Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two Rednecks in Italy: Part 2

I formally apologize for all the numerous installments needed to document our trip but I really dislike reading freakishly long blog posts with way too many pictures so I figured other people might as well.

After our rendezvous in Torino, Tyler and I rented a compact car, a Lancia to be exact, and headed east to Bologna. On our way there we decided to make a little pit stop in Alba and Barolo for some wine tasting. I really wish pictures could do this place justice but they just can't...

Yes, we did stop on the side of the road and yes, I did steal a grape off of some poor unsuspecting farmer's grapevine but I couldnt resist. And I would also like to confess that I stole some hazelnuts that had fallen from the trees in a nearby orchard.

 In the beautiful village of Borolo.

Wine tasting in Borolo. It's amazing to me how the same grape grown in within 5 miles of each other in either sandy, clay or a sandy/clay soil can taste so different!

And because I love videos....

 After our little detour we finally headed to Bologna. We used for this one and ended up staying in an apartment owned by a computer programmer and his artist girlfriend. They had an amazing apartment inside the city walls with courtyard garden all to themselves! When we arrived they were busy watching an old Russian film on their laptop in the garden. Must be nice!
 Here is Eli giving me some travel tips before we left for Parma.

After walking around Parma for a while we figured it was time for the pièce de résistance, prosciutto de parma. Oh yeah, and the Parmesan cheese was not bad either! We left with almost 3 lbs of prosciutto and about 2 lbs of Parmesan cheese.

Next up, the city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona, and the Northern Italian city of Bolzano.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Two Rednecks in Italy: Part 1

To tackle these travel recaps I have found myself uploading pictures before I decide what to talk about. After the long and arduous process of sifting through all the pictures to find  my favorites I realized that almost all of the pictures that I uploaded are of food or drinks. Weird.....

Now let's resume our Tour De Caldwell.  Next stop: Torino, Italy

Yes, all of our train trips required sustenance. We stopped at the grocery store in Lucurne before we headed to the train station and stocked up on German beer (duh), numerous types of Swiss cheese (double duh), meat, bread, mustard that comes in a toothpaste like tube, fruit and Swiss chocolate. Train travel is so much better than air travel!

 Our first gelato of the trip. Mine was dark chocolate and hazelnut, double scoop of course and Tyler had pistachios.

Trivia Time: Did you know that Tic Tacs originated in Turino along with solid chocolate, the "slow food movement," breadsticks and you guessed it, Vermouth.

 Another fun fact, Vermouth is made in both red and white varieties, just like wine. I had no idea!

 Dinner number 1: caprese salad with a softball sized serving of mozzarella.

 Calzone for me and roasted veggie pizza for Tyler.

 More free water for thirsty tourists.

 Tyler managed to take a picture of me staring at a map at just about every city we went to.

Italians apparently don't like to work between about 2:00 and 4:00 pm so finding a late lunch spot was impossible. We settled on a wine bar instead.

 Tagliatelle with pesto for the Mr. and agnolotti for me. Both are traditional dishes from the area.

Last but not least. Desert. We went with the cheese plate with homemade jams and honey.We loved how they reused the jars and wrote the dates on the tops.  We were able to con the chef into giving us the recipe for the onion jam. Alabama National Fair canning competition, here we come!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Cows Come From Switzerland...

Well we are finally home and the pictures are officially sifted through and edited! Our journey begins in Luzern, Switzerland...

Well actually it starts at my parents house; Strongbow had to get dropped off at "camp".

Yes we did fit 11 days worth of clothes in our backpacks and were so glad that we budgeted what we brought so that we could carry it all on our backs. It's way easier when you are moving every 2 days.

 On the train from Zurich to Luzern.

 First things first, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up beer, cheese, meat, bread and fruit for our first picnic by the river. Did you know that you can buy kitten seeds at the grocery stores in Switzerland!? Ha!

 Our picnic spot.

We managed to find numerous water fountains in Europe. Considering those silly Europeans (kidding) like to charge for water at restaurants, it's wonderful to be able to fill up a water bottle with water straight from the Alps for nada.

 Our awesome living room that we had all to ourselves! Thank you!

 The bathroom, obviously...


Yes we did take advantage of the separate beds! Hey it's not everyday that you get to sleep in a full bed all by yourself!

Check out the elevator to the 7th floor. Keep in mind that our apartment was on the 9th floor. We had to take the elevator then use the fire escape walkway to get inside via the floor to ceiling windows then we took the stairs to the top. Very strange, I assume they didn't use that trusty ole Swiss engineering for this apartment building. I guess that is what you get when you add an elevator to an extremely old building.

The guy who owned the apartment that we rented also owned the British pub downstairs. He was a wonderfully jolly Brit who relocated to Switzerland many years ago. It was so nice to be able to hop downstairs for a pint and some directions in English!

Our overall observations of Switzerland: Very clean and efficient and the natural beauty is hard to beat! We didn't find as much culture and history as we found in other places but the cheese and chocolate made up for it!