Friday May 31 Bologna and Modena

The traffic barely stopped through the night. I have forgotten how noisy cars are! Woke up after an interrupted night’s sleep, bright and early. Dave made coffee for us to drink in bed while reading our books. Breakfast of scrambled eggs with pancetta with cheese was followed by sorting out the laundry, the suitcase and the kitchen. We caught the train to Modena and walked to the Ferrari Museum. After looking at world championship F1 cars, and the house where Enzo was born, we walked to the old city. We found an amazing market and I bought some balsamic vinegar from Modena at Messerotti R & C. We then went to Osteria Francescana for a 6 course lunch. This is listed as the third best restaurant in the world and has 3 Michelin stars. I met Massimo, the chef owner, last year and he came to say hello to us when we arrived. I will blog a review when we get back home. After lunch we walked back to the station and caught the train back to Bologna. We did grocery shopping for supper. We got fresh hand made tortelloni from Il Piacere Del Gusto. After getting supplies at Coop we came back to the apartment. Wine tonight is Corvo Sicilia Rosso Vendemmia 2010. Dave made a sauce of shallots, garlic, courgettes, tomato and cream to compliment the ricotta filling. Dessert tonight is strawberries, kiwi fruit and cream. Followed by crackers with Gorgonzola.

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Thursday May 30 Venice to Bologna

I did not sleep well last night! Funny given how much exercise we are getting and how much we drank last night! Got up at 7 and made coffee, then scrambled eggs with pancetta for breakfast before tidying up and packing. Went for our morning espresso before shopping for lunch for the train. We had our last walk around and after an hour and a half checked out of the apartment. Our utility bill for the 6 nights was €23.13. We had gelato before going to the station. I had moccacino and Dave had hazelnut. We caught the fast train to Bologna and checked in to our apartment across the road from the station. We walked to Piazza Magiore – which we did not find as easily in 2003! We stopped for prosecco on our way back. There is a big Coop close to where we are staying so we did most of our shopping there. We got some cheese from a local shop. After 3 hours of walking around Balogna we came back to the apartment. Wine tonight is Santa Cristina Toscana 2011. We had crackers with cheese and salami, and cheese and pesto before dinner. Dinner tonight is tortellini freschi con proscuitto crudo with a sauce made from shallots, garlic, tomatoes, pancetta and cream. We ended the meal with strawberries and cream, and crackers with salami.

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Wednesday 29 May Venice and Pedova

The church tower bells chime at 7am every morning and its a great way to know the day has started. Coffee, breakfast and reading in bed a perfect way to ease into the day. Not every morning can be this relaxed however. Scrambled eggs with pancetta topped with cheese was on the menu this morning. We caught a train to Padavo / Padua and walked around for 4 hours. We found a great market and had a picnic lunch of bread, proscuitto, cheese and pesto in the central gardens. We were surrounded by a moat and statues. It started raining just as we were done so we stopped for prosecco at Isola Memmia (€5). Gelato today was a chocolate with whole hazelnuts in it for me and the most divine pistachio for Dave. We caught the slow train back to Venice and dropped our shopping off at the apartment before heading for the Rialto bridge to buy a gondola charm for my bracelet to replace the sail boat I had on the one that was lost. We walked to the Bovolo staircase which is closed and then back to ‘our’ local for a prosecco for me and a local beer for Dave.

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Tuesday May 28 Venice

Another 10 hours of sleep before reading in bed with a cup of coffee. Dave made scrambled eggs with pancetta before heading to the butcher while I did dishes.  Today was a day of standing more than walking. We caught the vaporetta down the Grand Canal to Lido and walked on one of the beaches. The next vaporetta took us around Venice before we headed past the cemetry to Murano. We watched some glass blowing and had a picnic of rolls, proscuitto and cheese in the square before stopping for a glass of Prosecco at Trattoria Valmarana (€6). We then caught a vaporetta to Burano which is famous for lace and had our afternoon gelato. Dave had limone and I had panna cotta. It was then back to Venice, 8 hours later! We went to the Coop to do shopping and came back to the apartment for an early dinner. Dave cooked salsiccia confezionata with asparagus wrapped in proscuitto and artichoke hearts. Our 1kg of asparagus is finally finished. Wine tonight is Santa Cristina Toscana 2011.  After a quick dinner we caught the vaporetto to St Mark’s Square. It was far nicer to walk around as there were less people and you could see far more of the buildings. We then caught a vaporetta up the Grand Canal and got off just before the Rialto bridge. After crossing the bridge we caught the vaporetto back to the train station and walked to the square near our apartment. They were doing ballroom dancing in the square. We had prosecca at the bar before walking back to the apartment. We got in at 21:50 – 12 hours after we left this morning. A final glass of wine and kiwi fruit and strawberries for dessert.

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Monday May 27 Venice

We woke up quite early and loafed before having scrambled eggs and pancetta for breakfast. We then took a long walk to St Mark’s Square and it was seriously crowded. On the way there we had gelato at Gelateria Nico. Talya recommended we have ice cream there but did not tell us where it is. You can find them at Dorsoduro 992. I had ameretto and Dave had fior di latte. We walked back via Rialto and shopped at the market for vegetables and fruit. We bought cheese and proscuitto for lunch and had a picnic in the square close to where we are staying. We went back to the Jewish Quarter to see if the cemetry was open but everything was closed. We then walked to the station to check train times for Verona and purchased a 12 hour vaporetta pass for £18 each. We sat down for a birra media for Dave and a Calice prosecco for me (€9) before heading back to the apartment. Another 5 hours of walking today so far! We took another half hour walk stopping for prosecca at our local bar. We got back to the apartment and had proscuitto and cheese on crackers before a starter of steamed asparagus with a squeeze of lemon juice and salt, dipped in mayonnaise. Wine tonight is Mastri Vernacoli Marzemino Trentino Doc 2011.

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Sunday May 26 Venice

I’m so used to us going away in April I misdated the first lot of posts! Today we started off with scrambled eggs and pancetta before heading out for another 5 hour walk. We stopped for lunch at Al Vaporetto Ristorante for pizzas. I had the diavola (€9) with pomodoro, mozzarella and salame and Dave had the Napoli (€9). We had a carafe of white wine and the total bill was €30. We made our way back to The Irish Pub to watch the grand prix. Gelato today was a scoop of Doge’s tiramisu for me and Sicilian pistachio for Dave. We walked through the Jewish Ghetto where there is an army station outside the embassy. There is a wall naming all the Jews, with their ages, sent to the Concentration Camps. We had drinks at Al Bagolo, prosecco for me and merlot for Dave (€4.50) before doing grocery shopping for dinner. We cooked the other half of the fish and served it with trofie di semola with a shrimp sauce. The sauce was made from shallots, garlic, rosemary, shrimps, cream, lemon zest and cream. Wine tonight is Zonin Valpolicella 2011. Dessert was strawberries and cream. Crackers with assiago and pesto completed our meal.

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Saturday May 25 Venice

Ten hours sleep was most welcome! We woke up at 7am and had a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs with pancetta. Thankfully the unit has a small dishwasher so cleaning up is easy. We went to the fish market and got fresh fish for supper. It looks like a baby tuna and cost €6. We bought grapes and mushrooms and a lemon at the Rialto market before doing grocery shopping at Coop. We then dropped everything off at the apartment before heading in the direction of the station and for a long walk around Venice. We stopped for a beer each to watch the end of Formula 1 practice 3. I had a 250ml Peroni draft and Dave had Kilkenny (€5.50). We walked a couple more hours before heading back to the Irish Pub for lunch and to watch the qualifying. I had the Kilkenny at lunch and Dave had a Guinness. We had filled toasted flat breads and Dave had a slice of almond custard slice (€14.60). We walked back to the Grand Canal, stopping for gelato on the way. I had casanova which was very good but I have no idea of the actual flavour other than fudgey toffee. Dave had a scoop of lemon. We had a quick espresso before coming back to the apartment at 16:30. We walked for 5 hours! On opening the packet of the fish fillets it looks and smells more like mackerel. We made a sauce with tomato, anchovy and sage to go on the fish. Mushrooms and asparagus were panfried to go with the fish which was also panfried. Wine tonight is Santa Cristina Annata 2011. The very good fish dinner was followed by strawberries and cream. Asiago cheese with pesto on salt biscuits finished off the meal.

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Friday May 24 Zurich to Venice

Breakfast on the plane was much needed coffee, orange juice, rolls and cheese. Our transfer was a breeze and we caught an A320 to Venezia. The flight was bumpy and the coffee luke warm and we landed to a cold and wet day. We had a mortadella panini at the airport before catching the bus to Venice. The ATVO Venezia Express cost €6 each in comparison to €110 each for a water taxi. After crossing a few bridges, some of them more than once, we found the check in and made our way to the apartment. It has a bedroom, bathroom, lounge and kitchen and is more than adequate for our needs. A quick shower and then we went shopping for lunch, supper and breakfast goodies. We had an espresso each on the way to the shops €2 for both! We got instant coffee but there is no kettle in the unit so I will boil water on the stove top. Lunch was a simple bread roll with proscuitto, cheese, tomatoes and pesto.  After lunch we went for a walk to the Rialto bridge and market. I bought some pasta to bring home. We did a fair bit of walkong before stopping at Al Bagolo for two glasses of Rabaso (€2) and Dave had an espresso as I am a slow drinker. We went back to COOP for cream, cheese and crackers before heading back to the apartment.

Thursday May 23 Cape Town to Zurich

Well, we are sitting in the SAA business class lounge in Cape Town with half an hour to go before we board our flight. It is quite warm here so I’m not even thinking about changing until we get to Johannesburg. Our holiday has finally started and I hope you all enjoy reading our daily diary! We flew on an Airbus A330-200 and the flight was comfortable. The SAA diabetic meal was good and now we are sitting in the Premier Lounge in international departures at OR Tambo. Our flight left ten minutes late due to only being able to land at 6:05. We still made up time in the air and circled Zurich before landing. There was no diabetic meal for me on board, but I had a nice pasta meal with a side salad, a pear and cheese and a bread roll. Dave and I had some wine and then it was sleep time for me. We were on the last seats on the A340-300 and I got about 6 hours sleep.

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