2023 Italy Day 04

Bologna to Casteggio, Friday, Mar 24

We awake in our Air B&Bat an early hour. After trying to take a shower, I discover the hot water lasts less than 2 minutes! Brrr! Well, I’m awake now! So we get dressed for the day and pack up our bags for this first part of our trip is day by day! We have a 700 meter hike to get our car as we are staying in the city center where parking is fairly non existent! But we find a breakfast restaurant on the way to break up the hike! Again, getting Americano Coffee is a real treat as they just can’t get it right!

We drive our car back and park it illegally for 5 minutes while we run back up to the room and pull our luggage out. Now we are on our way for a fairly short travel day. We drive just over an hour to Parma where we find a lucky parking spot near the city center and start walking around the area.

An interesting Basilica grabs our attention, but alas, it doesn’t open until 3:30PM. We will be long gone from here by then. We locate a deli called “Salumeria Garibaldi” and we have lunch here. Dozens of legs of Prosciutto hang here and how we would love to bring one home! But that is not to happen so the next best thing is to order many slices along with slices of salami and generous slices of Parmigiana Cheese with a fun bread, almost a croissant type! Top it off with glasses of white and red wine and lunch is served! Interesting that Elee’s white wine is served in a wine glass but my red wine is served in a cup!

We then walk around the city for an hour and take in the sights. Not as pretty of a city as Assisi or San Marino but interesting in it’s own right! And we had Parmigiana in Parma! How many can say that?

So we drive on to Piacenza where we find even less interesting sights. A short stay there and we drive on to our final destination for the evening, Casteggio. An interesting place that brings our drive tomorrow even shorter.

We are in an AirB&B Farmhouse in wine country called, “Cacina Angelina” where our hosts don’t speak a lick of English and we don’t speak more than 10 words in Italian! Thank goodness for Uncle Google, my favorite Uncle!

We head back to town and stop to gather sunset photos over the vineyards on the way! We come across a supermarket and pick up a few sundries to help sustain us for the next week or so. A new corkscrew to replace the one that TSA thought was too dangerous. Some chips to sustain us while browsing the TV channels for an English speaking one (not to be found in 400 channels, trust me I went through every one!) and a couple bottles of Barbera for late nights writing Blogs!

Then we cruise around town looking for authentic Italian food. We finally stumble upon “Cafe Il Ponte” where they invite us in and we ask to see a menu. Not a strange request for most people, but definitely a strange request for Italian restaurants, at least this one! They show us a pizza menu. We sort of shrug and attempt to leave. The waitress tries to corner us in the most pleasant of ways and, with the help of Uncle Google once more, we continue chatting with her over our phone screens! It becomes quite entertaining discussing with her our likes and desires for a meal!

Glasses of wine placed in front of us solidifies our commitment to staying here and we take it as a, “Whatever happens happens”, LOL. I can’t wait to see the check! We impart to her our desires to have Italian meats, Pasta and Cheeses and Elee even suggests a salad. We got everything except the salad! Course after course flowed to our table. Again I think, ‘What will the bill be?’

It is a pleasant night and we just go with it. The waitress comes around often and the wine flows. Elee is drinking a dry Reisling which is something that would normally be averse to our desires. But it is quite good! I am drinking a dry Chianti, again something I would shy away from at home. But it is not the weak, thin red wine that one thinks about when one thinks about Chianti, it is robust and quite good!

A family group is lead into the room where previously only Elee and I have been in. It is a group of 16 or 18 people and a couple of them eye us with what looks like contempt because how dare we be in their private space? Their party ensues and I pull up Google Translate on my phone and type in, “Have a great night!” I show the phone to a couple of them and the all shout, “Grazie” (Thank You) and all is well with the world! It is amazing how a little kindness goes a long way! Our bill arrives and is only 60 Euro (about $70) and that includes all the wine, the cheese and meats and a serving of a linguini type pasta served to a perfect aldente!

So we drive away and wind our way back up the switchback roads to the top of the hill to our AirB&B farmhouse for the night! How many of you have ever stayed in an Italian farmhouse? Such a treat! We can’t wait for our hosts to make breakfast for us in the morning!

Good night all!

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