Friday October 18 Paris to Amalfi

I can highly recommend sitting upstairs on the A380. We got priority boarding. The meal was fantastic and the cabin crew in charge of our section was very attentive. I did not sleep well as we had a very chatty person two rows in front of us who only shut up to eat! Dave and I both catnapped.
We had an hour between flights and Charles de Gaulle is easy to navigate. We landed in Rome, collected our luggage and I changed. We then collected our car and headed for Naples. Driving in Naples is scarier than Johannesburg and Florence in rush hour together! We walked around and the streets go off each other in tangents. Eventually we got a pizza slice to share and went to swap the car as there was a warning light. We drove to Amalfi and walked around eating gelato. Biaco for me and pistachio for Dave. We are now at Casa Anna Rita for the night. We are 20km from the city of Amalfi in a village called Vietri sul Mare. We walked around the village and had a glass of prosecco and snacks at Cafe Pasticceria. We then went for supper at La Lucia where we had the most amazing seafood anti pasta. Dave had spaghetti vongole as his main course and I had gnocchi with sausage and porcini. We walked back to the B&B and slept soundly till 7:30am.

"Paris to Amalfi"
Paris to Amalfi

Thursday October 17 Cape Town to Paris

We have flown up to Joburg and we are sitting in the lounge waiting for our flight to Paris. I cannot wait and for sure, both Dave and I are ready for this holiday. Hope you all enjoy reading about our holiday!

Monday June 3 – Tuesday June 4 Mandello Del Lario to home

I had the best night sleep – it is so quiet here, just like at home. We had breakfast of yoghurt, croissants, bread and coffee before packing for the final time. Cannot believe this is our last day here! We walked to the Moto Guzzi shop and got spares for Dave’s bike and then drove to Varenna. We caught the ferry to Belagio and walked around – what a beautiful place. We then got the ferry back before walking around Varenna and having lunch at Nilus Bar. Two paninis and a bottle of water cost €11.50. Gelato flavours today was nutella for me and pistachio for Dave. We then drove back to Mandello Del Lario and walked around before taking the tour of the Moto Guzzi museum. It was fantastic. After that we drove to Como. We drove around a fair bit, did some last minute shopping, walked around a bit and then drove to the airport. We checked in, collected all our boarding passes and spent some time in the business class lounge. The food was nothing spectacular but it had a bathroom and it was away from the crowds. We caught an Avro RJ100 to Zurich and after going through passport control went to the Diners Club lounge. What a mission to get in! The food was better but they don’t have bathrooms or showers. Amazingly OR Tambo even have a lounge with a shower after customs! We flew on an A340-300 and I slept a bit! The food was average and the staff were very polite. We landed on time despite leaving late, went through passport control, collected our bags and cleared customs SAA have a baggage check in as you come out of international arrivals which is fantastic. We are now in the business class lounge waiting for our flight home.

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Sunday June 2 Bologna, Milan, Mandello Del Lario

This morning we packed up, had an espresso and caught the train to Milan. The central station has had an upgrade since we were last there in 2003. We left our baggage at the airport (€5 per case) and caught the metro to Lanzo station. We went to Castello Sforzesco which we stumbled upon when we were on honeymoon. It too has had an upgrade. Sadly the Da Vinci painting we came to take a picture of is not on display as the room is being ‘renovated’. Historians are trying to recover fresco’s painted by Da Vinci in the room. We did however manage to get a picture of the Pieta. This is the work Michalangelo was busy with when he died. On Tuesday this section of the museum will be closed for historical work. We then got the metro back to Milano Centrale and caught the Malpensa express to the airport. We bought lunch at the Carrefour and collected our car to drive to Lake Como. We drove 65km before getting out of the urban region and now we can see the snow capped mountains.  We are spending one night in Mandelo Del Lario in the house where the first Moto Guzzi was built. The house is owned by the son of the man who helped Guzzi get started.  After a tour of the workshop and cellar we sat and had a glass of wine with Gianni and his friend. We then walked around the old city and the kale, stopping for gelato on the way. Dave had chocolate and I had biscotto del nonna. The restaurant we were recommended, 20m away was closed so we walked to the old city. We had supper at Bar Roma. Dave had pasta arrabiata and I had pasta with salmon. We shared a bottle of red wine and salad and the bill came to $40.50. We then walked back to the B&B and checked in to our flights back home.

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Saturday June 1 Bologna

After a relaxing morning of coffee in bed and scrambled eggs with pancetta for breakfast, the day has begun. We bought a 24 hour bus pass (€4 each) and caught the bus to get to the market area east of Piazza Magiore. We bought clams from Pesceria L’Adeiatica(€3) and taglietelle from Paolo Atti & Figli (€4.59) for supper. We also got bread rolls for lunch to go with proscuitto and cheese from Simoni (€7.58). We then walked back to the apartment and attempted a short cut which took us down homeless ally! Unfortunately the gate was locked and we had to walk past the ‘toilet’ where some dude was taking a leak and smiling at me! We walked past the ‘bedroom’ and the dining room – a couple were having their lunch. Back to the main road and we walked in front of the walkway back to the apartment to drop off the shopping and have an early lunch. We caught a bus to Via Saragozza and walked down to Villa Sparda where we should have caught the bus to the top of San Luca. Instead we got the bus to the bottom of the steps and walked up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca 269 meters above sea level. We missed the down bus by 10 minutes and so we walked the 2.276km back down. There are 350 arches on the walk and a LOT of stairs. At the top I filled our water bottle from the taps that exist all over Italy. These taps run constantly and supply cold fresh water to everyone. In Venice we saw people collecting the water in buckets! We then caught a bus so we could get close via Santo Stefano. In this street is the Cremaria Santo Stefano and we had the best gelato of our trip. Dave had a limone granite medio (€3.30) and I had cioccolato del santa – dark chocolate, and pistacchio di Bronte – gelato grande (€3.80). After that we caught another bus and got off near AF Tamburini, where we shopped this morning, before walking to see the canal at Via Piella. This and trying to see the waterfall at Caffè Opera e Tulipani on via Alessandrini were not worth it due to the scaffolding. We then took a slow walk back to the apartment stopping at Swine on via Augusto for prosecco (€12) and then watching a protest march. The riot police were in full force and the protest was against austerity measures. We could see very few Italians in the group. Mostly Indians and Blacks. I would love to be watching Sky news tonight! We then did some shopping at the Coop before coming back to the apartment. Tonight for a change we are drinking Birra Di Frumento non filtrata. Crackers to go with topped with salame Milano. We decided to have prosecco with our meal. We chose a bottle of Rocco dei Forti. Dave made a sauce of shallots, garlic, chilli, tomato and courgette to go with the clams and taglietelle. The clams were steamed with prosecco and made a fantastic broth. We finished our meal with kiwi fruit and strawberries with cream. We then finished the cheese and pesto on a few crackers before calling it a night!

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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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