stuffed-animal legs. Then they make weird winy squeaky noises at the audience.


I finally made it to the lake around 12:30.

It was incredibly beautiful, as expected.

These are all pictures from my walk from Peschiera del Garda to Lazise (about 6 or 7 miles away).

They had a bunch of these boats for sale. I was very tempted even though I didn't even have a bathing suit.

About 3 1/2 hours later, I arrived in Lazise, which turned out to be one of the most adorable towns of all time.

They had a free art exhibit up.

I saw pictures of animals and immediately went inside.

I got gelato before I left--I needed some energy before the long walk back. Dark chocolate and Baci di Dama. Mmmmmmmmm.

On the road back I came across this restaurant. I've always been amused by Italians adding "eria" to the end of each word to make it a store name (piadineria, panineria, macelleria, salumeria, etc.). Well, this was my favorite yet: Hamburgheria. Brilliant.

I should open a Hot Dogheria when I get home...

The road back was beautiful, but very solitary.

Had I been in the United States, I may have been afraid of being attacked.

Just me and the wine vineyards.

Eh, I made it back, didn't I?


Friday, July 5, 2013

I Climbed A Hill!

My goal for my last few weeks in Italy has been to see as much of it as possible. "Possible" signifies going places that don't have a train fare of over 10 euros and don't take more than 2.5 hours to get to.

Bologna very easily fits that description and, even though I've been there a bunch of times, I've never climbed the "church on a hill" that so many people talk about. Said church is the Santuario di Madonna di San Luca and I pass it every time I take the train into Bologna.

I decided to climb the hill in 90 degree heat, so I was thankful that Bologna is a fan of covered walkways.

I was sweating profusely by the time I got to the top, but it was worth it!

After my climb, I treated myself with a trip to Eataly. I bought a book of pastry and pasta recipes, but was excited as well to see the Italian version of "The Omnivore's Dilemma."

The next day I went to Parma. The most exciting part of the trip may have been this orange and fig soda drink thing.

It was amazing.

Or maybe the amazingness was exaggerated because I was about to keel over from dehydration.

Then I found a botanical garden.

I haven't seen that much green in one place for a long time.

I'm going to miss these streets when I get home...

I'm super jealous of Parma's Parco Ducale.

No offense Modena, but it kicks your Giardini Ducali's butt.

This tree had a sign on it that said "i 30 sogni dell'albero:" 30 dreams of the tree. There were 30 little paper creatures in the tree to represent the dreams.

Visiting towns has gotten a little bit easier since they've finally decided that it's hot enough to put on the air-conditioning in stores (usually). Though it's always a mystery when I step on the train...