14.08.2008 - 25.08.2008 30 °C
Hmmm. Where do I start? been a while!
Our last couple of days at Lake Garda were fun. On the last night K went to bed early (ish) and I stayed up and drank with the Italian group next to our tent. We got onto the topic of hobbies, and when I mentioned poker, one of the lad's eyes lit up! He darted off and returned with a poker chip set. There was to be a match!
I won :-)
(it was a good game - I got lucky, he got lucky, but I got lucky more ;-0 )
The day we set off to meet Matt and Clare we had planned to leave at about 6pm, but we decided at the last minute to leave early - we could always stop and have dinner en-route. Just as we'd finished packing up the tent the sky went black and we ended up having a race to pack the car before the imminent storm. We JUST did it. I had to strap the luggage to the boot in the rain, but God forbid if we'd left it a few minutes later.
Boy did it rain! - we were driving through rivers at times. The poor little convertible was suffering. It went ok, but the windscreen was misty as hell. We had the fan on full, but it just couldn't cope, so we had to take it in turns to open our windows and get thoroughly soaked. When that didn't work, Kirstin had to wipe a "hole" in the condensation for me to peer through.
We drove through the mountains all the way to Pederobba, where Matt lives, passing through Mont De Grappa and generally stunning scenery. Shame we couldn't see much through all the rain. A real crime.
We hooked up with Matt's parents when we got there (Alex and Denise) who introduced us to Prosecco immediately :-) They have a house on one road, and Matt's place is a 30 second walk up the street.
(Matt's house - where we are now)
(Alex and Denise on the right - fantastic(a) hosts to say the least)
The next morning we all went over to a nearby house where they make aged meats, you know, like sopressa (sp?) and various other salamis. Everything is home grown (including the pigs). Not reluctantly at all, we accepted their home made wine as well (which everyone seems to be up to!)... it was lovely.
(Every farm has to have KITTENS! :-) )
Matt's family have another house up in the mountains above the town. We went up on the 1st Sunday for a BBQ. What a feast! They have one particular cut of beef that is HUGE. Thoroughly delicious, and what a beautiful setting.
(Alex preparing Polenta and Beef)
A superb day, and I gained about a stone in weight. Talking of which, we went to a mountain restaurant the other day where you can order your T-Bone steak by the weight. It was HUGE! - and also, fortunately, thoroughly delicious - I ate the lot :-)
(yes, this really is a parking space for cattle, outside the restaurant in the car park, which is kind of apt.... )
Other random highlights... playing in the river....
(cold and fast flowing - we got half way across, and yes, I'm in my pants)
(The girls sunbathing in a row of vines just by the house we are in)
(Having a swifty while the girls shopped at a large open market)
(Alex popping into a gun shop ... and buying a rifle)
(Guido - our next door neighbour - a lovely chap who plies us with Limonchello when ever he can get away with it - oh, and he loves to sunbathe!)
Such a relaxing place. Mind you, our livers won't thank us. People make a fuss about Champagne. These people drink Prosecco with everything, any time. And don't get me started on Grappa......
On Thursday we went to Venice! I won't waffle on, we all know what Venice is, but needless to say we tried the obligatory Gondola, walked a lot, soaked up the sights, and ate well. Pictures say more....
(Drinking in St Mark's Square is famously expensive - to the point you pay more to sit in the shade. Maybe that explains whey absolutely no one was drinking there... odd?)
(Venice can be madly busy, but you can always find a quite corner if you try hard enough)
(Though he was having fun, Matt could not decide if he was Jason Bourne or James Bond)
(Girls very pleased with their choice of Gondoleer)
That Gondola cost 100 Euros for about 20 minutes - and we ended upi back where we started!!!
The rest of the week has been a juggling act of eating and drinking. Such a hard life! We went back up to the mountain house this weekend after Matt and Clare had gone. More cooking of unfeasibly large pieces of meat ensued.
(This is a pretty normal arrangement when eating in Italy. Glass of Prosecco, glass of Grappa, cup of coffee, plus several other variants of Grappa to try, not forgetting red wine too)
We also gave the new gun a try.....
Although notice how I'm holding a bandage to my head? I've never used a rifle with a scope before. So I put my eye right up to it.... and the recoil of the gun punched a lovely crescent shaped cut into my eyebrow. God it hurt for a little while..
One of Matt's Aunts cleaned the cut and put on a plaster. Thing is, the small plaster was just too small, so she put a normal one on, from the bridge of my nose to somewhere up my forehead. She couldn't stop laughing
Oh the fun!
Chilling for a week now and planning our Southern Italy jaunt. Been no shortage of advice, Matt's father Alex works in the travel business, and of course, it Italian.. so lots of tips incoming.
Totally loving Italy so far. So different from anywhere we've been so far, and so much better than we expected. Can't wait to explore all the Roman ruins....
p.s. nerdy note - we managed to beam "wifi" from Matt's cousins house down the road to this house buy attaching a wireless router to a long plank and sticking it out just below the roof. Works a charm!
Update: Managed to get a photo from the depths of my phone's memory card... our neighbours in Garda...